“Does a work of [digital] art require the presence of an audience to exist as art?”
All of my artwork hangs in my room and does not leave. I typically do not share my artwork unless I am feeling particularly good about it, and even then I usually decide not to. Therefore does my art not exist as art? Even though I can clearly see it on the wall above my bed? I believe that art exists no matter what. It does not matter the audience or even lack there of. Even digital art will exist. After all isn’t it said that once you put something on the internet it stays there forever?
“Are published words [even on blogs or wikis] unreliable sources of the truth, seeing as we can’t speak face to face with the author to clarify questions or to confirm his/her authority on the subject?”
Well if you want to go this route, anything can be seen as untrue; it doesn’t matter what or who the source is. It has always been difficult to look at something and then interpret that something and then get shot down by someone else who interpreted something else about that something. The most obvious and common example of this is in any English class ever. You’ll read a book and then the teacher will tell you exactly what the author meant and how they meant it even though they’ve never come face to face with the author to actually ask them “Did you make your name your main character Anne because of the Faschist movement in the mid-twentieth century in Europe?” There is no way of actually knowing what someone meant unless you sit down with the author and directly ask them. This is something I’m going to have to deal with when I teach English. I have no doubt that my students will question my every explanation.