We can all name a handful of our favorite artists, or at least a few who are world renowned; Rembrandt, Escher, Rodin, Yves Klein, Banksy. With respect to technique and expertise, experiencing these works of art – standing in front of them, capturing the exquisite texture and compositions – are a wonder to behold. Now imagine for a moment, you are apart of the art. Yves Klein’s ultramarine blue silhouettes surround you as you move through the four-dimensional exhibition. Next, you walk through a series of structures down a corridor and onto a terrace. Above and below there is no floor and no ceiling as M.C. Escher’s visual illusions come to life. Through art, new worlds are born within our minds, and so too, within our physical world. Bridging the gap between art and physical reality, digital art landscapes are quickly evolving.
“Digital art and new media art are at the crossroads of art, science, technology and emotions.”
The first notions of digital art have been attributed to ‘Oscillon 40’, dating from 1952. The artist, Ben Laposky, used an oscilloscope to manipulate electronic waves that appeared on a small fluorescent screen. In the 1960’s Bell labs created bitmap film making, and began large-scale photo conversions. Then in the 1970’s, Paul Brown, a student of Slade School of Art, University of London, began creating computer generated drawings. It was artist, Andy Warhol who created popular digital art using a Commodore Amiga operating system at the Lincoln Center, New York in 1985. Using the ProPaint graphics program, Warhol digitized a monochrome image of Blondie punk queen, Debbie Harry. Digital art, or ‘pop art’ was born.
Digital domain is expanding our capacity to create. Now, some thirty years after the birth of digital art, global exhibitions are showcasing the interactive possibilities. At this years Biennale’s, ICA’s, Basel’s, and Louvre exhibitions, digital art is on everyone’s lips. Making their rounds to every continent, teamLab offers perspective on the amalgamation of art, communication, and user experience in a digitized world. TeamLab appeared at this years Art Dubai. Standing in front of teamLab’s Four Seasons, 1,000 Years, Terraced Rice Fields, I watched as the alternate reality world played out. My mind wandered to memories of ant farms and shrimp aquaponics. Similarly, the primitive little men and women on the screen went about their works, tending to their rice crops. As day turns into night, some cook diner while others drink wine and stumble across the rice fields. The teamLab representative assured me that no character or day are the same – ever. At least not for the next 1,000 years.
Witnessing brilliant and boundary pushing art, we are inspired to solve simple and complex problems, and to broaden our experiences. Even if uncomfortable at times, transcending boundaries intelligently and with an ethos of inclusion is also transcending the stereotypes and prejudices of humanity.
A History of Computer Art. Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2016). Retrieved: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/computer-art-history/
Difitalarti.com (2017). http://www.digitalarti.com/our-vision/
Four Seasons, 1,000 Years, Terraced Rice Fields – Tashibunosho (2015). Retrieved: https://www.teamlab.art/w/tashibunosho/
Yves Klein Archives. http://www.yveskleinarchives.org