Thursday, January 7, 2016

Is Technological Progress Good or Bad for Art?

Without an adapter to read the hard disk of my crashed notebook I don't have access to my art and tools.

On Christmas 2015 Akira a.k.a. my notebook a.k.a. my general servant died. Considering how important computers are these days and that I maybe wouldn't have graduated from university without Akira I think it isn't even embarrassing or ridiculous to say that the computer slowly but surely has become man's best friend. (You see, my notebook even has a name - and his very own loyal and sometimes trolling personality with it.)

The same applies more and more to artists as well. Without Akira or an adapter to read its hard disk I don't have access to my writing, my notes, my digital painting projects, part of my drawing software, my photos, my music archive ... I'm stranded, quietly envying all those traditional artists and writers who still use pen and paper.

Such situations show pretty well the vulnerability that comes with technological progress. CDs have a shorter operational life span than records. Oil paintings and manuscripts can be burned while cave paintings and rune stones are still there. With every millennium and century art becomes more and more fleeting and fragile while thanks to social and technological progress the number of creators and creations grows. So let's be honest here: No matter how much you love your art and how much time you invest in it - most likely you'll be forgotten. We all will be forgotten. In a few years nobody will care about what we've created; nobody will take pleasure in it; we won't be able to lighten up somebody's day. So why sacrificing our lives to something that only a few people in the here and now care about?

I believe that in the first place there are egoism and ambition. Everyone - every self-published author on Twitter, every hobby artist on DeviantArt - secretly believes he will be an exception from this rule. Everyone wants to express himself and be recognized. What we have nowadays is a crowd of individualists striving for fame - and I won't deny I'm one of them.

Sometimes I wonder whether such egoists like us can even create art. True art, I mean. I know I should define "true art" now, but ... How do you define an abstract feeling, some weird mixture of doubt, melancholy, pride and many other things? Art wasn't always about self-expression but about many other things: religion, propaganda, business, politics, philosophy ...

I'm not sure about what came first yet, but I think that art as self-expression is linked to technological progress, computers and especially the internet, a space where everyone can be (or pretend to be) creative. Without computers (i.e. PCs themselves, electricity, cables ...) most of our creations will be lost in nemesis. So what are they worth in the end? Is the computer in fact not man's best friend but a devilish deluder?

What do you think on this topic? Since I still don't have an adapter to get access to my data I couldn't prepare a proper essay for today, so it's only random thoughts this time. Do you think they're stupid or do I have a point? Or are my thoughts too random yet to judge?

I'd very like to know what you have to say. :)

Feael Silmarien

PS: Please wish me luck that my adapter will be delivered soon and that my new notebook, a fancy gadget I baptized Okita, will do his job well. Akira, a very solid Toshiba Satellite, served me for almost seven years. I'm so proud of him and understand it was really about time for him to go. Yet I'll never forget my most loyal companion during my years at university. Rest in peace, dear Akira. And welcome to my life, dear Okita.

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