New Media Innovators

Group: Saria Sawaf (Vivaldi, Cage, Kutiman), Ian Smyth (Glennie, Levin, Gibbons, Shakar, Sohrawardy), Cristian Medeiros (Whiteacre)

Vivaldi: Vivaldi is a creative musician. He is a mastermind when it comes to music. He has created many of the world’s most well known musical pieces today. Does that make him a new media artist? I don’t think it does. New media artists create something new and innovative. They create something progressive and notably more radical than anything created before. Regardless of this, the fact remains that Vivaldi is a genius musician, but that does not make him a new media artist simply because music is essentially the product of the mind and had existed long before Vivaldi existed.


Vivaldi, Antonio. “Vivaldi – Four Seasons (Winter).” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 18 Jan. 2010. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.

John Cage: John Cage could be categorized as a new media artist because of the manner in which his musical notes are presented to us. The use of keyboard and Violin mixed together in his “Thirteen harmonies” piece sounds so progressive and new to anything before his time. Previously, artists intended on playing very sophisticated pieces. John Cage’s musical pieces are sophisticated yet simple. At the same time they display a certain sense of musical modernism shown by the way the instruments are played together.

Source: A source could not be made for this artist because his video was taken down from YouTube.

Kutiman: This artist came up with a new and rather interesting way of combining Youtube videos together to create an interesting composition. As innovative as this idea seems, I personally don’t see the new media aspect in it. Yes, this artist did come up with an idea of compiling Youtube videos to create a noteworthy harmonious piece, but he didn’t actually create the Youtube videos, thus this leads us to the question of originality and authenticity. This doesn’t make him a new media artist at all, it just displays his ability to use a computer program to mix videos together. I don’t consider him a professional from this video.


kutiman. “Kutiman-Thru-you – 01 – Mother of All Funk Chords.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 07 Mar. 2009. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.

Evelyn Glennie: Evelyn Glennie is quite the extraordinary person. Being deaf since the age of twelve, Evelyn has learnt how to hear through feelings in her body. Before she became deaf, she realized where in her body different types of music touched her and carried that feeling into her disability. Her philosophy is that music, more specifically sound, is our daily, natural medicine. Anyone, no matter what disability they have, can experience sound waves through their body and feel when the type of sound changes. As inspirational and intriguing her approach to life is, nothing about her makes her a new media artist. She is an artist, yes, as she plays music professional, but she’s not a new media artist. She isn’t using new technologies or innovative practices to play music and further her career, she’s someone who’s just learnt how to feel sound although she’s deaf.


TED. “Evelyn Glennie: How to truly listen.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 14 May. 2007. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.

Mabe, Catherine. “Evelyn Glennie, Solo Percussionist, Is Profoundly Deaf.” Disaboom. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.

Golan Levin,  Scott Gibbons, Gregory Shakar, Yasmin Sohrawardy:

Dialtones (A Telesymphony) is an orchestra designed by Golan Levin, Scott Gibbons, Gregory Shakar, Yasmin Sohrawardy, and others. The idea is quite interesting. The group has the audience sign up their cell phones in advance, which then have specific ringtones sent to them. The audience is then assigned certain seating. What follows is absolutely new media art. The band on the stage uses a special type of software to call up to sixty phones at once, which all have their newly assigned ringtones. The phones ring and togther create a digital music symphony, which can best be described as eerily beautiful. The feeling I got from watching the video was one of a digital community and the sound was digitally beautiful. This is new media art; the group on stage had to first come up with the idea than research how to do it, as well as use different technologies to bring it together. This is by no case an easy feat and is truly commendable.


“Dialtones (A Telesymphony).” Flong. N.p., 2001. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.

Eric Whiteacre: Eric Whiteacre is a new media innovator because he found a way to create music with an orchestra that was not all in the same room at the same time. He was able to use social media sights and modern technology to combine the videos of thousands of people around the world who all were singing one part and when he put them together it was as if they were all in the same room together. He was able to showcase what is possible in today’s world and with the technology that is available to us. He created an online orchestra that used Skype in order to record videos of people singing. Its creating a situation that is normally only possible if everyone who is a  part of it is together with each other, but with this he made that possible by having them no where near each other. He is an innovator because he was able to spread such an amazing thing such as music all around the world with the participation of so many different people.


Whiteacre, Eric. “Eric Whiteacre’s Virtual Choir – ‘Lux Aurumque’.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 21 Mar. 2010. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.


From researching all these different artists, to answer the question as to whether they can be considered “new media artists” has brought an interesting conclusion to my mind. Either the definition “new media artist” can encompass anyone who can open a computer and mix together videos to people who run an entire symphony based off of people’s ringtones, or “new media artist” has to have a specific definition. I, for one, choose the latter to happen.

I want “new media artist” to have a specific definition. I want it to be something that’s hard to have oneself defined as. I don’t want someone like Kutiman to be defined as a new media artist because, as interesting as his video was, it was amateur and not difficult to accomplish. People like those in the Telesymphony or even John Cage should be regarded as new media artists, because they are bringing not only a big change to at least one medium, but they also have a sense of professionalism that solidifies themselves as being new media artists. Others on that list I would consider artists of their medium, but not new media artists. Then there’s those like Kutiman, that I wouldn’t consider an artist at all.

I think a true new media artist is someone who not only does innovative work within their medium, challenging the status quo, but someone who also brings a sense of professionalism to their work.


2 thoughts on “New Media Innovators

  1. alxbal says:

    Interesting slant. I would suggest you consider how peer culture enters in the definition of new media. Remember what we saw as a definition, taking a standard and applying it to a cultural domain… Peer 2 peer culture is about amateurs sharing the space of creative practice with professional. Who ever the I is in this reply clearly demarks professional as having a specific aesthetic…. “New” aesthetics is in large part what a new media practice is about….
    So, is Kutiman a new media artist or not, it depends on the lens you chose to use … The rejection you chose to use is actually quite common. In terms of professional makers challenging the validity of someone else’s creative endeavors.

  2. Ian Smyth says:

    I like the way you put it, “it depends on the lens you choose to use”, which is completely true. I find “artist” is quite the subjective term. Kutiman has most definitely used “new media” as a form to create his work, but is he an artist? Well, I suppose anyone with a shred of creativity and a completed work to prove it could be considered an artist.

    The lens I choose to look through may just be more critical than others. I view Kutiman as a very amateur new media artist because his a) idea his not original (many others before him have none what he’s done, although his finished product was very good), b) does not seem to care as much about producing his work considering his lack of custom thumbnails and channel art, and c) the “Thru-You” website looked very unprofessional. Not only did I find it not aesthetically pleasing, but it looked like it would give my computer a virus. If I was a practitioner looking up Kutiman and found this it could make me reconsider continuing to look for him.

    Yes, Kutiman is technically a “new media artist”. He used the medium of the internet and digital files in combination with music to create a piece himself. Do I consider his work original? No, there are others who have done the same (I did something similar in my portfolio to get into this class). Does he seem to care about presenting himself as a professional artist? It doesn’t seem so, judging by his YouTube artwork and the Thru-You website. Because of these two things, if I was someone looking to discover young amateur new media artists I think I would continue looking after I saw Kutiman.

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