I'm currently reading MediaArtHistories a brilliant compilation of essays that link current computer/sensor/VR etc art to various phenomena/movements etc in the past. Needless to say, I adore the book. Haven't read anything like it. It's something that ought to be bought (especially by libraries) and read (especially by teachers, critics and writers). Not just because it would make my life easier when I tell people that I make media art, but because the world is not about to become LESS technological, which means that media art is a coming juggernaut. But, as the writers point out, a lot of historical threads are present in media art's themes. (For instance, Peter Weibel traces Mediaart motifs like virtuality, programmability, haptic interactivity and algorithmic process to Kinetic and Op art!)
For an overview of the kind of writing that the book contains, you can check out this site:
It's the archive some of of the papers (in pdf) that were presented at the conference that eventually spawned the book.
About 40 u$ and not locally available as far as I know. (No whining please!) You wanna get it, go to Amazon here or MIT Press here.
Note: I've exchanged a few emails with the editor Oliver Grau, and yeah, he does have a vested interest in getting the word out, but I don't get anything for doing this. I'm just glad for some perspective on what otherwise seems like a forest of alienware (even if I make some of that alienware myself ;-)). I've also checked out Grau's own book Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion on Googlebooks (see here ). The bit where he says that Virtual Reality is an expression of the desire to "enter the picture" and then uncovers that drive expressing itself in a whole-room fresco in Pompeii painted in 60BC (!!!) is almost like criticism porn. Will have to get that one soon. Haven't been this excited about a book since I found a pirate pdf of Lev Manovich's The Language of New Media on the net. Mwahahah!