Sometimes referred to as moral absolutism, is an ethical view that certain actions or beliefs are absolutely right or wrong, regardless of the context in which they occur in, the respective consequences or the intentions behind them.


A political theory in which conflict is seen as natural and having potentially positive aspects. An agonist accepts conflict as having a permanent place and role in political and social interactions, and seeks to show how society might accept and channel this positively.


The giving of human characteristics and qualities to non-human beings, objects, natural, or supernatural phenomena. Anthropomorphism occurs frequently in religions and mythologies when gods, angels, demons or other spirits are portrayed as having human form. This is also common in myths and fables where trees, plants, animals and elements such as winds or rivers are given the ability to speak and have human emotions.


1. Appropriation is the act of taking an idea or object and integrating it into one's own work or creation, typically without permission.

2. In art, appropriation is the technique (quickly becoming a full-on practice) of incorporating the content or concepts of others into one's own art works.

There is also crossover here into the fields of cultural studies and anthropology in the way that one culture's adoption of another's customs or traditions can be seen as an act of appropriation. This relates to art increasingly in the way that contemporary artists appropriate behaviours and identities from popular culture rather than specific images or texts.


The totality of blogs on the Internet, and the sum of their relationships to one another.


Referring to the organization of elements within a space. For example, organizing shapes by their proximity to the edges of a canvas, or centering a person's face in the frame of a photograph.


The act of filtering content according to an overriding theme or concept. This is often a critical process, involving either a personally-devised or an established methodology for selection.

Dada movement

was a both an artistic and cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland and was most active between 1916 and 1922. The Dadaists created works that were anti-aesthetic, and through their experimental and often bizarre art, they planted the seeds for what we now think of as performance art, conceptual art and institutional critique. Aside from visual artists, poets, actors and philosophers became involved in a number of the movement's public gatherings, performances and protest pieces that critiqued the political situation of Western Europe as well as the standards of the art world at that time.


A theoretical movement beginning in the 1950s (and coined with its namesake by Jacques Derrida in the 60s) that questions traditional assumptions about identity, truth and language. Beginning in literary criticism, looking at issues of narration, authorship and the complexities of language, deconstructionism over the years has attempted to demonstrate that the only meanings in various object, concepts and in expressions of language are the ones that we assign to them as beings desiring of meaning, and that no image, text or object has meaning inherently.

Also a popular element in deconstructionism is the method of textual analysis, where any object or experience under scrutiny is related to the reading of a text.


Deterritorialization is a concept developed by the philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari to describe any process that decontextualizes a set of relations—in other words, an event or a force that takes something out of or dramatically expands its original context and then incorporates it into a new system (reterritorialization). An example of this is the concept of pollination, where bees inadvertently drive the reproductive system of flowers. The bees become part of the flower system, and the flowers are essential to the life of bees. This mutual relationship deterritorializes them as independent entities and concepts.


1. Loosely defined, a discourse is a conversation, or any verbal or written exchange of communication.

2. More often, the word "discourse" is used to indicate a serious and analytical engagement with the subject matter of a conversation, as practiced in a debate or critique.

3. In an expanded definition, discourses can also be carried out visually through art and/or performance. Under this definition, every artwork is a statement about a particular topic or group of topics, and the production of art in society can be seen as an alternate and ongoing process of discourse (albeit, a more abstract one) about existence and the human condition.

A related but more theoretical interpretation of discourse was written about by the provocative 20th century philosopher Michel Foucault. He saw discourse as the concept of how a particular issue is talked about and represented within a particular time period or social condition. For instance, the joint repression of public conversation about sexuality and the rise of faith in scientific knowledge in Victorian England produced a discourse about sexuality that carries into the modern day Western world—where one's sex life and sexual identity continue to be talked about as medical, genealogical, biological and otherwise scientific concepts rather than instinctual, primal behaviour.

embodied society

This is an original term that should be clarified. The 'embodied' in this concept distinguishes and refers to the fact that we are increasingly becoming a society of both physical and virtual, material and immaterial systems of interaction, production and exchange. The embodied society and virtual society do not necessarily reflect one another or stay proportionate, hence the reason to distinguish between them. A person's identity, history and engagement with others in either society may be more invested, complex or even non-existent, depending upon that person's social and technical skills.


