By Fergus Ewbank
Header artwork provided by Talenthouse Artist Jota Azevedo.
When one thinks of the marriage between technology and art the first thing that comes to mind might be of a computer-generated film or image. Your memory whirs like a tiny film-projector as you think, ‘yes I understand, that nice little short film that came on before Toy Story 3 at the cinema, that’s the interplay between art and technology in its purest form.’ True, it’s a fine example of one of the ways in which technology can be used to create art, that being said technology has, in one form or another, always been in attendance during the creation of art.
Cavemen mixed minerals to daub paintings on walls, the Impressionists used easels to paint landscapes and Warhol used screen-printing to paint soup can after soup can after soup can. The two systems have ridden out an interminable relationship together that began long before the invention of computers. While, the platters of cucumber sandwiches and profiteroles served up at the past five hundred millennia of anniversary celebrations may well be fossilised and stale, the burgeoning interplay between art and technology is anything but.
As the technological landscape continues to evolve, its use in art reflects our desire to create new things, and to do so in new and innovative ways. More and more today, we see the interplay between art and technology acting as an intrinsic element within an artistic concept, be it the end product itself or in the process of creation. Last summer’s Digital Revolution exhibition at London’s Barbican and the Tate’s iK Prize, being rather good cases in point.
Though musty art critics might disagree, the recognition of, and appreciate for, technology is doing fantastic things for art and creativity. Thanks to the Internet, and apps like Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest, technology has become a tool for stimulating creativity and discovering artistic ideas. Art, in all forms, can be created and distributed across the digital world, without ever having to go through gallery owners or reptilian critics. Where once the chance for recognition meant dragging portfolios across town to present to the dinosaurs of fine art, the same trip today would feel more like an ill-omened helicopter ride into Jurassic Park. Something you shouldn’t necessarily be doing because you know there’s a less hazardous, less afflicting route towards what you want to achieve.
For those who do choose hand delivery, the movement of portfolio from A to B has, for one, been made less cumbersome thanks to tablets, laptops and smartphones. Work, concepts and ideas can be presented beautifully and transported easily, with the added bonus of Flappy Mega Jewel Blitz to keep the journey interesting. All kinds of apps are being developed for these everyday devices, to give artists a way to create and share whilst on the move. Equally, for photographers, the Instagram behemoth is providing a platform for sharing work, which even five years ago would have been unprecedented. The brilliance of such technology is that, not only does it allow artists to create and share, it also encourages others to begin to do so. Much of the creative software that now exists, like Photoshop for graphic designers and Adobe Premier for filmmakers, enables people to create their art on an accessible, easy-to-learn platform. While it takes a good deal of hard work to become a professional, in many cases, the basics can be taught in a day or so.
Now, some would argue that such accessibility takes away from the sense of what it means to create art. On the other hand, art can mean different things to different people and, really, the more people with a desire to create, the better. With every new form of media comes further opportunity for interaction. Art involves both an emotional reaction to what has been created and an appreciation for the way in which it was created. If technology can facilitate such appreciation on a wider scale, we say sign up and download.
How has technology helped your artistic expression?