Computers Vs. Art

savannah-satellite-image “… What we create because of emotional affinity; what we create in order to override that emotional affinity: both are products of constraints, whose influence can be far more overwhelming than those controlling the computer algorist. Still, the reaction of most artists to computer graphics is coloured by the fact that painting is the art-form least encumbered by technological props. Natural pigments spread by bundles of hairs have been subject to very few innovations. “


birth of electronic music“An interesting contrast is provided by music. Like painting, it is universal among human cultures, and can be traced back to the dawn of recorded history. But, unlike painting, it has an equally ancient tradition of using artefacts to generate sounds that humans cannot produce naturally. Moreover, in modern times, the production and recording of music has incorporated many kinds of electronic gadgetry. As a consequence, the creation of electronic music is a smaller step from traditional music than computer art is from human art. The distinction between computer-generated music and ‘human’ music is far less evident to the casual listener than is the distinction between computer art and human art to the casual observer. “

p.104, The Artful Universe, 1994, John D. Barrow

Posted in Notes. 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Computers Vs. Art”

  1. nathaniel Says:

    Well…. the “technology” of tubes allowed painters to go outside to the landscape rather than paing from inside windows or close to the studio. And the “technology” of acrylic allowed for very different modes of painting as well. The technology of photography changed painting in terms of impressions vs capturing reality, and painters even still are changing how they work in response to psychology (Freud influenced surrealism), physics (Einstein and cubism), digital media (valerie granger), the list goes on.

    But I don’t think that “contemporary musicians” playing with electronics media should be compared to “painters”; rather, they should be compared to “contemporary visual artists” — a much broader a term. There are only a handful of classical musicians that play with digital media, and the same goes for painting.

    I could go on – printmaking, for example, has always used new technologies to make – but it’s a long discussion and I have class to prepare! Thanks for the provocation, site.

    • sitearm Says:

      Nathaniel’s point about tubes is right on in fact…

      “Jean Renoir once told his son that without oil paints in tubes [invented in 1841]: ‘There would have been no Cezanne… nothing of what the journalists later were to call Impressionism.’ Impressionism, after all, was a movement that depended on recording nature in nature. Without being able to use colors outside it would have been hard for an artist … to record the impressions that … light … made on him, and so create … atmospheric effects.”
      Color: A Natural History of the Palette, Victoria Finlay, 2002

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