Friday, August 18, 2006

He's just ruffling feathers

I would like to offer a counterpoint to the idea that Tony Long at Wired presented. It's not about the means, or the medium.

All art that doesn't involve using one's hands (digital processes, for example) still needs to be judgedd by it's full integrity and product. The working definition of 'art' that I use - highlighting issues. If you aren't doing this, then it just isn't art - it is a pretty picture. Perhaps the author was focusing on his antiquated ideas that are rooted in 70's elementary school art rooms. Please cut your angels out more carefully next time! There is a certain opportunity for accident to shape your final work when using something like a stop bath, I admit. You can dodge and burn as long as you want, you can also underexpose, rip the paper, stomp on it, or light it on fire. Does this make it better? I work by recognizing accidents for the better, and I see this in sketchUp all the time. You stretch a line and it goes too far - instant addition! In all seriousness, however, it happens.

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Nobody ever said that classical painting has a digital equivalent. 3d animation has no renaissance equivalent either. In fact, the real difference that you are trying to establish (perhaps a superiority?) is that arts where the medium and materials are controlled by the elite or wealthy are more, I don't know, permanent? Why aren't there more frescos surviving from the Romans? Because the right to work on them was given to a select few (not in their house, of course). Digital art is almost entirely free and accessible to literally everyone. Yes, literally. As long as an internet connects several computers, it is possible to transfer art.

Finally, someday, every work of art, from the Mona Lisa to your powerpoint presentation last week will be easily reproducible. If every strok of a paintbrush could be stored, precisely, we could make as many of them as we want. Diamonds are soon-to-be plentiful, bandwidth, storage and processing are becoming free in parts of the world (not my country though). So, what about storing all art as a series of instructions, does thinking about it from this point of view change your mind?

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