MAY 23, 2003
PYGOYA EMAIL TO EUROPEAN CYBERARTIST COLLEAGUE

 

YES IT HURTS, AND NO FAIR!

(OR AN ARTIST'S REBUTTAL TO A
CRITIC'S POSTULATIONS)

 

     BULK MEMBER EMAIL FROM DASH OR THE "DIGITAL ART SOCIETY OF HAWAII", ABOUT AN ARTICLE "FINALLY IN SOME NEWS PAPER"  - DAMPEN MY DAY A BIT  - NO END OF HURT FROM ARTSY DAGGER STABS FROM WITHIN MY OWN HOME PLACE.  WRITTEN BY MARCIA MORSE, RETIRED NEWSPAPER CRITIC BACK THEN WHEN SHE WAS NOT COVERING OR ACTIVELY PERSECUTING DIGITAL ART IN THE 80S.  I DID 'EARLY WORKS' SO HAWAII IS AMONG THE FIRST TO SPAWN CYBERART FOR INTERNATIONAL CYBERCULTURE.  VISUALIZE MORE TOURISTS COMING HERE TO EXPERIENCE FIRST HAND THEIR PERSONIFIED ONLINE CYBERARTS.  IMAGINE IF THESE WHERE NOT CAST AWAY AS "NO DISTINCTION" BUT CHERISHED ARTIFACTS.

    HELLO, THESE ARE HISTORICAL FIRST GENERATION DIGITAL WORKS THAT REALLY SHOULD BE IN A LOCAL MUSEUM PROMOTING HAWAII'S GLOBALLY RECOGNIZED  CYBERART  LEADERSHIP (EXCEPT HERE, WHERE SUCH ARTIFACTS ARE PUT DOWN AS "NO DISTINCTION"). AM I  DISAPPOINTED?  WELL, IMAGINE IF YOU WERE THE POOR SLOB DEDICATED TO A LIFE MISSION IN ART  NO MATTER WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES.

     I WROTE AN EDITORIAL THAT WAS ACCEPTED INTO HER NEWSPAPER'S EDITORIAL SECTION.  A FEW MONTHS LATER SHE NO LONGER WAS  THEIR CRITIC.  I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED BUT SOMETIMES I PONDER.

 
     NOW NOTE THIS ARTICLE, WHICH I HAVE LOGGED INTO THE ONLINE  LIVING GLOBAL HISTORY OF DIGITAL ART, TIMELINE MAY 22, 2003.  SHE  TAKES THE OPPORTUNITY  TO GET ONE MORE YAB AT ME & OTHER OLD-TIMERS IN THE MEDIUM.
 
     "IT HAS TO BE SAID EARLY DIGITAL WORK (READ:RODNEY CHANG-INNUNDATING LOCAL DIGI-SHOWS, PRESIDENT OF HCAS OR "HAWAII COMPUTER ART SOCIETY, MUCH COVERAGE ON TV AS DANCING DISCO DENTIST) WERE WORKS OF NO DISTINCTION."  WHEN I READ THAT TODAY AS A SELF-CONGRATULATORY COPY GOING AROUND DASH EMAIL, I FELT LIKE THE INTENDED TARGET. I WAS INDEED HIT, JUST EMOTIONALLY CRUSHED. WELL, AS I WAS STARTLED INTO FEELINGS OF WORTHLESSNESS AND DEFENSELESSNESS, I  FELT AWASH  IN DESPAIR, THINKING, "GEE, THERE GOES 15 YEARS OF EFFORT, WRITTEN OFF IN ONE PUBLIC SENTENCE VERDICT,  BY A SO CALLED ART AUTHORITY." 

      THERE NEEDS TO BE SOME SORT OF DEFENSE AGAINST SUCH CREATIVE ABUSE BY THOSE IN POWER TO HAVE THOUGHTS VISIBLE AND TAKEN SERIOUSLY, NOR CHALLENGED, AS THE GOSPEL TRUTH BY A PUBLIC READERSHIP IN GENERAL LACKING IN ART EDUCATION - OR SEE ANY VALUE IN THE LATTER. MOST WON'T REALIZE OR CARE THAT THIS IS MERELY ONE SKEWED VIEW ABOUT SOMETHING SHE PERSONALLY DISLIKES.  AS AN ARTIST HERSELF SHE DOESN'T WORK WITH COMPUTERS, DOES SHE?

