The Impression of Craft in New Media

Recently, in a conversation that I was having on Rhizome, a colleague was mentioning that although a particular body of work wasn�t their cup of tea, that they surmised that it must have been interesting in that it must have been difficult or challenging to do. This is only one example, but it gives me a rhetorical touchstone for what seems to be a larger phenomenon.

In thinking about the creation of New Media, I�ve come across a multitude of artists who believe that the merit of a work is linked to the artist�s technical prowess and the degree of difficulty involved in the creation of the work [1]. The link of New Media Art to craft seems to elide the conversation of art and objecthood initiated in 1917 upon the fateful inscription of �R.Mutt� upon the urinal by Duchamp. And, with the force of the Conceptual Art movement in the 60�s and 70�s in working to problematize the whole idea of the art object, why does a material discourse (i.e. craft) reemerge in a de-objectified movement like New Media? This is a (somewhat) puzzling phenomenon.

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