Artist's Statement on Computer Art

Dr. Rodney Chang
Shanghai Art Museum
September 1988

- the historic lst Digital Art exhibition in Chinese art history
- accompanying exhibition book/catalog on the artist's work
is the world's lst publication featuring one computer artist's work (1988)


        My computer art efforts and results are grounded in a Modernist education and a Post-Modernist mentality.  The computer serves as a powerful tool to structure balanced (or unbalanced) compositions of shape, line, texture and color.  When an image echoes to me the sense of being "picture perfect", it is "saved" on disk.   From that state, it can be manifested as either a completed piece of art (via the monitor in real-time, or as a photographic print), or be translated into an original painting or sculpture.  At all times, the traditions of judging other conventional media are applicable to determining the success of each computer piece.

     My paintings and sculpture now incorporate decisions decided through use of high technology.  I can now run through a multitude of alternatives with work in process, thereby giving me an expanded view of pathways that a painting can take.  Erasing/deleting is much easier in light than in paint; thus, increasing the artist's parameters of experimentation.  As one plays with the graphic functions of varied software, creative effects are discovered and built upon previous discoveries.  Pulled together with the artist's power to integrate and solidify, the sense of "art" is breathed into once lifeless and meaningless light.  An image is created that transmits to the spectator the creator's thoughts and feelings, like any other medium of artistic expression.

     I believe a new aesthetic will emerge through the pioneering efforts of artists who attempt to create and relate to the machine.   It is too powerful a tool to be merely a passing fad, or eventually discarded as just a design tool.  Like any other medium, the essence of the material has its own intrinsic aesthetic qualities with which its disciples will acquire familiarity.   With such developed sensitivity to the medium, works will elevate in cultural significance and become treasures to collect and entomb.

     The electronic-informational age is upon us.  The world is smaller and linked by mega-corporations.  Socioeconomic and political decisions are made quicker and fan out to affect those close, as well as far abroad.  Computers can become the medium that reflect this new corporate internationalism.  Movies already play upon our imagination of surreal galactic fantasies.  It is just a matter of time before all those who work with terminal workstations learn to appreciate the common graphic capabilities of their machines that know no physical or territorial boundaries.  A new "international style" ("Pixelism"?) may be on the horizon by the turn of the century.


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