How art and technology can come together

Art has, over the last few years, become much more accessible both for creators as well as the audience with so many platforms and so many easy-to-use tools to upgrade. Technology has truly transformed the ways of creativity.

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At the end of June last month, Kevin Fiege, the head of Marvel Studios, announced that they will be re-releasing summer blockbuster Avengers: Endgame in the theatres with about three minutes of new footage. People were quick to speculate that the move was made to help the movie finally beat James Cameron’s Avatar (which had come out in 2009) in lifetime Box-Office collections. What makes this battle really worth noting is that both Avatar and Endgame are marvels (pun unintended) of modern cinema which used VFX and CGI technology to their fullest to bring forward great visual spectacles to life. Without the current state of VFX technology at disposal, it would be really difficult to envision a massive, purple-sized Josh Brolin smashing costumed superheroes left and right as something believable.

In fact, one of the best ways to study how technology has developed is by checking how Marvel’s green rage monster has evolved in cinematic depictions overtime. Or the fact that production didn’t halt on Fast and Furious 7 even after Paul Walker’s death. Technology has really brought the best in cinema, and in a lot of important and significant ways.

Elsewhere, YouTube just concluded the 2019 edition of its global “Fan Fest” tour last month. An experiment that had started as a dating website, YouTube has over the last few years snowballed into being a viable career option for thousands of people across the globe. It has not only been an open platform for creators of existing, conventional art-forms to put up their work directly out to the public, but the medium has also created new forms of art and entertainment. This generation has, in fact, been witness to the rise of an entirely distinct brand of celebrity-culture and stardom. Stars like PewDiePie and Bhuvan Bam – with followings bigger than even a lot of film and music personalities – would possibly be decaying in obscurity if not for YouTube.

The above two instances are not isolated incidents of technology creating visible changes in the way art is enjoyed and perceived. They are only two of the many many instances of a movement where technology is being used to lower the privilege divide a lot of people face in both creating and accessing art, and where definitions of what is creativity and talent are being constantly rewritten.

Music, for instance, has been made so much more accessible thanks to technological revolutions. With just a computer and a smart-phone in hand, millions of young enthusiastic musicians can create samples of their work, heck even directly upload it for free on streaming platforms and maybe even get paid, if they are good enough. They get real-time feedback on their work and are not bound by geo-political boundaries in sharing their work to the whole wide world.

Comic writers are increasingly shifting to drawing and coloring on dedicated drawing pads and using visual editing software to create their content. A whole new genre of web-comics has arrived, with scopes of a much wider, global readership and a system where the artist gets paid without the not-rich readers having to spend much – or anything at all. Museums and art galleries have gone online to reach more views and visits and have started curating content to connect older art with today’s day and age.

The Rembrandt museum, for instance, is doing an exhibition titled “Rembrandt’s Social Network”, looking at the connections the artist made throughout his life and how those contacts were of great help when he was looking for work and they commissioned him to paint; visual artists – the drawing, painting, and sculpture kind – are pushing the boundaries of art, looking outside of what is conventionally perceived as “art” to incorporate other aspects into their work. Last October, Banksy pulled a prank where he had his own earlier work, “Girl with the Balloon” shredded in pieces, only for that to become rechristened as a new, separate work, “Love is in the Bin”. Art is also becoming less static – both literally and figuratively, taking up many new different shapes, from making sculptures out of 3D printers to naked volunteers lining up in hundreds for the photographer’s attention.

The association between art and technology isn’t new. Art of every period, in fact, has been influenced by the technology of those times. And artists from all walks have grappled with the technologies at their disposal in their creations. Having said that, it is important to understand that this relationship between the two, an intertwining of art and technology, has never been more visible than now. Art has, over the last few years, become much more accessible both for creators as well as the audience, as compared to earlier times. With so many platforms to engage with the world at large directly, and so many easy-to-use tools to upgrade and hone one’s skill-set, technology has truly transformed the creative sphere, and if tapped correctly, will go a long way in helping and enabling art in the near – and far – future.


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