 
     THE ARTICLE CONVEYS TO ME THAT SHE IS RELIEVED BY HER OBSERVATION OF PICTURES BY CURRENT DIGITAL ARTISTS THAT ARE  FALLING IN LINE WITH THE OTHER MEDIA ARTISTS, KNEEING TO JURY HIGHPREISTS  DECIDING WHO IS SANCTIFIED AS BONAFIDE AND THOSE WHO WILL REMAIN STARVING ARTISTS, ALL ACCORDING TO THE OFFICIAL DECREE OF FINE ART QUALIFICATIONS PREMISED UPON PRECEDING TRADITIONAL MEDIA AND THEIR APPROACHES.

      DOMINATING THE WORKS OF THIS SHOW ARE PHOTOGRAPHS SCANNED AND CONSEQUENTLY SOFTWARE MANIPULATED, BECOMING.ALMOST MERE GENERIC "MIXED MEDIA."  NOW WITH  ASSISTANCE OF MORE POWERFUL DIGITAL TOOLS, BLENDING AND INTEGRATING FURTHER WITH OTHER MEDIA, SECURES ANOTHER STEP TOWARDS THE FORSAKING ITS OWN INTRINSIC LOOK, PROGRESSIVELY DISAPPEARING INTO A MIXED MEDIA, MULTI-MEDIA HOMOGENITY. 

     PRESENT WORKS  DISTANT THEMSELVES, IRONICALLY, THROUGH TODAY'S POWERFUL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE, FROM THE ASSOCIATION AS 'DIGITAL ART,' CLOAKING THEIR TRUE TECH LINEAGE AS OTHER-MEDIA MAKEOVERS, THROUGH COSMETIC  DIGITAL TOOLS. SLOWLY, WE DIGITAL ARTISTS ARE BEING TAMED INTO ARTISTIC CONFORMITY, WITH OUR DIGITAL VISIONS MUTATED TO SNAZZY MULTI-MEDIA BUT DEVOID OF THE DIGITAL SPIRIT. SLOWLY, WE LOSE OUR IDENTIFY, OUR CYBERSOULS AND BECOME  INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM  OTHER KINDS OF  "REGULAR ARTISTS."

 
     THIS CRITIC WILL NEVER CARE, FEEL THE EXCITEMENT I HAD FOLLOWING THE CALLING TO EXPERIMENT, WITH PASSION,  MANIPULATION OF NOT THE PHOTOGRAPH,  BUT THE PIXEL ITSELF. IT WAS A CHALLENGE  TO TAME IT, TO MAKE IT SERVE AS ELECTRONIC ART BUILDING BLOCKS WHILE COPING WITH CRITICISM OF BAD QUALITY  LOW RESOLUTION PRINTS OR THE NEVER ENDING CONTROVERSY TO COLLECT OR NOT COLLECT THIS COMPUTER DERIVED ART. IT IS LIKE BEING RELENTLESSLY CAUGHT IN THE CROSS CURRENTS OF AN ART WORLD IN TRANSITION, POWERED BY ADVANCES  THAT BESEECH THE THREATENED AS WELL AS THE  DEVELOPING POWERS.  THERE IS THIS CONSTANT STRUGGLE OVER ART VALUATIONS.

      HOW WONDERFUL IT WAS TO WORK WITH SIMPLE STARTUP SOFTWARE - MADE TO BE AS SIMPLE AS IT WAS BECAUSE IT HAS TO WORK WITH A BOX OF ONLY 1 MEGABYTE PROCESSING POWER! WORKING LATE AT NIGHT ON THE COMPUTER YET WEB LINKED,  EKING OUT FINE ART EFFECTS FROM SUCH SIMPLE TOOLS, WITH EACH UPGRADE VERSION ADDING ADDITIONAL EFFECTS THAT I COULD ORCHESTRATE AS AN ARTIST.  AND ONE WITH A WORKING AWARENESS BACK THEN THAT SOMEDAY,  ANYBODY'S WORK ON THE BOX WOULD LOOK MORE POLISHED WITH  MILLION OF COLORS CAPABILITY AND NEW SPECIAL EFFECTS TO MASK UNINSPIRED GRAPHICS AS FINE ART.

     FOR ME IT WAS THE CHALLENGE OF VISUALIZING NOVEL EFFECTS (SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION OF PIXELS ) FOR WHICH THE PROGRAMMERS OF THE SOFTWARE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO FIND AS DERIVATIVES OF  THEIR ALGORITHMS.  IT HAS BEEN VERY EXCITING PLAYING WITH SOFTWARE AS I DEVELOPED IN SENSITIVITY BY TIME WORKING IN THE MEDIUM, AND EXPERIMENTING WITH NEW SOFTWARE OVER DECADES.  

