Many modern artists use high technology equipment in their works. Whereas traditionally artists used a pencil or brush to make beautiful works of art, artists in the early twenty-first century are now using sound, video or computer generated images. Digital art developed from simple patterns and shapes made using computer programs to finished works of art which can look as realistic as a watercolor or oil painting.
Modern art exhibitions often include more videos and installations than traditional painting or drawings. Even artists which use traditional techniques increasingly use modern technology such as the internet to display their works and communicate with other artists. Modern technology provides a means for artists to create works faster with more tools than ever before. I will be discussing the impact of some of these technologies in relation to the art of some modern artists. I will argue that modern technology such as the computer and video is another tool for an artist to use in their work.
Modern technology is having a huge impact on recent art. Artists today are continually experimenting with new technology in different ways, finding new ways to use old mediums and finding new mediums as well. In modern art displays such as the various Biennales held around the world, video plays a dominant role, as well as installation art and increasingly, digital art. There are even exhibitions that solely focus on digital art, such as Ars Electronica held annually in Linz, Austria. The internet is becoming used more with many contemporary artists using it to display their works with online galleries, talk to other artists and sell their works. Many artists today are involved in using digital art technology to produce websites, computer games or online art exhibitions. The conceptart.org website is one example of a site which mostly displays digital art, that has over 100,000 posts by many different people.
The impact that these technologies are having on contemporary art is sometimes hard to pin down at one time since they are moving so fast that they are constantly changing and being updated. However, while modern technology provides artists with many opportunities and ways to produce art, it still functions similar to any other artists tool of the past. Films are being produced for art galleries just as paintings were made for exhibiting by the impressionists, such as the films made by Tracey Moffat.
Tracey Moffat is inspired by images which come from television and movies to make her own films. These films show that she is not only using new technology to display art, but her ideas for the films are based on the technology itself. In one of her recent films, Artist, Moffat shows a collection of clips from movies and television programs which show how Hollywood and contemporary society depicts artists. By showing popular television shows slant on what the idea of an artist means to modern society, this reflects the view of the ordinary person, who can sometimes misunderstand contemporary art.
Tracey Moffat uses for inspiration in many of her films the movies and television programs she remembers from her childhood. Modern technology in this way is having an impact on the art produced by artists such as Moffat, who bases her ideas directly upon ideas coming from these things. In her films, she uses imagery which comes from popular culture, from television programs and movies that she has seen including from sources which are not often seen as parts of the art world, such as B-grade television programs and television advertisements.
American artist Lillian Schwartz made many experiments with computer art during her long career. Computers are being used by recent artists as tools with which to analyze and create works of art. Schwartz was one of the first artists to experiment with computer images and computer effects on art. She worked closely with scientists in the 1970s in the early stages of computer development and developed one of the first rock music videos. She also made one of the first digitized films to be shown as a work of art, her video Pixilation showing diagonal red squares and other shapes such as cones, pyramids on black on white backgrounds.
Schwartz uses computers to manipulate many other images which relate to art and art history, creating new works of art. Schwartz’s experiments with computers to manipulate images were done decades before digital art became popular in the late 1990s. She used shapes generated by a computer to make images on the computer screen, such as using trapezium shapes to create an object recognizable as a cat, as well as triangle shapes to represent a human head.
The role of computers to be used by the artist has been addressed by Schwartz. Computers can today perform many functions for the artist, from creating artworks through altering photography or by flipping shapes, changing colors, adding tones and a seemingly infinite amount of other uses. Computer artists can create interactive images, robot installations, digitalized and/or 3-dimensional images. Many of the ways which this latest technology is used to create art make art into a genre becoming close to being a videogame or a movie.
Video and computers are having a huge influence on modern art. Modern art exhibitions are increasingly incorporating the use of both video and computers, as well as other technologies. In addition, artists such as Moffat are using ideas obtained from new media such as television and Hollywood movies which are being displayed in art galleries. Schwartz uses computers to manipulate images and create new works of art. Art is continuing to change with the introduction of new technologies. Artists are effectively using these technologies in their works, and will almost certainly continue to do so in the future. Moffat’s use of film and Schwartz’s use of computers shows that these new media can and are often used in art, and are every bit as valid a medium as a paintbrush or pencil.