When having tutorials with fine art students, I realized that we all deal with the same questions: how to choose the right medium for the certain idea, how to present the artwork, how to sell it etc... Many of these questions are related to relation between fine art world and media world - more precisely: new media world. In another terms - relation between old concepts and new technology. I believe that some discussion about these topics can help us with everyday fine art practices.
There is no doubt that we live in information age now. Computers are used for anything - from industrial production thru stock market control to movies creation. It is difficult to find an area of human activity which is not touched by computers. Everything is transfered into numbers, processed and evaluated. This is ordinary fact - but what does it mean for art, in particular the fine art production? Does it matter? If yes: what are the consequences?
The connection between technology and art has always been important in human history. Since first stone carvings thru renaissance paintings to recent DNA manipulation based art, the art was dealing with technology. In our seminar we will examine this connection with particular respect to other interesting connections - like art and science and art and philosophy. We will look into the history, we will observe a presence and we will try to predict a future - and we will examine the ways the technology affects an inspiration, creative processes, perception, ownership, distribution, aesthetic qualities and meanings of the artworks.
According The Third Wave concept introduced by Alvin and Heidi Toffler (Toffler A., Toffler H, The Future Shock, New York, 1970; Toffler A., Toffler H., The Third Wave, New York, 1980), we can divide a cultural production like that:
- 1st wave (agriculture based): paintings, manuscripts, live music performances / church
- 2nd wave (industry based): film, printed books, music records / movie theatre, library, supermarkets
- 3rd wave (information based): computer games / PC
We can see clear difference between 1st wave, when art was something special, exclusive, 2nd wave when art was mass-produced and 3rd wave, when art is becoming tailored according individual needs and audience is becoming more active in the art production and distribution. Let´s look at the big difference between traditional way of pop music distribution - store (2nd wave) versus file-sharing (3rd wave). What´s a difference!
Let's have a look at the well known artworks -portraits: Mona Lisa. For many people the best painting ever. The product of genius, crafted in many years with cutting edge technology (oil color, geometrical perspective, sfumatto), involving psychological aspect. Idea attached to the matter, high value in the terms of money. Marylin Monroe. Made in fraction of second with cutting edge technology (high end camera, lenses, film, mass media - press, tv). Product of individual artist, mass distributed thru media. Copied many times. the original still has some value, but much more was paid for copyright. Lara Croft. The computer generated portrait. The team produced work, made with cutting edge technology (computer chips, software, advanced algorithms) - endlessly copied. The original has no value, all the value is related to copyright.
Even such a simplified overview immediately starts an explosion of questions: What are the most relevant art forms of today? What are relations between older and newer media and genres? What are the relations between a craft and ideas? And many and many others. There are no simple and the only right answers to such questions, but I still believe, that it is healthy and interesting to investigate them.
- The Content and The Medium. How the medium affects the content and vice versa. Was Marshall McLuhan right in his notoriously known texts? Is the medium the message? Is each new medium bringing new content, new art forms? How the perception depends on the medium? How is the resolution changing in the history?
- Artist and Society. The art produced by an individual artist, a machine, a collective. How was the artist´s role in society during the human history? How did it affect the production processes and forms of art? What is happening now - and what we can expect in the future? Is a collective art production on the way. Is audience taking participation in creative process? What will be the consequences?
- Media and Art Market. Who owns an artwork in digital age? How an artwork can be distributed and exchanged? What is nowadays role of galleries and museums? How the artist can live of his/her production?
- Future Media. What are the future art media? Can it be predicted from the past? How are the art media related to general material production, science, popular culture media?