digital art was a trans-disciplinary field. Everyone was from a different field. And now, it's extremely professionalized. People are getting degrees in this -- in computer arts.
digital art, a ten year update.(excerpts)
I came here ten years ago and said that in order to be comprehended by a viewer, that digital art had to be interactive.
And at the time, there weren't too many people able to do digital art. I had been very lucky in getting into this stuff in the electronic arts community in Chicago, which was very innovative with analog art in the 70s.
And then later in the late 70s and early 80s, moved into developing systems based on video game hardware, which at that time was the only hardware that was at all interesting. Everybody else was waiting a couple of days for a picture. And it was also interactive and did real time sound and animation.
Now everyone understands that digital culture means interaction with everything.
The digital art that people were doing at the time was basically what I call essentialist. We were trying to grapple with what is digital technology and how do we do something that expresses the true nature of that medium.Now, they may have had to read the French theorists whose work came after the initial experimentation with computers.
Doing art -- trying to do art that was idiomatic to the computer. That could only be done on the computer. And now, we have a plethora of simulations of traditional media with lots of twists added, and kind of a reframing.
But we're far more virtualAt that time, the digital art being done was playful. It was improvisational. Explorational. In fact, this was something that was noted in an art journal article in the early 80s about having been said by video artists. Once video became lightweight video became truly professionalized in the early 80s.
than we were at that point.
Now, it's big media money.All the big publishers are moving into these areas. And everything's extremely serious. And you can't just do things in a klugy fashion because there's no better way to do them. You know, you have to be outputting to D-1 and we have to be very sophisticated or we're not going to -- we're afraid we're not gonna show up on the scanners of the art world or the media world.
There was no art world discourse at that point.There were a few books written that were kind of gee whiz books. And usually got the facts wrong. Gene Youngblood was one of the few people who really took the time to research the topic, and you know, to give everybody else who didn't credit.
It was a lot of work. Discourse has begun. In the early 90s, we started seeing some really good books with thoughtful essays. People that actually perceived what was happening.
But hey, at least you know, there's somebody tracking this stuff now.Because in the early days we were operating pretty much in a vacuum. The pictures were not pretty. They were pretty clunky. As I say to my students, I remember when pixels were this big.
Now, we have -- opulently beautiful pictures are coming at us from every direction. I'm almost sorry at this point to see computer graphics on television. The interaction was very low level. It was low level programming or even wiring.
Now we have object oriented environments. High level scripting, authoring.
At the time,
At the time, the software was do it yourself custom applications. If you wanted a paint program, you wrote one. So it had a certain kind of boot strap approach to it. Now, we have specialized and powerful applications for an incredible diversity of purposes.
At the time, there was massive incompatibility. Any system you used, you were on that planet. If you used the Zgrass (phonetic spelling) machine you were on the Zgrass planet. If you used an SGI, you were on the SGI planet. And even extended to particular pieces of software.
Now we have the age of interoperability.
At the time, digital arts appeared to be one among other discreet disciplines.
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