Thursday, February 14, 2008

Interface and Distance with Respect to Artistic Media

It seems that many of the people working with digital media today hold the belief that interface removes the user from the original purpose and intent of the program they are using or website they are visiting. I don’t believe that this is necessarily true. Often interface brings the user closer to the actual intent of certain digital media. For example, imagine a program like Photoshop without any interface. It simply doesn’t make any sense. The art itself is completely removed from the process of its alteration and creation. Code requires the rendering of art to occur sight unseen. The artist/code-writer must wait until he enters the code to see his art. To have to work with a photograph or other artistic media through a code actually represents a distancing from the purpose of art. Using code to create art transforms art into a science, which is somewhat counterproductive. Interface actual brings digital art closer to art in the real world.

Looking at the digital artists on the mycourses page I found it curious how an artist could put such focus on something as technical as code. Code is a restriction to artistic media. As mentioned in a previous blog, code is rigid. It follows distinct rules and patterns. This is contrary to the purpose of art. Art seeks to be original and creative. It seeks to challenge rules, not to conform to them. This is not to say that digital art is in any way invalid. Every artistic medium has its limitations and general rules of use. Code is merely more difficult a medium to subvert, perhaps an impossible medium to subvert. A digital artist cannot truly bend the rules of code. If the code is not properly implemented the artists creation will become nothing but a broken link.

A computer is a much more difficult artistic tool to “think outside the box” with. Quite simply, computers are boxes, and what is created on them must exist inside of them. A truly revolutionary digital artist would find a way around this. Digital artists should seek to find a way to challenge the rules of code, interface, and the computer itself in the creation of their art, rather than focusing on a systematic use of encoding to create imagery. As mentioned in another blog, it was somewhat humorous to view artists critiquing each other’s encoding rather than the final product itself! Perhaps I only find this somewhat preposterous due to my lack of any major experience in writing code, but as an artist (or at least someone who attempts to create art) it strikes me as unusual. The desire to interact directly with the computer is understandable, but what really defines direct? 

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