Is Technology Diluting Art?
Technology is “the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment” (Dictionary.com). It’s human knowledge and science applied to practical processes and objects.
In relation to art, technology is a medium for artists to create, reimagine, and produce work. Whether it’s a paintbrush, computer software, or camera, technology is often the vehicle through which artists communicate their ideas and passions.
During a recent symposium I attended, hosted by Imprint Culture Lab, the conversation of technology (especially as it relates to video) and its role in art came up during a Q&A session. Some in the audience felt that the speed of technological advancement and access by the general public is seriously diluting good art as well as making the creative middle class obsolete. The contention was that we were building a culture two extremes of creatives in the area of filmmaking: (1) the high-end filmmakers with budget and (2) the low-end novice who have access to good enough technology to dilute the field.
Others in the audience and panel felt that access to good technology forces people to rise above the novice pursuits and produce excellence in order to stand out in the midst of the “sewage” of creativity.
In the midst of this tension, some threw in thoughts about what makes art good? Is it just about good ideas? Do eyeballs on a project matter? How does the speed or current pace of creating films impact art?
I found all of these perspectives fascinating. I’m not a filmmaker but it did cause me to revisit my understanding of technology’s impact on the artist. I can totally see why our era would make things difficult for some good artists from ever making a living through their art. When you live in an age where a 8 year old can create a Youtube home movie and become an overnight success, I can see how this could be disheartening for some filmmakers. Then again, I also see how filmmakers who are “trying to make it” can leverage social mediums and technology to push forward into areas that 10 years ago they would not have been able to enter.
Are you an artist or filmmaker? I’d like to hear your thoughts and experiences on this topic.