In the 20th century—an age of mechanical reproduction—art faced a new era reconsidering the ways to record and represent the observable world with the emergence of photography and film. Whereas, in the 21st century with the advent of computers, the art of the digital age is accompanied by innovative changes from material-based artworks to art forms based on digitally generated virtual spaces. The concept of a virtual space in a broad sense can be found in pictorial virtual spaces starting with prehistoric cave paintings to the Renaissance paintings which were intended to create illusionary spaces. Chronically, the beginning of a virtual space that simultaneously realizes spatiality and temporality of the real world has taken off since the invention of film. After, the technologies of computer and internet have expanded the forms and meanings of virtual space to be immersive, responsive and connected. Along with a rapid progression of this digital technology, visual and performing arts have also transformed from being based on physical materials and spaces to being created through virtual spaces or within.
Accordingly, this dissertation aims to define the meaning and the attribute of virtual space and to propose a theoretical framework to reinterpret and classify virtual space mediated artworks. The principal elements forming the taxonomy framework are based on three attributes of virtual space: networked, responsive, and multi-layered. They were derived through investigating and comprehensively summarizing the existing digital aesthetic theories and concepts. In particular, the concept of 'multi-layered' extends from the literal meaning of synthesis of multiple layers to the figurative meaning of generation and transformation of images continuously and seamlessly composited. Based on these three attributes, I discuss and verify the framework and its artistic applications by empirically examining the cases of network performances, interactive arts, and visual effects in recent pop music videos.