1. To be involved in, to participate in.

2. To establish a meaningful connection with someone or something.

3. To interact in a sincere and committed fashion.


A person or thing regarded only as a material for use.

formal analysis

This is the process of analyzing an artwork's visual and material properties. These consist of the artwork's form, therefore the term formal indicates a visible or otherwise sensory characteristic. Formal analysis can also refer to the study of essential spatial relationships in various design professions.


A french word meaning to slide as a verb, or a slippage as a noun. This word was appropriated by the philosopher Jacques Derrida to describe his theory of how language, both visual and verbal, is an endless process of slipping signifiers. Essentially, the meaning of a word, image, sound or physical gesture is continually distanced from its original and simplest meaning by the other objects and concepts that surround it, along with those it refers to in history, culture or the natural world. Because of this unending slipping of meaning, no object or concept is ever stable or secure in what it refers to—meaning in language is always changing, both on the personal and the collective levels of society which makes true moments of understanding between speakers nearly impossible.


A term developed by French Marxist Louis Althusser. It is often used in cultural studies and media theory to describe how images on commercial products and in advertising solicit or 'call out' to the viewer as an individual through the use of linguistic devices like "I", "you" and visual devices like photographs, video or illustrations that assume a first-point-perspective.


1. A system for organizing any property or thing by rank, one above the other according to their relative status or authority.

2. Specifically in art and design, a hierarchy is an order for the importance of visual elements in a composition.


1. to overlap in patterned or otherwise structured arrangement.

2. To form an interlocking relationship in either the physical or conceptual sense.


The word-stock of a language, otherwise known as its vocabulary, including phrases and expressions.


1. A technical term for the dissemination of a message through the media to a small or specialized audience. This is as opposed to the term broadcasting.

2. Narrowcast has also become a popular in cultural studies to describe the increasing focus on systems of social media, the local and individual authorship demonstrated by concepts like status updates and citizen journalism.

net art
net artists
net artworks
networked art

A term describing any artwork that is made on and disseminated through a network. The most common form of this today is art accessed through the World Wide Web—just one 'sector' of the larger network we call the Internet. Other forms of networked art occur through cell phones, GPS tracking devices, web cams, e-mail and even on pen and paper. The earliest form of networked art is often cited as the practice of mail art beginning in the early 1960s. However, most mentions of net art or networked art reference works made since the early 1990s.

In its advent, net artists were generally of an avant-gardist perspective (or at least parodying one) and used the unique properties of the medium—digital and distributed—to make political gestures. The most significant of these was that once a work was given a URL, it didn't matter whether it was in a gallery, a museum, or a fancy case in some hotel lobby—it was accessible from virtually anywhere and therefore escaped the traditional means of collection and commodification. By contrast, the majority of net artists today have mixed feelings about their relation to the art market and the political realities of making art, no matter the medium.

new media art

A term given to variety of artistic mediums and practices that involve electronic, digital or networked attributes.
These include, but are not limited to: video art, robotic/kinetic art, software art, game art, net art, hacktivism, electronic theatre and installation, data visualization, computer animation and biotechnology.

The term new media was first employed in the late 1960s to describe the introduction of video recording technologies and projection into the the work of many artists. Pioneers of new media art often came from backgrounds in sculpture, installation or performance—another art movement growing rapidly at that time . The ability that video technology granted for artists to make affordable, high-quality copies of their work and distribute it independently without the cost of a major imprint and release gave way to not only a whole new medium and skillet, it also birthed a philosophy of art making that largely disregarded the established institutions of museums and mainstream galleries for validation or exposure.

Over the last five decades, the colloquial definition of new media art has shifted slightly to more of a generic label for any art that incorporates technology. However, this is partially correct. New media art distinguishes itself from traditional visual arts such as painting or sculpture by the social and cultural events it produces, which are also considered an integral part of the piece.


This word is being used here in the sense of nomadology—a concept developed by Gilles Deleuze, a 20th century philosopher. A nomadic behaviour in the Deleuzian sense means to resist being appropriated into any culture or community through the constant re-invention of one's identity and position within society. Nomadic thought is also referred to as assuming multiple trajectories by Deleuze as a metaphor for the psychological state of being open to all possibilities and resources of the present moment.

open source

1. A philosophy applied to the production and development of various products, from solar panelling to software. open source is a pragmatic methodology that promotes the idea of transparent construction and free redistribution. This allows for others to access a product's design and implementation details. As a model for production, open source gained popularity with the rise of the Internet, and the subsequent need for constant updates and revisions of the computing source code. By giving full access to the source code, unlicensed individuals and third parties were enable to go beyond revisions of the product or program and to make whole new versions. This has resulted in a massive diversity of product models, spinoff designs and online communities.

