Digital art Digital art

Digital art

When technology is the protagonist.
                                                        

- + Text size
Print

Art and New Technologies: so close, so far

The last few decades have witnessed the establishment of a firmer link between art and technology, two merely contingent fields until the recent development of the World Wide Web and the subsequent digitalisation of our day-to-day lives.

Technology has provided artists with endless resources, not simply opening up new avenues for artistic expression, but offering innovative ways to merge content with its form to create wholly new artistic languages.

Indeed, ‘digital art’ is a blanket term that refers both to the ‘traditional’ creative process, where digital tools merely provide a novel support medium for the artwork, and to the new production mode currently explored by artists, who incorporate such tools into their creative process, aiming for a perfect fusion between their message and its vessel. Their art can be extracted from its physical location: there is no need for the exhibition space to mediate the interaction between the artwork and its punters. The work of art and its vessel have become one, inseparable parts of the same whole.

Thanks to the new devices, a product can now achieve a truly widespread reach: the collective dimension of the exhibition room is exploded into our very hands, reaching us in a fragmentary, private form, that can be experienced many times over.

The digital and electronic art revolution – also known as ‘New Media Art’ – has deeply altered the production model of the artwork, for both artists and punters, introducing new poetics, aesthetics and relational modes. Art can’t help but reflect the culture it stems out of. The new technological tools have radically transformed the notion of ‘artwork’, and the meaning of art itself.

Chiara Canali, Art Curator

Digital art and the Internet: frenemies

Art has landed on the web in an attempt to understand and reinterpret the events of the current world: Paolo Cirio, one of the most celebrated new media artists in Italy, combines digital culture, computer programming and political activism to process content and produce new expressive meaning.

Cirio draws on data and information available on the Internet to generate performative artwork that poses questions such as, what kind of power can be accessed through data acquisition? Do we have any power ourselves, when operating within a system whose internal dynamics often subconsciously escape us?

Open access, privacy, piracy, identity theft are all hot topics on the net and represent entry points into a debate upon the controversial aspects of our contemporary world, in which straightforward shared boundaries are still to be agreed upon.

Cirio’s recent artwork features a mass-upload of thousands of ‘stolen’ Facebook profiles onto a fake dating website, recombined according to a face-recognition software (Face to Facebook), and the obfuscation of 15 million U.S. mug-shots, illegally published online, to highlight the lack of security surrounding those awaiting a conviction trial (Obscurity). His work takes place on the Internet, but requires specific skills, such as software design and programming, or the ability to intervene upon existing IT systems.

Near-future landscapes

Art experimentation makes use of enabling technologies, entering into a symbiotic and potentially timeless relationship with science.

Programming culture can make daring ideas a reality, and conceal the workings of their illusion behind sleek ITC solutions: creative coding and 3D modelling are evolving to promote further dissemination of programming tools and software specifically engineered to allow authors to autonomously develop their poetics.

The academic world is catching up, too, training artist and professionals to think and produce digitally.

Italian art schools – such as the Accademia di Belle Arti in Brera, Naples and Venice, among others – have launched new degree options aimed at teaching students to proficiently handle innovation, in order to be able to dialogue with all the components of an evolving market, such as dealers, curators, art bodies and authorities and digital publishers.

Computational and abstract thinking, rationality and imagination:  new tendencies that enlist the artist to concoct the perfect fusion between reason and feeling.