Interference Wave Data and Art

  • Adam Nash


This article investigates the nature of digital data as a medium for art. Specifically, what are the qualities and specificities unique to the medium of digital data, and how can artists working with this medium create work that cannot be created in any other medium? References are made to Friedrich Kittler, Mark B. N. Hansen, Marshall McLuhan, Gilles Deleuze, Anna Munster and Claire Colebrook to establish a bivalent ontological model of digital data. This bivalence is described in terms of ”˜data’ and ”˜display, ’ where ”˜data’ exists in an indeterminate state inaccessible to hu - man perception until a determining operation is performed to modulate the data into a ”˜display’ state, where ”˜display’ does not necessarily imply visual display. Such a model suggests, in McLuhanist and Deleuzean terms, a medium that retroactively virtualises all previous media. This model is compared in detail to Gilbert Simondon’s ontological model of transductive individuation. Finally, modulation - in the form of parameter selection - is presented as the defining work of the artist in the digital medium.