Who is afraid of Digital Art? Three styles that transcend this category

Posted on Dec - 02 - 2019

 

While navigating a contemporary art museum, as never before, we are faced with an array of artworks that bend our preconceived notion of art or offers us alternatives unfamiliar to us, leaving us baffled or even disconcerted. For people whose definition of art comes down to a nice painting that hangs in the living room while matching the drapes, a trip to a contemporary art exhibition can turn this notion completely upside-down. Within the many techniques and media that artists use, the inclusion of technology since the 1960s has brought about what has fallen under the umbrella term of digital art to include all the art forms using digital technologies. An array of different terminologies falls under the digital art category, where some critics call out a New Aesthetic that captures the embeddedness of the digital in society. If you are unfamiliar with these concepts and ways of producing, here are some styles and terminologies that can help you maneuver through these perplexing forms of art. 

 

Post-Internet Art

Although this is a hotly debated term, its usually associated as well with “Post-digital” art, and are used in an attempt to describe artworks and ‘objects’ conceptually and practically shaped based on the Internet and other digital processes. Nevertheless, these objects materialize as paintings, sculptures or photographs, but the ‘post’ label functions as a post-medium condition, where original formats cease to exist and make way to new outtakes on materiality. Artist Artie Vierkant describes the post-Internet artwork as the one that “lies equally in the version of the object one would encounter at a gallery or museum, the images and other representations disseminated through the Internet and print publications, bootleg images of the object or its representations, and variations on any of these as edited and re-contextualized by any other author.”

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Artie Vierkant. courtesy: Perrotin

Generative Art 

This term has come to define a very complex form of art, one where the artist cedes controls to an autonomous functional system, which then creates or contributes to creating a work of art. The systems can greatly vary and take many forms, such as a natural language, mathematics equations, biological systems of computer programs. This realm of digital art has boomed in the 21st century. The first forms of generative art were born in Zagreb in 1961 and later became a world movement. 

 

Algorithmic Art 

Early pioneers of digital algorithmic art were Charles Csuri, Manfred Mohr, Vera Molnar, and Frieder Nake who started using mathematical functions to create “digital drawings” on paper in the 1960s. As algorithmic art can be related to generative art as its formulations depend on an autonomous system, it basically composed of an algorithm. Within Algorithmic Art, there are various subcategories, including Mathematical Art and Fractal Art. 

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Alexander Rishaug & Marius Watz, live AV performance at Henie-Onstad Art Center, Oslo. courtesy of Henie-Onstad Art Center

By: Gabriela Martinez de la Hoz

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