     SHE DOES NOT COMPREHEND THAT THE HOTBED OF A STARTUP OPPORTUNITY OF AN EMERGING NEW ART MEDIUM IS NOW GONE FOREVER AS PRESENT TECH TOOLS CANNOT  REPLICATE PAST PRIMITIVE DIGITAL ART, NOW EXTINCT ALONG WITH THE HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE THAT PARENTED IT ALONG WITH THE USER- ARTIST.  THE ROUGH EDGY LOOK OF PAST DIGITAL PROGRAMMING  HAS BEEN SOLVED AND CLEANED AWAY.   I FEEL PRIVILEGED TO HAVE LIVED AND WORKED IN THAT INITIAL PC DIGITAL ERA, TAKING UP AN OAR TO HELP STEER TOWARDS  TOMORROW'S TECHNOLOGY ART TOOLS AND ITS MANIFESTED IMAGERY, WHEN SHE DID NOT, BUT STUCK TO HER MIXED MEDIA PAPER CRAFT. 

     SHE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND, EXPERIENCE, AS CRITIC, LIKE MOST OF THEM, THE DIGITAL HEART AND SOUL OF SUCH IMAGERY.  THE ULTIMATE AESTHETIC SATISFACTION IS APPRECIATION OF THE THOUGHT PROCESSES OF THE DIGITAL ARTIST AS HE WRESTLES PAST TOOL LIMITATIONS TO ACHIEVE THE EFFECTS HE DESIRES TO BE SHARED IN HIS WORKS.   ONE HAS TO ADAPT HIS ARTISTIC CREATIVITY FOR THE DIGITAL MEDIUM.  LIKE ANY OTHER TYPE OF ARTIST, THE CYBERARTIST STRIVES TO EXPAND THE VIEWER'S VISUAL EXERIENCE AND REALITY.

       IT IS AN INJUSTICE TO TRANSLATE DIGITAL AESTHETIC WORTH USING A DIFFERENT INDEX OF VALUE (OTHER MEDIA).  SHE IS NOT A DIGITAL ARTIST SO HAS NO AUTHORITY TO COMMENT AS IF PRACTICING OUR TRADE.  AS SHE WRITES OFF DECADES OF ARTWORK BY PIONEERS IN  HCAS AND ITS EXHIBITION OFFERINGS AS OF "NO DISTINCTION," THEREFORE OF NO MERIT. THIS IS TOTAL UNCALLED FOR PREJUDICE AND REJECTION OF THOSE WHO HAVE HELP SET THE BAR THAT TODAY'S DISPLAYING ARTIST HAVE INHERITED AND ASCEND FROM.. IN MY VIEW A STATE, WHO'S WELFARE IS DEPENDENT ON VISITORS, IS MISSING ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL  OPPORTUNITY BY NOT ESTABLISHING THE DENIED  LOCAL  'HISTORY' OF THE DIGITAL ART  MEDIUM. INSTEAD OF CRUCIFYING IT, WE SHOULD BE GLORIFYING IT!

      THERE SHOULD BE A RULE WHEREBY SOMEONE WHO GAINS THE REPUTATION AS A PUBLIC CRITIC  BE RESTRAINED FROM WRITING ABOUT A SUB-FIELD WITHOUT NECESSARY EXPERTISE AND JUDGMENT POSSIBLY MUDDLED BY TRADITIONAL, EVEN  CONFLICTING AESTHETIC VALUES.

      IN FACT, INSTEAD OF ATTEMPTING TO GAIN ACCEPTANCE, BE "SIGNIFICANT" WORK, BLEND IN SO IT CAN COMPETE WITH OTHER MEDIA FOR RESPECT (AND THEREBY DOLLARS), THE TRUTH IS DIGITAL ART IS NOW STILL YET IN A LEAGUE OF ITS OWN. SADLY WE ARE MISUNDERSTOOD AS INVADERS OF THE CLASSICS, WHEREAS WE MERELY SEEK EQUALITY THROUGH INCLUSION.  MAYBE THERE IS THIS INSTINCTUAL SENSE THAT IT IS A MATTER OF TIME WHEN IT WILL BE THE MAJOR LEAGUE AND THE OTHER MEDIA THE MINORS - OR SUPPORTING CAST, A REVERSAL OF THE ROLES OF TODAY.

 
     PITY THE ARTISTS  WHO COP OUT FOR THE SAKE OF ACCEPTANCE AS PERCEIVED FINE ART ARTISTS.  IF THEY DON'T FOLLOW THEIR OWN DESTINY THEY ARE DOOMED TO MEDIOCRITY AND ANONYMOUSNESS.  INDEED, CORRECTLY LABELED AS MAKERS OF WORKS OF "NO DISTINCTION,"  NO MATTER WHAT THE MEDIUM.