Digital Art Source invited a group of international artists, curators and theorists of new media art to recommend a text (or group of texts) for students. The responses we received are below. Our thanks to the participants.
 
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©1999-2010
digital art source
Mark von Schlegell
The idea of 'digital art' is a dubious one. The art is a generic form of art before its distribution, no? So we can have a song by Dylan on vinyl and on disk, and despite the obvious differences of tone, coherence and even meaning, the song, as it were, remains the same. As a digital artist myself (a writer who writes, delivers and sometimes even publishes only in digitalia) my advice to my comrades, whether I should be giving it or not, would simply be to cross genres within a generic 'presentable' form to begin with. In other words, digital art that begins with a concept of itself as painting, sculpture, video, performance etc. can destroy its generic containment by crossing out into other modes where work that sees itself simply as 'digital art' or 'new media' offers itself up for categorization by the art historical hegemony, only along the lines of its technological identity.

I follow Norman Klein (I recommend all Klein's genre-bending criticism) in thinking that technology, historically speaking, tends to enter into art fields as a special effect, illustrating and performing power by an educated elite onto the masses.

Another recommended text for the digital artist, in this case, would be something from the 90's and 2000's output of the British bard of the comic book: Alan Moore of Northampton. Mr. Moore is quietly producing what this honest reader feels is the finest literature of our time, by self-reflecting the comic book out of its generic constrictions into an 'art' or 'literature' as self-expressive and moving as it is 'post-modern' and political. Moore's achievement, as intellectually adventuresome as committed to its comic-book low-culture status, displays the virtues that could define the success of 'digital art' (whatever it may be): intricate love of reading, reference and research, constant collaboration, generic pseudo-identity, left-wing paranoia, respect for contemporary theoretical physics and cosmology, youth culture, humor and easy accessibility to a public it feels as free to lambaste as celebrate. And always a strong left-wing confidence & liberal conscience displayed surviving, producing, creating....

Look for these current titles: Prometha, Top 10, Tomorrow Stories, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Tom Strong. and go back to From Hell, 1963, and the supreme Supreme. Just don't let anyone tell you this is 'art'. This is comic-books, pure and simple and it's way ahead and far more confident than today's 'art'. It's promising to capture the hearts of our digital descendents more than the latest Updike fiasco. Plus: comics will survive 8 years of the Grinning Gorilla George Bush, even if all the power goes out.
     
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Alan
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Mark
von Schlegell