In the twenty-first century, we are continually confronted with the existential side of technology—the relationships between identity and the mechanizations that have become extensions of the self. Focusing on one of humanity’s most ubiquitous machines, Automotive Prosthetic: Technological Mediation and the Car in Conceptual Art combines critical theory and new media theory to form the first philosophical analysis of the car within works of conceptual art. These works are broadly defined to encompass a wide range of creative expressions, particularly in car-based conceptual art by both older, established artists and younger, emerging artists, including Ed Ruscha, Martha Rosler, Richard Prince, Sylvie Fleury, Yael Bartana, Jeremy Deller, and Jonathan Schipper.
At its core, the book offers an alternative formation of conceptual art understood according to technology, the body moving through space, and what art historian, curator, and artist Jack Burnham calls “relations.” This thought-provoking study illuminates the ways in which the automobile becomes a naturalized extension of the human body, incarnating new forms of “car art” and spurring a technological reframing of conceptual art. Steeped in a sophisticated take on the image and semiotics of the car, the chapters probe the politics of materialism as well as high/low debates about taste, culture, and art. The result is a highly innovative approach to contemporary intersections of art and technology.
Chapter 1. Conceptual Car Art: Rethinking Conceptualism through Technology
Chapter 2. Mobile Perception and the Automotive Prosthetic: Photoconceptualism, the Car, and Urban Space
Chapter 3. The Nows of the Automotive Prosthetic: Moving Images, Time, and the Car
Chapter 4. Communication Space: Automotive Urbanism in Dan Graham's Work
Chapter 5. Hummer: The Cultural Militarism of Art Based on the SUV
Chapter 6. Richard Prince: The Fetish and Automotive Maleficium
Conclusion: The "Freedom" of Automotive Existence
Charissa N. Terranova is Assistant Professor of Aesthetic Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is also a freelance curator and critic, writing at the interstices of aesthetics, space, and new media theory.
“Although many books and exhibition catalogues have considered the influence of the automobile, Terranova’s approach to the car as a prosthetic device underscores its recent apotheosis as an indispensible human apparatus and appendage.”
—Frances Colpitt, Deedie Potter Rose Chair of Art History in the School of Art, Texas Christian University