The origins of new media art can be traced to the moving photographic inventions of the late 19th Century such as the zoetrope (1834), the praxinoscope (1877) and Eadweard Muybridge's zoopraxiscope (1879).
More recently, the term "new media" has become closely associated with the term Digital Art, and has converged with the history and theory of computer-based practices. Ever since the early days of computing there have been a dedicated few who toiled to create pieces of art on the digital medium. It wasn’t until the advent of the commercial internet in the late 80’s and early 90’s that digital art attracted a broader range of artist. The communicative nature of the Internet and the excitement of the dot com bubble helped fuel early net art pieces like jodi.org and net art groups etoy.
Simultaneously advances in biotechnology have also allowed artists like Eduardo Kac to begin exploring the new yet ancient medium of DNA and genetics.
Contemporary New Media Art influences on new media art have been the theories developed around hypertext, databases, and networks. Important thinkers in this regard have been Vannevar Bush and Theodor Nelson with important contributions from the literary works of Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Julio Cortázar and Douglas Cooper. These elements have been especially revolutionary for the field of narrative and anti-narrative studies, leading explorations into areas such as non-linear and interactive narratives.