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New Museum and MIT Press Launch New Anthology Series with 'MASS EFFECT'

New Museum and MIT Press Launch New Anthology Series with 'MASS EFFECT'

The New Museum and the MIT Press will launch a new anthology series in November 2015 with Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the Twenty-First Century, coedited by Lauren Cornell and Ed Halter.

The series revives the seminal series of critical anthologies on key cultural topics initiated in 1984 by the New Museum and the MIT Press, which produced six defining volumes for the field of contemporary art, including Art After Modernism: Rethinking Representation (1984), Blasted Allegories: An Anthology of Writings by Contemporary Artists (1989), and Discourses: Conversations in Postmodern Art and Culture (1990).

The new series, overseen by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement at the New Museum, is titled "Critical Anthologies in Art and Culture" and will build on this historic partnership to provide a platform for today's most pressing conversations around contemporary culture.

Mass Effect is one of the first volumes to document and critique the evolution of art engaged with the internet in the twenty-first century. It includes newly commissioned essays, reprints of key texts, image portfolios, and transcribed discussions, debates, and lectures that offer insights and reflections from a wide range of artists, curators, art historians, and writers.

The editors of the anthology have both gathered and commissioned in-depth writing on artists such as Cory Arcangel, Cao Fei, Paul Chan, DIS, Aleksandra Domanovi?, Mark Leckey, and Seth Price as well as pivotal curatorial projects like And/Or Gallery, Radical Software Group, "surf clubs," and other artist communities, while providing historic background on recent terms such as "postinternet." The volume also tracks the broader international and political context as it bears on art: persistent war waged through advanced, increasingly invisible technologies, illuminated in works by Trevor Paglen; globalization as it affects the language of the art world, captured in the debate around "International Art English"; and the possibility for more distributed alliances and activism, as expressed during the Arab Spring.

Since the turn of the millennium, the internet has evolved from a relatively new medium to a true mass medium-with a deeper and wider cultural reach, greater opportunities for distribution and collaboration, and more complex corporate, political, and social realities. Mass Effect provides the first comprehensive look at the "second generation" of internet artists that emerged within this era, responding to a radically different set of conditions compared to the pioneers of the 1990s. Charting a loosely chronological series of formative arguments, developments, and events, the anthology provides an essential guide to understanding the dynamic and ongoing relationship between art and new technologies.

The book is structured around several key inquiries, laid out in the introduction by the editors as:
What is the legacy of within our new technological paradigm? How can artists adapt and assimilate to social media and the democratization of "creativity"? Has the web-savvy user of the 1990s been sidelined in favor of the creative consumer? How do artists wrestle with the realities of surveillance and data-mining, which have arrived hand-in-hand with greater freedoms and openness in culture? How have self-identification and representation evolved in contemporary culture, where socialization unfolds free of the body and the goal of achieving visibility has become inflected by the anxiety of being overseen? How can we retrieve, experience, and study previous art operations that anticipated our current mass tools, at a time when changeovers in formats and platforms can make the past unreadable?

Cory Arcangel, Karen Archey, Michael Bell-Smith, Claire Bishop, Dora Budor, Johanna Burton, Paul Chan, Ian Cheng, Michael Connor, Lauren Cornell, Petra Cortright, Jesse Darling, Anne de Vries, DIS, Aleksandra Domanovi?, Harm van den Dorpel, Dragan Espenschied, Rózsa Zita Farkas, Azin Feizabadi, Alexander R. Galloway, Boris Groys, Ed Halter, Alice Ming Wai Jim, Jogging, Caitlin Jones, David Joselit, Dina Kafafi, John Kelsey, Alex Kitnick, Tina Kukielski, Oliver Laric, Mark Leckey, David Levine, Olia Lialina, Guthrie Lonergan, Jordan Lord, Jens Maier-Rothe, Shawn Maximo, Jennifer McCoy, Kevin McCoy, Gene McHugh, Tom Moody, Ceci Moss, Katja Novitskova, Marisa Olson, Trevor Paglen, Seth Price, Alexander Provan, Morgan Quaintance, Domenico Quaranta, Raqs Media Collective, Alix Rule, Timur Si-Qin, Josephine Berry Slater, Paul Slocum, Rebecca Solnit, Wolfgang Staehle, Hito Steyerl, Martine Syms, Ben Vickers, Michael Wang, Tim Whidden, Anicka Yi, and Damon Zucconi.

Lauren Cornell is Curator and Associate Director, Technology Initiatives, at the New Museum. She co-curated the 2015 Triennial: "Surround Audience" with the artist Ryan Trecartin. From 2005 to 2012, she served as Executive Director of Rhizome and as Adjunct Curator at the New Museum. Since 2011, she has been on the faculty of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.

Ed Halter is a founder and director of Light Industry, a venue for film and electronic art in Brooklyn, and teaches as Critic in Residence in the Film and Electronic Arts Department at Bard College. He has curated screenings and exhibitions at such venues as MoMA P.S.1, the Walker Art Center, and the 2012 Whitney Biennial.

The New Museum is the only museum in New York City exclusively devoted to contemporary art. Founded in 1977, the New Museum is a center for exhibitions, information, and documentation about living artists from around the world. From its beginnings as a one-room office on Hudson Street to the inauguration of its first freestanding building on the Bowery designed by SANAA in 2007, the New Museum continues to be a place of experimentation and a hub of new art and new ideas.

The MIT Press, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, is the only university press in the United States whose list is based in science and technology. This does not mean that science and engineering are all we publish, but it does mean that we are committed to the edges and frontiers of the world -- to exploring new fields and new modes of inquiry. We publish about two hundred new books a year and over thirty journals. We are a major publishing presence in fields as diverse as architecture, social theory, economics, cognitive science, and computational science, and we have a long-term commitment to both design excellence and the efficient and creative use of new technologies. Our goal is to create books and journals that are challenging, creative, attractive, and yet affordable to individual readers. For more information, visit

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