What does ‘Digital Art’ even mean?

What is art?infolio-rg.ru

Throughout the course, I was surprised by the number of different things that we were studying. ‘Art’ can be so many different things – drawings/paintings, comics, programs, among others. The digital versions of traditional arts have more freedoms and allow for greater creativity than those bound to physical space and tangible media. However, the development of digital arts is intertwined with the development of computer technology. It is nearly impossible to discuss one without also discussing the other.

MS Paint had a large role in the rise of digital images. It started as a gimmick to sell operating systems for computers, when computers did not come with Windows pre-installed. However, the ability to create and edit images soon became an important one, leading to the creation of better programs, like Photoshop, and the eventual creation of memes and webcomics. le-rage-comics(It’s been a goal of mine to be able to use a Rage Comic in these posts for a while now, and I’m very happy to finally have a good excuse to use one.)

The digital version of comics allowed the artists to push the boundaries on what it means to be a comic by allowing them greater freedom and creativity. Comics were no longer bound by 3-panels and few to no colors. The comics could be video, full-color, whatever size required, or whatever else the artist desired.

Born-digital

As we learned from reading Racing the Beam earlier in the semester, computer programs can be another form of digital art. Programming requires creativity to work within the confines of the system’s hardware restrictions while also bringing the concepts to life, whether it is for a game, a Twitter bot, or some other form of program.

Glitch art, on the other hand, says that the creativity comes from destroying bits of the code that made up the original piece of art, an act that can only be done with a digital image. The internet and digital works allowed everyone to create and distribute their works, like fan fiction, through the various art sharing sites and communities, without having to receive approval from someone else, such as a publisher or art dealer.

life is a glitch

Preserving the digital

In addition to the born-digital, items can become digital though a process of taking a series if digital images of the item. No longer are books the only thing that can become digital; photogrammetry allows sculptures and even walls to become digital objects that can be studied and manipulated by scholars. For those preserving these digital objects, only the images, and not the digital objects, need preservation as the 3D representation can be recreated as software and technology changes.

Digitization is all well and good for ‘saving’ a thing that is deteriorating but the new digital thing now has its own needs. How long can we count on .pdf, .tiff, and other ‘recommended formats’ to remain usable and readable? Are we creating too many digital objects to ever hope to migrate as technology changes?

In addition, at the rate that the internet and the number of digital things worth preserving are growing, how do we meet the current needs while also planning for the future? There is the argument that we should only preserve as many things as we can properly care for. However, if we do that, numerous things that are worthwhile and should be preserved that will be lost. Should we then preserve everything and hope that the time and money to properly care for the stored items will magically appear one day? (Yes, this argument was discussed on this blog several weeks ago, but it is still a question without an answer).

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