Intermedia was a concept employed in the mid-sixties by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins to describe the ineffable, often confusing, inter-disciplinary activities that occur between genres that became prevalent in the 1960s. Thus, the areas such as those between drawing and poetry, or between painting and theater could be described as intermedia. With repeated occurrences, these new genres between genres could develop their own names (e.g. visual poetry or performance art.)

Higgins described the tendency of the most interesting and best in the new art to cross the boundaries of recognized media or even to fuse the boundaries of art with media that had not previously been considered art forms, including computers.

With characteristic modesty, he often noted that Samuel Taylor Coleridge had first used the term.

In 1968, Hans Breder founded the first university program in the United States to offer an M.F.A. in intermedia. The Intermedia Area at The University of Iowa graduated artists such as Ana Mendieta and Charles Ray. In addition, the program developed a substantial visiting artist tradition, bringing artists such as Dick Higgins, Vito Acconci, Allan Kaprow, Karen Finley, Robert Wilson and others to work directly with Intermedia students. The program is currently headed by Jon Winet (Xerox PARC Artist in Residence in the 1990s). The technical supervisor, and also an integral part of the culture of the Intermedia Area and graduate of the program himself, is Steven Strait.

Over the years, especially on the Iowa campus, "Intermedia" has been used interchangeably with "Multi-media." However, recently the latter term has become identified with mixed-media in the arts and electronic media in pop-culture. While Intermedia values both disciplines, the term "Intermedia" has become the preferred term for interdisciplinary practice.

Another prominent University program focusing on "Intermedia" practice is the Intermedia program at Arizona State University.

Intermedia is also a non-profit NGO based in Pakistan that aims at promoting an informed, democratic and tolerant society by supporting and strengthening free media as an effective tool for social progress.


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