Saturday, October 17

Ruminations on art and tech.

The computer has not yet empowered people with artistic vision but who are challenged by technique to break out and express themselves. To thin that wall between what is imagined and what is presented.

It merely allows different forms of expression, and comes with its own set of barriers and learning curves. Perhaps this is indigenous, inexorable. But I don't think so. I think there are those:

With little artistic vision or ambition.
With moderate to great vision but who lack technique.
True masters of both.

The true masters will find a way in any culture, with any tools, in any setting. We have seen it from times primordial and now lost. The first kind of people are not to be scorned, they are who they are and shouldn't be judged.

It's the middle kind of people computers seemed to promise to liberate to some degree. If you could take away the element of manual dexterity, the knowledge of mixing pigments, maybe that rare person's vision could come through as he or she sees it internally.

Sadly, it's not turned out that way. Sure, photos are manipulated, 3D objects are created in wireframe and covered with textures and maps, music is synthesized to make sounds never before heard, even industrial design is changed by 6-axis controllers and 3D 'printers.'

But the barrier to entry is still there. The interface, the techniques of these new technologies is very challenging, and still requires lots of practice and some initial genetic ability. As I said, it could be that such things are inseparable - part and parcel of art. The beauty is in the final product, but also in the journey.

It's not made writing prose or poetry or lyrics any easier, nor can retouching tools save an uninspired photo, nor 'natural' painting tools make paintings which look natural, nor can, still, the man or woman who has a sudden vision easily turn that into something which others can experience.

Technology has added more tools, more possible outcomes, more things to practice, and perhaps made the variety of media richer. It's not as though it's killed traditional art in the least. People still work clay with their hands for the feeling of it, and smelt swords, and arrange words and speak before crowds.

I guess the frustration is (and may always be, but I don't think so), that unless you take up the noble but distinct art of technique and/or technical knowledge, an intuitive transfer of what you see or hear or feel in your head and heart still cannot be easily made flesh, so to speak.

I know I struggle with a lack of technique in drawing, painting, photography, sculpting, making music, singing, conveying ineffable feelings through verbal imagery, and crafting stories, and it's frustrating because there is so much there, awaiting only simple, intuitive UIs and tools to allow me to release them in all their horror and heavenly beauty.


Hans said...

why do you say you lack the things that you are obviously good at? I agree in general - work with your hands from your heart. Fine art, fine craftsmanship will always be desired over anything made in an assembly line or by a machine.

Metamatician said...

I guess I'm not confident... I don't really have confidence in my technique, never having taken lesson or formal training like many have. Thank you though.

I agree with your statement about fine art vs manufactured art, at least in the foreseeable future. Maybe oneday computers will even be more artistic and spiritual than us! But I'll believe it when it happens.

Raelha said...

I can relate what you said most to phtography, which is something you know I enjoy. Even with a digital camera it´s often impossible to capture an image exactly as I want it, or see it in my head. In fact, using a digital camera may make this harder. I still need to learn the techniques involved in taking truly good photos,something I´m too lazy/have trouble finding the time to do.

Although while I agree that technique is important, too much can kill the passion of a piece. You also need emotion, your ´heart´ as much as, more even, than your head.

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