Roz - great manifesto - thinking about this phrase:
A new calling for today’s artist: Image-makers should be where wordsmiths were in the time of Shakespeare, but we have to take the reins and go for it. It is time to create a new visual vocabulary and dimension in art for understanding the information age we live in.
What effect does the "industry" driven use of software have on our visual vocabulary? Many of the artists on this site have found a way to use existing software to create new and amazing imagery. But we are still plagued by notions of singular object, of visuals as either documentary (photography) or fanciful illustration.
How do we communicate with our public that we are doing something rooted in previous art-making, but reaching beyond?
Pigments were originally ground by hand, mixed with linseed oil, and applied. Then Grumbacher and the rest packaged these in tubes... that didn't denigrate art, did it? It led to more ease of use by the artist, more individual nuance... I would say the same applies to Photoshop. I can do a lot more today with 16 million colors than I could with 4 colors in 1985 but I would argue even at that that a work by me then would be very distinguishable. I am so tired of people asking me if I use Photoshop. It's like asking someone if they use Alizarin Crimson. It's what I do and you do with this new palette that is the question. But to the singular object... I think we might revisit this as a defining moment if we consider the new visual vocabulary as one image loaded with millions of others... and as for relating to the past, it's collage revisited but also radically remade using the medium that defines out time. (also making it relevant... now)
Artists in the 21st century are able to create encompassing experiences in ways they have not been able to in the past. Of course, seeing a painting or a photograph, hearing music or spoken words, dancing etc. are all experiences, but today, because of the shear malleability of bits and bytes, the artist can surround a person, can build a whole world, one that may even be indistinguishable from everyday reality. Multiple senses, incredible ways to tweak emotions, to really connect with the experiencer... the "experient" ...
Where does one draw the line (so to speak) then between living and art? Is it even possible any more? This is the resulting evolution I see as the natural convergence of digital means of creating art with traditional approaches. Not limited to a canvass, we can entice a visitor to go inside the worlds in our heads, for which the canvass has always been but a window.
I find my own work has evolved into creating experiences, and that is the way I must think of my output now, whether a lovingly crafted digital image I show on paper or on a screen, or a full virtual world I can wrap around a person by using a full sensory palette.
hmm... drawing a line between life and art -- does it matter in pursuit of understanding the time we live in? I did say to a friend recently in discussing the digital age that at some point in the distant future we'll all just be a bunch of pods out there in space (bodyless.. I mean who will need it? It's just something we take for a walk.) Might you add an image of your work? I think this will make this discourse more lively. well... trying to add an image here but not sure if it worked.
An image is worth a thousand images. As images become increasingly less rarefied due to the digital explosion (much like words became democratized at the time of the Gutenberg Press), the time is ripe for artists to use their imagination and intellect to harness this visual proliferation, shaping a new visual vocabulary and dimension for exploration.
The paintbrush re-ascends the throne. We are on the cusp of a golden age of painting as we load our new brush with all media. Much like the word became a necessary and valued construct to the novel, the photo becomes a key building block in the new primacy of information painting. This exponential leap forces us to rethink the picture and its inherent makeup (components). The photograph changed the painter’s role as a visual recorder of the universe but never say never... as the digital age now allows the painter to take control and asserts that the photograph, while important, is just one more component she/he loads on the digital brush. The old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is now “A picture is worth a thousand pictures.” (and words, videos, etc.) Today’s digital brush is loaded not with Alizarin Crimson but with all media.
A new calling for today’s artist: Image-makers should be where wordsmiths were in the time of Shakespeare, but we have to take the reins and go for it. It is time to create a new visual vocabulary and dimension in art for understanding the information age we live in. Artists today have an opportunity to create beauty that brings sense to the world - a call to make complex things comprehensible and accessible; in the process making a radical break with the current concept of "avant-garde."
The new cave wall as ephemeral screen: The new canvas of the 21st century has no physicality and yet has an inexhaustible capacity to hold thousands of layers and bytes of visual data... a new universe for science and the human imagination to coalese in a visual explosion and intimacy that may go even beyond the senses in its immediacy and touchless touch. (Something Marshall McLuhen spoke about as regards television, "We don't just watch television, we get in touch with it. )
Continuing this important thread of discussion, I would like to ask: If we are indeed creating a new visual vocabulary, then does the fundamental manner in which we use this vocabulary require new approaches, implementations, and means of expression? (Poems, narratives, metaphors, songs, filmic expressions, etc.)
How much does the overlay/veneer of specific cultures affect that vocabulary (think the church's overwhelming influence of the images of the middle ages)? Do we see this today? What are some examples?
Are we more ecumenical in today's visual world (how could this not be true in our "global village") and if so what does that mean for the development of expressive means with our visual vocabulary? For example, can we mix cultural metaphors and still be understood?
This manifesto raises lots of questions (like these and Cindy's below) and I hope we continue to ask, and perhaps even try to answer, some of them.
To foster year-round engagement and dialogue within the digital, electronic, computational and media arts. Facilitate dynamic scholarship and creative programming within the ACM SIGGRAPH organization. Promote collaboration between artists and the larger computer graphics and interactive techniques community.
ACM SIGGRAPH Digital Arts Community Committee:
Victoria Szabo, Chair
Jim Demmers, Sue Gollifer, Kathy Rae Huffman, John Hyatt, Bonnie Mitchell, Hye Yeon Nam, Derick Ostrenko, Jan Searleman, Ruth West.