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Gloria Sutton’s Pattern Recognition: Contemporary Art in the Age of Digitality

Lead by Gloria Sutton, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History at Northeastern University

The title refers to the cognitive process by which newly acquired information is paired with historical knowledge to form a new understanding— in this case, how contemporary art itself has interpolated modernist image paradigms by critically adapting digital behaviors. Much of contemporary art can be understood through the following four concepts: 1. Interface instead of Medium; 2. Iteration over Originality, 3. Compositing rather than Assemblage and 4. Compression, not Abstraction. By offering a critique of the immersive, a term that has become a default descriptor for time based media art often unmarked by the lived experiences of race, gender, class, and ability, not only shape and condition how people experience art, but also regulate and legislate their bodies in real time and real space. Ultimately, Pattern Recognition, outlines how digitality both reveals and occludes the mutual embeddedness of media and identity within contemporary art.

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