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Media Art Terms

The elements of media arts are (as defined by Minnesota Standards) :

refers to what we view within a given frame, in either the natural or constructed environment. Composition,light and color are important aspects of the image that can be deliberately manipulated for specific expressive and communication purposes. Changes in attributes of color,such as hue,saturation, brightness,contrast and type of light (natural or artificial),influence emotions or perceptions.Attributes of light that affect the image include contrast,hardness or softness,direction and amount.The compositionof the image is defined by the elements of visual arts (line,shape,form,texture,depth).In addition,the characteristic of the lens affects the composition through focal length,depth of field and focus.


(dialogue, music, voice-over and sound effects) has five basic functions:information, outer orientation (environment), inner orientation (mood), energy (emotion), and structure.The formal elements of audio are:volume, mix, density, rhythm, tempo, spatial acoustics, and pitch.

in the image is structured by aspect ratio (frame dimension),object,and image size.Space is defined by the direction and movement of the lines in the composition within the frame,object framing,and balance. Height, width and depth are created through the use of camera position and action. Depth can be manipulated through the characteristics of lenses, motion within the frame, graphics, and text.The sense of space can be modified by sound through mixing and panning.

may be expanded or contracted,slowed down or speeded up.The viewer’s experience of the passage of time is determined through capturing and editing.The pace of the piece may be consistent or varied.In photography,time is controlled with the use of the shutter speed.Rhythm and tempo in sound is manipulated to construct meaning. In interactive media, time is subjective because of the non-linear selection process.

is articulated by action in front of the camera, the camera itself, editing, transitions, lens zoom or focus, and animation.In photography,the illusion of motion is constructed with the shutter speed to blur the image or stop the action.

is the ordering of images and sounds in the process of scripting, capturing, and editing through conventions of narrative, rhetoric and association. Media Arts


ART : 21 glossary from PBS

UNESCO Knowledge Portal / Variable Media Glossary

Young Digital Creators (YDC)
UNESCO’s Young Digital Creators / lesson plans

An historical period and attitude from the early to mid-20th century, characterized by experimentation, abstraction, a desire to provoke, and a belief in progress. Modern artists strove to go beyond that which had come before. Works of modern art may be visually different and yet share the same commitment to questioning artistic conventions. Modern Art is oriented towards developing new visual languages (rather than preserving and continuing those of the past) and takes the form of a series of periods, schools, and styles.

A term that has come to describe the stylistic developments that depart from the norms of modernism. Postmodernism questions the validity of the emphasis of modernists on logic, simplicity, and order, suggesting that ambiguity, uncertainty, and contradiction may also have a valid place.

The representation in art, by form and content, of an event or story. Whether a literal story, event, or subject matter—or a more abstract relationship between colors, forms and materials—narrative in visual art applies as much to the work as it does to the viewer's "story" of what they see and experience.

Glossary of Digital Art and Printmaking Terms
by the Digital Art Practices & Terminology Task Force (DAPTTF)

New Media Art -Excellent intro to the book:


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