Conceptual Information Arts 
Core Concepts of CIA

Conceptual Information Arts is an area that continues to evolve. Below are some concepts that live at its core. These differentiate Conceptual Information Arts (CIA) from the customary intermedia, experimental arts approaches. 

  • CIA emphasizes systematic and structured processes of inquiry as an underlying support to the experimental searching at the fringes of the art world. The area has stressed the integration of the rational and the intuitive. Students are expected to learn and use processes of planning and problem solving typical of disciplines outside the arts when appropriate.
  • CIA encourages students to supercede, question, and challenge traditional notions of what constitutes valid art media, contexts, and approaches. Students are encouraged to bring ideas, materials, and experiences from outside the art world to become focuses for their art. Students are challenged to combine traditional media and to incorporate new media. They are encouraged to follow their ideas and artistic impulses even if they don't take them into traditional validated art directions.
  • Contemporary science and technology are radically transforming the world. The culture desperately needs artists to address these developments. The program encourages students to become knowledgeable about world views, ideas, and tools of these fields and to incorporate them in a non-superficial way into their art making. Students are expected to achieve expertise in technological areas in which most artists only superficially venture.
  • Electronic technology and mediated information distribution seem on the surface value-free, but in fact, are causing major shifts in social interaction and the way we perceive ourselves and reality. Artworks generated through digital technology require some knowledge of strategies learned from semiotics, communications studies, and cultural theory for critically understanding technology's impact on culture.
  • CIA students are interested in art that could be categorized through a wide spectrum. The area supports students to pursue these types of inquiries. Some of the categories include: performance art, interactive events, public art, earthworks, art and architecture, installation, kinetics and robotics, video, intermedia, computer imaging, computer generated conceptual work, telecommunications, sound art, art and science, integration with other disciplines, art and language, conceptual art, guerrilla art, and hopefully activities that defy these categories. 

      Revised: 2.2012
- This page created by Stephen Wilson, Professor Conceptual/Information Arts Program, Art Department, SFSU (
- More information about the Conceptual Information Arts program is available at (