This dissertation takes its starting point in three Swedish art exhibitions which contain so called new media: Avatar (1998), Bäst före (1999) and Electrohype (2000-2006). These exhibitions take place in a time which according to media scholars is significant; media society, media age, media landscape, image culture, media culture and media space is a handful of concepts being used to characterize this particular time. These exhibitions contain new media, thematically or as an apparatus, and are to be considered as expressions of the contemporary media society.
With the starting point in how printed media, radio, television and internet discuss Avatar, Bäst före and Electrohype the aim of this dissertation is to examine how the contemporary media society is thematized in the mediated discourse of art and new media in Sweden, formwise as well as thematically, during the turn of the century 2000. The overall intention is to shed light upon the pattern of tensions that are brought to the fore when new media emerge in the society.
The societal context of the exhibitions is defined as a media society. The research object of the dissertation are mediation processes related to Avatar, Bäst före and Electrohype. The role of the exhibitions in the study are as discourse producing events. The material consists of written, auditive and visual texts from the mass media that relates to the three art exhibitions. By using textual analysis this dissertation puts to the fore spatial dimension of the synaesthetical practices of looking, the embodied vision, the compression of time and space, the importance of learning oneself how to see phenomena related to new media. This describes the contemporary media society as ephemeral and changeable, at the same time as it proves to have a continuity. It is vital to stress the importance of not understanding this characterization in terms of binary oppositions. On the contrary, it is their parallel existence that contribute to the elasticity significant of the contemporary media society.