Computational media and the paradox of permanence

Keywords: Computational Media, Meaning Making, Paradox, Permanence


Throughout history we have sought permanence in media, to store information, communicate, and help us deal with an ever-changing world. Analog media have carried out this task despite their slow, but inevitable, processes of physical decay. Today computational media are seen as fast, cheap, and convenient alternatives for these tasks, even if they are quite the opposite, as they are anything but permanent. This paper argues that it is our refusal, and our fear, of impermanence that drives our desire to construct a worldview that is biased for permanence, even when the opposite lies before our eyes, as with computational media. This leads to a dissonance between the world as it is and the world as we perceive it, and to a paradox at the heart of computational media forms. This dissonance limits our relationships with these media, our literacy, and the ways how we can develop creative relationships with them and develop meaning.



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Author Biographies

Miguel Carvalhais, University of Porto / i2ADS, Portugal

Miguel Carvalhais is Professor of Design at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto. His research explores computational art, design and aesthetics, topics to which he dedicated two books: "Art and Computation" (2022) and “Artificial Aesthetics” (2016). His artistic practice spans computer music, sound art, live performance, and sound installations. He runs the Crónica label for experimental music and sound art, and the xCoAx conference (on computation, communication, aesthetics and x).

Pedro Cardoso, University of Aveiro / DigiMedia, Portugal

Pedro Cardoso is a Designer, an Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication and Art of the University of Aveiro, and a researcher at DigiMedia. His work develops in multidisciplinary contexts, on the exploration of poietic and aesthetic processes of games and computational systems, studying these as critical artefacts for creative thinking, affective experiences and social intervention.


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