April 2, 2012
HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED
When I started pioneering digital art
using personal computers in 1985, things were different.
Some of my most exciting moments as a digital artist occurred while using
the Amiga 1000 with just 1 MB of ram and the 16 colors of Deluxe Paint, the
first product of Electronic Arts. Resolution
was only 600x400 which inspired me to dub my pixilated works “Pixelism.”
Today imagery of digital cameras are 14 megabytes and above.
Memory size and complexity of graphic imagery has been vastly improved
through engineering, decreased costs and speed of screen-loading from either a
computer or the Internet.
It appears the days of creating new
(digital) art for online cyberspace as a mission to build global culture is
over. Even among the Webists, a
group of artist dedicated to this effort, new online exhibits are few and far
between. Pygoya, founder of the
group, continues to pursue this goal with energy and enthusiasm at his Truly
Virtual Web Art Museum of Lastplace.com. This
loss of interest in building inventory of online perpetual art is because of at
least three reasons. Video capacity
of the Internet, started with Utube, is now ubiquitous online.
Like still photography, the coming of cinema and film took away much of
the interest for photography – as well as for painting.
Secondly, the initial new visual arena, the Internet is less exploratory
and now more commercial and utilitarian. Instead
of going online to seek global culture, most now use the Internet as a virtual
shopping center and paperless newspaper (and in one research, for
American males, mainly as a pornographic resource). Thirdly, recent social networking sites capture much online time of the younger generations. With continuing intergration of digital devices, such as cell phones, e-pads, PCs, laptops, digital cameras, sound systems, office and household electronics, and soon television, the Internet’s role in providing a new platform for fine arts continues to diminish in overall virtual space, relevance and public interest.
Disappointingly, it appears the
advent of the Internet is not to be the savior of the traditional fine arts, in
which I also allocate the digital medium at this point in time.
In fact, the Web has accelerated the speed as well as volume of
“information” for the individual; multi-taskers work harder and harder to
keep up and not be overwhelmed with their workload and to maintain and upgrade
their enslaving devices. They have
less and less time to sit still, to “smell the roses,” and to absorb the
content of an enriched still image, as they sprint through life to keep up with
the times, now measured in nano-seconds and “4G” transmission rates.
Sadly, most have no time to “see,” or just look, anymore.
The Web has become a place inhabited by shoppers, flirters, voyeurs,
children and adolescents connecting with their friends, thieves out to steal or
commit fraud, special interest groups with their own agendas, predators, and
For myself, I still enjoy creating digital art that expresses my life. Posting the new works online continues building content for my virtual museum. By comparing works over the years, viewers can identify both the changes in my technological tools as well as my personal interests in subject matter. I am no longer dedicated simply to my high tech devices but now embrace whatever media I choose to combine to make personal statements. Besides the mouse and my digital camera, I now find it refreshing to once more feel free to “work with my hands”- as a sculptor, painter, as well as digital artist.