In one of our earlier lectures, we were asked to make out a couple of key words, to describe what digital art is to us. I hurriedly scribbled down without a second thought: Digital tools and Ctrl+Z.
Instinctively I thought about digital tools. Digital tools make digital art, at least that seemed like a logical starting point for defining it to me. If there wasn’t an electronic device involved in the making at any point, then one could not consider it digital art, right?
The undo button also known as Ctrl+Z in some systems, presents a new levels of complexities, in contrast to traditional art. While creating digital art, there is often an infinity of redo’s available. For instance while writing this very sentence, I can easily edit it, or remove it altogether, without there ever being a trace of its existence. Undoubtedly it is a very helpful and useful tool, and very cost effective. However what does this really mean for art? Imagine a singer who only can hit the right notes 10% of the time, given enough tries the singer can produce a masterful vocal performance, with the help of technology. Even though 90% of the time, the singer were singing out of tune. What does this mean for the audience and other singers? Does this only give someone who previously couldn’t express themselves in this way an opportunity, or does it change our expectations to what an artist is?
I like the way “traditional” art challenges us to handle mistakes by training and mastering a skill, and the way these mistakes gives our creations history and character. It forces us to concentrate and be skillful, as well as one constantly evaluate if the errors are too big, or if they can be fixed by adding another layer of paint, or by changing the direction of your artwork to your favor. Which in turn might result in a creation differing from what you at first was anticipating.
I reckon working with digital media in order to create art, or in creating anything for that matter, can be tiresome. If you strive for perfection (or just something that you feel is good enough to share, or put your name on), one might get stuck in a redo loop, where one constantly tries to do better. The cost of retrying is so low, that something else has to define if something is “good enough”. Finding myself in this spot, unable to hit that publish button, because I believe that I could still improve this blog post. Let’s say I was writing on paper, starting over, and re-editing would seem too costly and it would be easier to draw the line and say “it’s good enough”.
This redo loop is probably one of the reasons I love to doodle and sketching, with a pen. No undo’s and constant progress, working with the errors you make, in order to make the best of it, while your thoughts wander off. Adding to the drawing, and dynamically explore where the drawing takes you, till you’re left with something.
Some of my doodles made while contemplating this post:
To me imperfections in something handmade has some kind of charm, and it brings character to the work. However I still think digital art can hold the same type of qualities, whether it is some kind of clean and perfect Photoshop creation which leaves us in awe of its beauty, or some kind of homely pixel-art. The tools and mediums artists use in order to create and express has been in constant evolution. Entering the era of the computer and artificial intelligence we might become more picky of how we choose to define art. But as long as we strive to be creative, more art forms will emerge as technology progresses.
I also wanted to share some of the more interesting, simple and yet creative things I’ve seen this week:
One of the more relevant videos for our #NetNarr course in my opinion. Can such a poem be considered art?
I think theblode1337 said it best:
What makes it art?
Is it the way it is read, the emotional music, the way it was edited, the few lines the creator(Sorrow TV) has written in order to conduct(in lack of a better term) the way the poem unfolds? Or the fact that the Google suggestions are a compilation of the most searched terms, and has a large number of co-writers who can relate to it?