While I was reading through the brief history of “Art” that is written by Johanna Drucker, I came to realize that art and the scene around it have been challenging the status quo and introducing disturbances to the system throughout the centuries. The feedback loop between the art and technique did transform each other and driven the society via movements.

The relationship between art and labor turns out to be a complicated one. Even though the advancement in technology would provide artists with a new set of tools, the foundation laid out from the existing technique remains at its place in history. Therefore, the “old school” still holds value, because it lays out the foundations for the art in the future. My interpretation is that the direction is not always forward, as directions in the art domain are not in the same context as it is in technology. Each movement is opening up parallel universes that add another horizon towards the human’s understanding of self.

Just as the printing press was faced by resistance from the calligraphers when it was first invented, the computer took its share of the blame: The art created through the computer has ease of distribution. One artist shares the digital image in less than five minutes whereas another one still sticks with the analog, claiming that people can touch it and the value is introduced by the uniqueness. I am in a comfortable stance; both of them are shaping their apparatus in a unique way, whether it is a polaroid paper or a large sequence of bits translated on display.

Speaking of displays and images; the advent of computer painting was introduced by the very first set of algorithms that would present primitive drawing tools. The “flood fill” algorithm, which is now a feature of almost every raster graphics editor, was first demonstrated by Andy Warhol in 1985 on an Amiga 1000 computer. In a marketing event of Commodore Inc., Andy Warhol was asked to paint Debbie Harry on the computer using the raster graphics editor. In fact, the algorithm for the flood fill was not stable at the time, and the developers told Andy Warhol to not use the flood fill algorithm as it is known to crash the computer. He goes straight to the flood fill function, and the computer did not crash on a lucky break.

It might be the case that the computer just decided to embrace the artist who prefers to create the work throughout its facilities, who knows? It turns out that, Andy Warhol did some other digital images in 1980’s as well which he did not release: His pieces of work were found in a floppy disk recently.

Add yours Comments – 1

  • This is a fantastic post—and the video is amazing, what a document of a moment in pop-tech culture history. Your post draws attention to the importance of electronic art history in helping us see these transformations…

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