The catalogue attempts to outline the larger context in view of the prehistory of digital abstraction. It seeks to examine nonrepresentative art from the perspective of aesthetic practice in contemporary digital culture and aims to link strands of development in the overall history of the visual arts, which are often presented in separate and distinct narratives. Since we are particularly interested in moving forms of abstract images, our study of the historical avant-garde focuses primarily on abstract films, kinetic sculptures and dance, rather than paintings, and includes the second avant-garde generation, specifically the concepts advanced, for instance, by Op Art, by new tendencies and by early algorithm-based computer graphics. Theoretical inquiry into the visual arts has recently explored work-based reflections on methods of mediation that have been an inspiration to our online catalogue. For instance, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, curator of documenta 13 in 2012, called the first room in her exhibition ‘brain’. There she presented works of art, objects, photographs and archaeological findings intended to introduce and elucidate the contemporary art on display in the following galleries. Our catalogue can play a similarly key role in understanding the works of art commissioned and chosen for our exhibition in the House of Electronic Arts Basel 2016. It is an archive of inspiration, study and expanding horizons for the artists and writers participating as researchers in our project. Georges Didi-Huberman proposed a stimulating definition. He cites Giorgio Vasari’s collection of 16th-century master drawings as a fundamental tool indispensable to his history of art. “Assembling a collection was not a matter of illustrating history-in-the-making with a rosary of concrete proofs; rather, it was a matter of preconceiving and fabricating the reality of these proofs, which basically comes down to inventing history itself as a rhetorical strategy of the album. It was to choose the order before the proofs, to choose the relations before the terms. And thus to invent outright a reality – in fact: a symbolic order – of history. It was to frame, to isolate what it seemed necessary to isolate, and, moreover, to create relations between places, antecedents, analogies, etc; in short, it was to legislate over the objects and give them a meaning, a direction.” (Georges Didi-Huberman, Confronting Images, Penn State University Press, 2005, p. 61)

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