What's new about New Media art?

Back in 2015, the writer Lorenzo Pereira asked the following questions in his Widewalls article “Why is it So Difficult to Define New Media?” :

“What is digital art?

What is new media art?

What are the boundaries of new media art?”

To Pereira, and many of our stARTup artists, a key aspect of new media is “a dialogue or interaction.” However you define it, new media pushes the boundaries of what we consider “art,” as well as the inherent boundaries of what a given medium can do.

Here are just a few of the stARTup exhibitors who define their work as new media and have shown experimental pieces at the fair.

Kathy Aoki ,  The Tomb Room

Kathy Aoki, The Tomb Room


For stARTup LA 2016, Kathy Aoki created a convincingly authoritative museum-style installation featuring artifacts from the fictitious mortuary temple of pop-icon Gwen Stefani. Kathy’s tongue-in-cheek exhibition complete with a call-in audio tour and ‘glimpse’ into Stefani’s tomb, explored the outer limits of contemporary diva worship.

Kathy Aoki,   Chia Gwen (Sphinx with Pharoah’s Beard and Bob), 2062 AD   Terracotta with mixed glazes. Part of the original Gwen Stefani Mortuary Temple excavation, begun in 2468 AD.

Kathy Aoki, Chia Gwen (Sphinx with Pharoah’s Beard and Bob), 2062 AD

Terracotta with mixed glazes. Part of the original Gwen Stefani Mortuary Temple excavation, begun in 2468 AD.

Read more about “The Gwen Stefani Grand Burial Exhibition” at stARTup Los Angeles 2016 on Huffington Post.

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 5.52.00 PM.png

Debuting in 2016, stARTup artist Jon Fischer and San Francisco musician Danny Clay collaborated on a loop-based composition for piano and guitar. Their installation married custom-made sine wave records and three turntables, designed to create an environment and be performed for an indefinite duration.

2018 stARTup Art Fair SF_DS6A2526_Mido Lee.jpg

The records, beautifully fabricated, become art objects themselves - and were a favorite for fairgoers at both stARTup SF 2017 and 2018.

Kimberlee Koym-Murteira,  from the video,  Projecting Fire Through Water , 2017

Kimberlee Koym-Murteira, from the video, Projecting Fire Through Water, 2017

Kimberlee Koym-Murteira describes herself as “a Bay Area artist creating new media arte povera.” She uses water like as a lens “like a kid with a magnifying glass, pulling things - in this case transparent layers of video imagery- apart to study them…I choose to work with liquids -- for their transparency, and as they are too slippery for me to fully control. This projection process traces the energy of people, ghosting their shadows, heightening the glow of their reality.”

Kimberlee’s unique approach landed her in the group exhibition From the Fire: A Community Reflects and Rebuilds, commemorating the anniversary of Sonoma County and the North Bay fires in October 2017.

In June 2018, we featured Camila Magrane, voted Best Artist at stARtup SF 2018, in a special exhibition at the Isaia, the Italian menswear showroom in San Francisco. Her booth, cloaked in black draping, featured a stunning array of new media work like IF, a Virtual Reality music experience, and CLIO, an interactive photogram mirror that copies the movements of the viewer.

Camila describes her work as being divided into two phases: “As an artist, I am witnessing the rapid changes and new developments in technology and science. In my work the human face is shown as fragmented portraits intertwined with tools, textures, and abstract forms--symbolically representing the objectification of my own ideas, memories, feelings, and experiences of current times. Both artificial and natural elements are superimposed on the human image. These portraits act as a vortex, attracting and repelling objects according to the theme evoked. But as a developer, I am looking to explore this digital age where creative coding has become a pivotal component in my work. It has enabled me to utilize interactivity as a form of communication, allowing me to move viewers from a passive perception to an active one where they become explorers and co-creators instead of pure observers.”

CLIO is an interactive photogram mirror. She premiered at the stARTup Art Fair San Francisco in April of 2018. Made with a Microsoft Kinect and Unity.

Simon Pyle , from  Quantified Selfie , 2016

Simon Pyle, from Quantified Selfie, 2016

Simon Pyle’s work “considers vision, its records, and its representations in the networked age. The promise of digital media and high-resolution screens is to archive and display limitless records of experience. I seek out the visual gaps introduced by technologies of representation - such as the screen, the digital camera, the jpeg file - even as they present a hyper-realistic simulation.”

With stARTup, Simon exhibited a surveillance sculpture using facial recognition to detect and capture the faces of its viewers.

The more that people look at Quantifed Selfie, the more it grows. Pairing facial recognition technology with screens designed to draw an audience, this surveillance sculpture produces a continuous physical record of its viewers on a thermal printer. This stream of receipt paper accumulates over the period of the installation, becoming a larger spectacle the more that it is viewed.


Clive McCarthy’s Electric Paintings are truly unique - no two are identical. He uses a small, custom-built computer to produce the images rendered on flat screens. The “paint” is entirely synthetic, with layers of photographs “painted” in a random sequence continuing indefinitely.

Clive McCarthy, Beth Boxed 4, 2016.

Where is the artist’s hand, you ask? According to Clive, everywhere: “In addition to having shot all the photographic images, I wrote both the program that prepares the images for painting and the program modules that paints them, affording me a level of control not possible with commercial software tools. The works are self-contained and can be turned on and off simply by pressing a button. The code is written in C and employs OpenGL and GLSL for graphic rendering. Because my work is written in C, if I have an idea then it is just me and the machine — I have no excuses or limits — and in that sense, I grind my own pigments.”

You can find more Digital Media and Video works from our artists in our Artists Archive.

Subscribe to our Newsletter for Artist Exhibitions, special features, and details about our upcoming fairs including stARTup LA 2019. Applications are open through November 11.


 Feature by Content Curator Mica England