Mona Lisa Overdrive: Art Collides With Digital Technology
They say art is a reflection of society, and if today’s tendency to resort to digital solutions is any indication, then art as we know it is bringing its disruptive nature to the digital world. It wouldn’t be surprising to see tech-related artwork, from Instagram pieces to a collage of selfies, in art exhibitions in coming months.
Today, artists and art exhibits are trying to push the envelope by creating interactive art pieces using digital media. Digital art started way back in the 1980s when computer engineers used created a paint program using available technology. Known as AARON, it was a pioneering AI platform that’s still maintained today and is used by Harold Cohen, another tech pioneer in the field of digital art.
People today have become so dependent on their computers and mobile devices that they use tech for almost everything, as a work companion, an organization tool, and even a source of entertainment. It’s important, therefore, to meet your audience where art melds with technology, a discipline called digital art.
The rhythm of technology.
As streaming services make music more accessible to the world, technology is helping the music industry stage a comeback despite a steady decline in CD sales through recent years. As CD’s go the way of the vinyl, on-demand streaming continues to grow with the help of users who subscribe to paid-for music-streaming services. Such growth has opened opportunities for up-and-coming artists and even established ones, with many subscribers opting for older, more familiar songs.
This trend is thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices. Their rise in number and easier accessibility has pushed their prices down, empowering more people in the world to own a mobile device, download streaming service apps, and carry their music everywhere. Most streaming services also have a feature that “pushes” recommended artists according to one’s tastes, more specifically one’s listening history, creating a new avenue for discovery.
Video has been part of entertainment for many years, ever since the first television was invented almost a century ago. What started as an analog signal, however, has become a medium to create paintings in motion that capture moments in the world we live in. If we imagined we were in another world while watching videos in the past, the elimination of many technological barriers today has made this a more tangible reality.
In Japan, the MORI Building Digital Art Museum is making a push towards digital art through an all-digital museum with none of the usual paintings and sculptures. In this art exhibit, you don’t gawk at art, you step into it. Installations are triggered by motion sensors and projected on the walls, floor, and all over the 100,000-square-foot space. The experience is not limited to visual delights however, as each area is bathed in music and ambient sounds that thematically match the kaleidoscopic digital art displays.
At the Whitney Museum of American Art, a “video sculpture” is displayed as a commentary on cultural and racial identity and as an interactive data visualization of how Twitter shapes reality television. This is a more direct use of video as digital art, an interactive representation of what’s currently taking place in society.
Digital art and the way we see.
Compared to former times, the creative process has undergone a drastic change, one as drastic as the progress of technology and the development of digital media. Our computerized, always-connected world of today has made art widely available and easily accessible to anyone with a mobile device connected to the internet.
Artists are finding ways to further develop traditional techniques by taking advantage of available digital technologies. In a way, they are changing the way they view the world; by integrating art and technology, they constantly reshape their understanding of their surroundings and the way they reinterpret it for others to experience.
As Rob Anders, CEO at Niio Art, states, “Digital art will be the most important medium of our generation, the one that will reach and inspire the broadest possible audience -- a positive alternative to all the digital noise around us."