We live in an exciting time, one of the most exciting times in history in fact. We are right at the beginning of real technological advancement. Because technology has been increasing at an exponential rate (see Moore’s Law) we are going to start noticing these leaps as we hit the upward curve. Although you may not think of yourself as a tech person, I believe in the next 10 years we will all be “tech people”. We will be surrounded by technology and it will be integrated into our daily lives, it will be almost impossible to avoid it.
The question I want to address in this article is; what does it mean for art? As the boundaries between art and technology become less and less obvious we need to think about how we can utilise it rather than fight against it. Whether it’s virtual reality or 3D projection mapping, technology is the new paintbrush and our environment is our canvas. In order to keep our head above water we need to look ahead of the curve and think about innovative ways we can explore artistic expression through technology. There is a huge wave coming and you have two options; 1: find a surfboard and ride it or 2: try to avoid it and drown. It may seem like a dramatic statement,as we don’t notice when we are being subjected to it every day but when you take a step back and look how technology has advanced over the last 10 years you can really see the leaps it has made. We no longer live in a time where the world you were born in would be quite similar to the world you died in. We are on the verge of some major technological breakthroughs in many significant industries but it will also change how people view and interact with art (all forms, not just visual). We will have exponential improvements in sound quality, the ability to combine formats, that were not previously possible and experience things in ways we have never experienced them before.
What does this mean for us as artists?
Well to me it means opportunity. To some it will mean fear and denial, but with all change there are always going to be people that resist it and those who see it as opportunity. The question that really matters is; What meaning are you going to give to it? That’s the only question that will dictate your future. If it means opportunity you will find opportunity, if it means failure you will fail. Only you can decide what this crazy wave of technological advancement will mean for you as an artist.
For many artists technology is something that they have avoided for a long time and have never felt the need to embrace. Soon, if we do not adapt we will be left behind. The good news, that many people fail to realise, is that this doesn’t mean you have to go away and start learning how to create an immersive virtual reality experience or programme a computer. It simply means keeping up to date with what’s going on and reading Wired magazine every so often! One of the best ways I have seen art and technology successfully intersect is through collaboration. Working with people who can utilise these technologies but may not have the same creative ideas as you, is a great way to ensure you are keeping up with technology without having to be an expert yourself.
What do you think the future of art is? How do you plan to keep up with technology? Let us know in the comments below