Digital Aesthetic v.2- Giordan on Graphics- | WebReference

Digital Aesthetic v.2- Giordan on Graphics-


The Digital Aesthetic v.2

In the last Digital aesthetic I looked at digital art in the context of the technical innovations of the last 150 years. The idea was to consider how past innovations (such as photography) had impacted the art scene of their day. I pick up here trying to differentiate what makes the computer unique as an art-making tool, which should give us some clues of how it could impact the art that it makes....Send me your ideas, let me know what you think......


The Digital Art Process

Unfortunately, the computer's capabilities are simply considered from a business perspective. The business world is concerned with how computers help them communicate, with the goal being to convey information in as straightforward and linear way as possible. Show a graph, do a spreadsheet, add a photo of our founder to the newsletter, these are the ways businesses use computers. Underlying all of this functionality is the way the computer processes the same piece of information in different ways. The business world is content to stop here, applauding the computer's ability to integrate diverse media into letters and proposals. The reason for this is that the business world seeks to communicate in a linear fashion, conveying information in a straightforward analytical sense. The computer simply allows them to present the same data in different forms, enhancing their straightforward message.

The digital artist must not fall into the same pattern. He must realize that art is not presented using linear logic, but instead that the artist often develops his message using circular logic that can be metaphorical, intuitive, or irrational. Because of this, the digital artist must use technology to explore new ways of combining diverse ideas into a single work. The computer allows for an intuitive exploration, and is perfectly suited to the circular development of ideas that is so important to the artmaking process. Artists will not succeed if they merely fill out a singular thought or message using sound, images, or text. They must push beyond this capability and realize that the true power of digital technology is in how it empowers the artist to freely explore a concept without the encumbrances of traditional media.

One such encumbrance is the actual time that it takes to develop simultaneous drawing or paintings. This time delay often results in a lack of cohesion, where the artist finds it hard to retain his original intentions as additional thoughts or ideas come to him while he is working. With traditional mediums, the artist is not able to work fast enough to keep up with the various and often divergent ideas he develops while in a creative mode. In addition, because the act of drawing or painting is so time consuming, there may be breaks of hours or days between works, making it difficult to carry a feeling or approach over from one drawing to the next. The computer's ability to facilitate intuitive exploration is tied directly to how it allows the artist to overcome these kind of time constraints.

Another encumbrance artists face is the underdevelopment of technique, or an over emphasis on it. With a few notable exceptions, the traditional artist's ability to create art has only been as effective as his craft or technique has allowed. If he couldn't draw realistically, capture likeness, or handle paint, his work had little chance of being considered successful. Even in abstraction the artist has to show a mastery of his medium in order to convince the viewer that the work was a product of his intentions rather than a "happy accident". Therefore, it has been the role of technique to show that the artist is articulate, and that we should consider what he has to say. Once technique has given him the floor, the artist is then expected to engage us in some way, and it is the content of the work that does the engaging.

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Created: Nov 1, 1998
Revised: Nov. 1, 1998