Ontology for Media Art

Media art is a relatively new art form, and the constantly expanding field introduces new technologies and hybrid genres. As a consequence, the terminology of the field is scarce, unstable and largely unstructured. This is a challenge for art museums and other organisations engaged in cataloguing and presenting media art.

In context of the Media Art History in Finland (MEHI) project, M-cult will create comprehensive linked data resources for media art. The Ontology for Media Art (OMA) is a special ontology to be published in the Finto vocabulary service in three languages (fi, sv, en). Media art terms from the ontology will also be matched with and added to Wikidata to benefit the international community.

Media art at OMA ontology

The ontology will cover media art’s many genres and parallel art forms, as well as key technologies, aesthetics, themes and methods. One of the aims is to include historical concepts to trace changes in the field. The development is based on comparative research on international thesauri as well as terminology collection from publications and descriptions of art work. A series of expert workshops is organised to enrich the vocabulary with terms of light art, sound art, bioart and new media art.

The ontology will be realised by informatician Mira Rissanen in collaboration with M-cult director Minna Tarkka and with wikidata support by Susanna Ånäs . The work is a part of the Media Art History in Finland (MEHI) project coordinated by the Finnish Media Art Network. It is made possible by grants from the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.

The Finto service, maintained by the National Library of Finland, is used by memory organisations in Finland and internationally. Finto is a result of the work of the Semantic Web Consortium, where also M-cult took the first steps towards an ontology for media art in 2007-08.