Here we are in the bottom of the ninth of the 20th century, with the top of the first of 2000 up to bat. Let me for a moment pitch a glimpse of the future.
We as a global civilization embark into a wonderous world of new high technology, unimaginable even to us living with the products and services already provided by existing technology. Airplanes, automobiles, satellites, telephones, television, computers, cell phones and now the Internet are only the preparation for what our world will be like in the next millennium. It is great to be a child today and have a lifetime to reap the benefits of past generations' ingenuity in making our lives more productive, healthy and enjoyable.
Already those that can afford it can already access the Internet in their palm, without any encumbering wiring. The global networking of the Internet is invading our television sets. We will also soon be able to dial up a Web site on your telephone, or talk to others as if on the telephone through the Internet. The first decade of the second millennium will see accelerated integration of technologies packaged into multi-purpose gadetry. The best of older technology will be bundled with new invented applications while former products and services may be laid to rest as their usefulness are rendered obsolete by new strategies that combine such functions with next generation technology.
What does all this mean for digital art? I foresee the day when as consumers we can "hang" electronic imagery on our walls! We can go out to the department store and purchase affordable "frames," derivations evolved from flat screen computer monitor technology. Such "imagers" would have the minimum memory necessary to merely display graphic files from inserted disks or CDs, thereby keeping price down. The "imager" shall also be able to be project digitized imagery to the opposing wall and at whatever size best serves interior design preferences. Then there can be the ultra cool option of a Minimalist "invisible frame." The frame is receded into the wall, and when off, the viewing surfaces convincingly matches the surrounding wall. No more distracting picture framing!
Maybe by then we won't even need disks and CDs. Imagine imagery by favorite artists that can be accessed through suscription via satellites that transmit to such intelligent picture frames, ever ready to receive such wireless visual data. Upon seeing such "on approval," suscribers can click "Save" what they like, inserting work into the personal "collection" via an automatic billing system of the networked art marketing enterprise. Actual "brick and mortar" paintings and framed posters and prints will have to compete for this consumer wall space. The present commercial art market will be thrown into a state of flux. Possibly after this transitory period, the only paintings left hundreds of years from now will be those preserved in museums. By then everything in the household may be electronic. Except our art? I don't think so!
Think about the diversity of evolving display possibilities for fine art products of the future society. Solar panels hung on external residential walls provide free power to display inside electronic imagery. Incoming visual data turns on signal sensitive frames automatically. Images change over time, set by the user's preferred rate of change. Include speakers in the frame so sound can enhance a multi-media experience in such fine arts. Wake up to sounds and images from an adapted clock-in-a-frame. On and on, creative solutions to enjoying art digitally is endless. After we arrive at this juncture, we will all laugh at the near-sightedness of much of the art world of today who resist the acceptance of digital art as fine art. Then there is the prohesized holographic 3-D sculptural imagery that can add virtual fantasy as needed in the living room through popular pricing. Realization then too will be that this digitally based baseless (no pedestal needed) form is "sculpture," or simply art.
Eventually the Internet won't be constrasted as a dichotomy with the physical world as it is today.It will be a part of our unifed experience of living, the functions it serves seamlessly mediated into our other conveniences of modern life. The world as we know it, especially in reference to our fine art and cultural heritage, will always remain within our collectic memory and cultural depositories, such as the museums. But today's reality always becomes tomorrow's history and we have no choice but to participate in man's journey, destined towards new future realms of existence. This includes art.