Terminal 4.0

For the final segment of the Terminal installation at Western Front in Vancouver, Canada, Terminal 4.0 reflects on the quality of sociability with social media sites. The web-based content for Terminal 4.0 is a social media platform entitled State of Exceptional Webnation that was built by a duo of artists. The platform is part of a larger critique concerning the saturation of image culture and media hyberbole with online communication. Jean-Paul Kelly’s essay, TERMINAL; INTERFACE is the first essay that was commissioned by Media Curator, Alison Collins for the Terminal project. His essay sets a reflective tone toward the progression of visual content and the future exchange with the current digital interface.

Kelly’s essay begins with the visual exploration of Op Art from the 1960’s and continues through the evolution of various media and art. The significance of reflecting on a fifty plus year time-period is meant to persuade the reader to heavily consider the progression of the visual style of abstraction. Abstraction tends to be categorized from the modernist movement with concepts related to autonomy. An example that established the abstraction style would be artists breaking away from the European taste of art and culture in the early 20th Century. Within art history studies it is commonly known that there are cycles within each century that artists have broken away from some sort of established institutionalized visual paradigm.

Screenshot of Terminal 4.0 Jean-Paul Kelly’s 2016 Facebook Post on Western Front website April 2017

Through my observation of Terminal 1, 2, and 3 it has been demonstrated how new media has been part of the shift of analyzing the visual language of art. Kelly’s essay references previous critiques of Op Art and examples from contemporary art to argue that abstraction is not a neutral visual. He continues by stating at the end of his essay that these works of art cannot be singularly analyzed by a formal visual analysis. This is a technique to interpret visual information (artwork) into written words by utilizing methods of observation from the visual elements and principles of the image’s composition. Kelly’s argument implies that abstraction is not neutral because viewing art in this manner corrupts the viewer’s exchange with emotions, along with social and political concepts.

The ending of Kelly’s essay is what led me to think about the current digital interface of social media sites. I asked myself the question, “What does the future look like with the progression of ideas toward the activation of individualized social exchange in a very crowded Cyberspace?” In addition, I reflected on Collins’ references to social media in her introduction of Terminal 4.0. The first example from Collins is her recent experience at a Canada Council summit that had an emphasis on the promotion of utilizing the digital within the art community. She also reminds the reader of the corporate influences that have a hand in the Internet’s future with the quality of sociability. This aspect of the Internet is a current turning point for social media concerning net neutrality rules and censorship. Taking all these elements of Terminal 4.0 into consideration and the understanding that digital media transitions are at a quicker pace than the traditional fine art mediums, I have posed an ending question for my four part blog series on Terminal: Is there currently another cycle of artist’s breaking away from the now standardized digital format related to the Internet?

Time will reveal the next cycle of modern and/ or post-modern movements. To continue with our observations of the digital within contemporary art, I believe Collins states it best in her introduction. “Visual research is ongoing, where the surface and image are intermixed with other forms of content, both visible and hidden.”



Collins, A. (2017) Introduction for Terminal 4.0 [Internet], Vancouver, Canada. Available from: http://terminal.front.bc.ca/ [Accessed April 3, 2017].

Kelly, J. (2017) TERMINAL; INTERFACE [Internet], Vancouver, Canada. Available from: http://terminal.front.bc.ca/ [Accessed April 3, 2017].

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/29/opinion/sunday/fcc-invokes-internet-freedom-while-trying-to-kill-it.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=1  [Accessed April 29, 2017].

By: Carrie Ida Edinger

Carrie’s interest with new media is in interdisciplinary methods and the use of the Internet as a presentation site for evolving contemporary projects.