Abstract- Ryszard W. Kluszczynski

From Media Art to Techno Culture. Reflections on the Transformation of the Avant-Gardes (the Polish case)

The late sixties and the seventies of the XXth century were facing the rapid development of cognitive tendencies in the avant-garde art. Conceptual art was the main current and sort of symbol of this development. The tension between artistic and metaartistic discourses within the art, characteristic for the classic avant-garde phenomena (from the 20s. to the 60s.) was replaced with the increased domination of the latter in the context of new avant-garde practices. Structural cinema and analytic video art appeared to be the representatives of these processes in media art. In this area, the interest in the characteristics of media technologies, and studies in media materiality belonged to prominent attributes. The formal perspective, typical for art before conceptualism was replaced then with the cognitive one. Media art became sort of media studies. However, the purpose of these transformed interests and activities was all the time the same – the art itself.
The nineties brought with them the shift of the interest from technological basis of art to technological fundaments of culture. Media and multimedia art became sort of cultural studies activity. The cognitive perspective in media art changed the object of research; it was redirected, exteriorized, from self-analysis to analysis of social environment. It is thus not software art to represent new cognitive tendencies in art nowadays. The issues of artificial art, robotics, artificial intelligence, bio- and nanotechnology, genetics, belong to the most prominent attributes of the new wave cognitive media activities. The present cognitive media art has rejected its former status of media studies to become cultural studies.
In my paper I want to study in detail these processes. I want to refer – as the case study – to the development in the post war Polish media art, from The Workshop of Film Form (founded in 1970), to The Central Office of Technical Culture (1995). I will analyse programs and activities of both artistic groups not only to indicate differences, but also to show how the program of The Workshop prepared the project of The Central Office... The Workshop’s interests in relationships between reality and media representation, between technology and humans, studies in communication and performativity, not only led towards media studies but also anticipated the contemporary cultural analysis.