2. Socially and politically, many areas of study have been affected by the growth of open source culture and its philosophy. Within fields like physics, engineering and computer programming, the number of open source advocates has grown significantly and is beginning to alter the established workflows and publication methods of those fields.

3. Open source software is any software program whose source code is made publicly available, enabling individual users and other parties to copy, alter and redistribute the source code without paying royalties or fees to the original programmer/designer. Open source software often relies on a community of developers for its creation.


A descriptor meaning of or relating to the practice and study of teaching. More commonly, this term is used in the context of post-secondary and adult education. Traditionally, pedagogy in art describes the methods for teaching the concepts and techniques of art making. However, in recent years the term has expanded to characterize artists whose work has an educational aspect or proposes a situation to bring audience members together through conversation or a shared activity in which they can exchange ideas and learn from one another—This is sometimes referred to as radical or revolutionary pedagogy, as it happens outside the conventional institution of a school or a classroom.


Commonly used today to mean of or relating to a person or organization that gives to a charitable cause. However, this is usage deviates slightly from the original meaning, which is to contribute to a humanitarian cause or an initiative that otherwise benefits the cultural and social well-being of society.

In the context of the contemporary art world, many institutions are now facing the idea of evaluating their philanthropic worth to their local, national and international communities in the face of declining attendance and economic stagnancy. Conversely, growing waves of contemporary artists are incorporating democratic or egalitarian philosophies into their art practices that could be categorized as philanthropic in nature.


1. A term in computer technology and software development to mean an operating system or a program that provides a framework for accessing and using information.

This framework can be thought of as having two sides: visual and navigational. The visual side is the actual look, i.e. the graphics that the user sees, and the navigational side, which is how the user moves from one command or operation to the next.

2. In terms of networked communication and net art, a platform is a website or software application accessed through the Internet that allows users to create and distribute content. This content is often shared with other users of the platform, forming an online community. Examples of this include everything from the collective blogging platform of social medias sites like Facebook to the more specialized platforms of websites like where much of the interaction involves surfing through public directories of audio files.


A philosophy based on the premise that sensory experiences and the logical and mathematical analysis of those experiences is the only worthwhile approach to understanding the universe—essentially that every facet of life can be explained through scientific means. Approaches to explaining experience through intuition or introspection are considered inane and are rejected.


1. The practice of speaking persuasively and to an impressive effect. It was regarded as an art form in many ancient civilizations and was seen as essential skill for successful leadership.

2. The use of figures of speech, anecdotes and other narrative devices in conversation is also considered an act of rhetoric.


This is a shortened version of the term 'mediascape', attributed to the media theorist Arjun Appadurai in 1990. Appadurai used this word to describe the impact of digital and print media in the world and the role that such media plays in the 'flow' of global culture. By using the suffix of 'scape' the word implies a figurative land or realm in which images and ideas perpetuated by the media move across and are exchanged between individual people, organizations and social groups.


A script is a piece of computer language (also referred to as a program script or scripting language) and consists of a sequence of instructions that are carried out by another software application. These instructions are written using pre-existing characters (the letters, numbers and symbols that already exist on a computer). But, they are purposely ordered and grouped in a way that is different from other written languages. Many times they appear more mathematical, with propositions like, if {(x) and (y) then (z)}, or {(x) equals (y, plus the variable z)}. These propositions are conditional, and their success or failure of being executed relies on the ability of the other software application to 'read' them. For this, several standardized scripting languages exist. Common ones include: HTML, Javascript, PHP, Perl, Python and ASP.

software philosophy

The use of software as an analogy for methods of production and distribution. Characteristics of how software is developed and functions, such as interactivity, conditionals, variable outcomes and open source programming are mimicked or otherwise used as guiding principles in the planning and execution of a document, product or event.


1. Refers to a condition without boundaries or constraints. The virtual is opposed to the physical, which has limitations in time and space.

2. Virtual is often used to describe something that is simulated rather than naturally occurring, such as the three-dimensional graphics of video games being referred to as "virtual" reality or the "virtual" space of the World Wide Web.

3. It may be used colloquially as a synonym for "high-tech," "computerized," or "electronic".