Intertextuality of retrieval database artworks

Wun Ting Hsu, Wen-Shu Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Retrieval database artwork, unlike other artwork, does not present fixed, preset and stable contents; it is formed as external data are retrieved from different sociocultural contexts and combined into the artworks' content. This article aims to address the intertextual relationships between retrieval database artworks and the mass-produced texts from which the database artworks retrieve their data. After briefly discussing the difference between retrieval database artwork and participatory database artwork, and exploring the main concept of intertextuality, we address why intertextuality is essential and beneficial in understanding retrieval database artworks. Two selected works are used to demonstrate that, as the artwork is executed, the meanings and relationships of retrieval database artwork are ever-changing, and the authorship is constantly shifting due to the viewer's participation. Shifting authorship in retrieval database artwork is caused by the daily mass cultural production of original text, which might or might not be retrieved by the database to be incorporated into the artwork. We conclude that retrieval database artworks cannot separate themselves from mass data. The dynamic intertextual relationships between the work and its ongoing retrieval of content from other cultural productions, as well as the viewers' contributions to the work, simultaneously shape and reshape the work and its authorship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-69
Number of pages9
JournalTechnoetic Arts
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2013


  • Authorship
  • Database art
  • Intertextual relationship
  • Intertextuality
  • Mass production
  • Retrieval data

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