From Celluloid to Cyberspace

The Media Arts and the Changing Arts World

by Kevin F. McCarthy, Elizabeth Heneghan Ondaatje


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The arts in America are entering a new era that will pose many challenges for the arts community. However, our current knowledge of the operation of the arts world and its underlying dynamics is limited. These limits are particularly pronounced with regard to the newest and most dynamic component of the arts world: the media arts. Defined as art that is produced using or combining film, video, and computers, the media arts encompass a diverse array of artistic work that includes narrative, documentary, and experimental films; videos and digital products; and installation art using media. This report examines the organizational features of the media arts, placing them in the context of the broader arts environment and identifying the major challenges they face. Rather than discussing aesthetics or individual artists or works, the authors take a structural point of view, discussing audiences, media artists as a group, arts organizations, and funding for the media arts. They conclude that the media arts need both greater public visibility and a clearer sense of their own identity. They should become more attuned and responsive to the policy context in which they operate and should address the lack of systematic, quantitative information about the field. Finally, the media arts need to become actively involved in building greater public involvement in their work.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

  • Summary

  • Acknowledgements


  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    The Arts Environment in America

  • Chapter Three

    The Development of the Media Arts

  • Chapter Four

    Comparing the Media Arts

  • Chapter Five


  • Appendix A

    Information on the Media Arts

  • Appendix B


  • Bibliography

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's RAND Enterprise Analysis.

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