Why art and tech?

In the growing white noise of the blog-o-sphere and twitter-verse, among the hundreds of thousands of insta-likes and facebook posts, there is one critical component that makes a post stand out against all of the others: a picture. A twitter post that uses a picture gets 35% more engagement (according to blog.twitter.com), and similar stats can be found for other social media. What does this mean for photography or art on the internet? Once invaluable symbols of culture and history, many more deliberate, thoughtful representations of art are being lost amidst the onslaught of content creation for likes and follows. Art isn’t disappearing or declining by any means, but it is regularly being manipulated for momentary gain at the expense of true curiosity and artistry.

In the anthology “Ways of Seeing”, John Berger attests to the value of images when used wisely:

“If the new language of images were used differently, it would, through its use, confer a new kind of power. Within it we could begin to define our experiences more precisely in areas where words are inadequate.”

Much of our current use of images falls significantly short of the power that Berger describes. Underneath all of this digital crap are glowing gems of art and tech that envision the world is ways that were never before possible. Maps that explain our terrain in novel ways can influence how we interact with our surroundings. Visual diagrams of complicated ideas can bring new life to old subjects, and inspire a young generation of students. This blog intends to highlight much of the processing power that is often covered up by the landslide of mediocre info graphics and click-bait visuals.

The combination of art and tech has the ability to grab larger audiences and be more informative than either medium alone. Using tech to spread an artwork reaches more people quickly than a museum exhibit possibly can. An informative and ground-breaking study might be highly beneficial to the general public, but unless it is well-designed and easy to read, the information won’t reach or engage the intended audience.

Both art and tech are transforming at an exponential rate. The book “The Singularity Is Near” by by Ray Kurzweil details the exponential rate at which technology is changing, and why we will soon reach a point where that rate of change is almost linear. These rapid changes are reflected in wild, attention grabbing news stories about Artificial Intelligence and drones, but are also more subtly explored on a daily basis on Reddit feeds. Tech is changing, and there are scores of people using these rapid advancements to create beautiful things. Just because the data was a long list of numbers and letters doesn’t mean that the end public-facing result can’t be a tangible, interactive exhibit that draws in crowds and teaches many. 

We are at the precipice of an amazing new art form. More than just highlighting individual achievements, I hope this blog will create a larger picture of the possibilities that are being created and the effect that creative tech can have on our lives and the society we live in.

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