Friday, 20 September 2013

2 reasons why innovators should pay more attention to Digital Art

So, Why art?

There two main reasons why artists are essential to anyone wanting to innovate:
First: artists are the quintessential experimenters of contemporary society
Second:  contemporary artists work creatively with the tools that digital agencies use to make their own offerings

Saying that artists are innovators may not be a surprising statement—and it shouldn’t be. Yet, if your interest is experiential marketing then your focus should be on the work digital artists—also labelled often as Relational or Inter-medial artists.

‘Wait, digital art? ...what is that exactly?’

Digital art refers to the work of contemporary artists, who work with any one kind of digital media platform or who are interested in creating inter-medial experiences, that is, experiences that come as a result of the combination of different elements in their work (for instance, video and performance, projections and sculpture, or robots and lights). These artists are constantly experimenting with one sole aim in mind: creating new experiences for spectators.

These experiences can be, for instance, full blown multi-media spectacles, as in the case of renowned performer Marie-Claude Pietragalla and her ‘3D immersive spectacle’: Mr et Mme Reve.

An even more impressive sample of innovation, way beyond his time, can be found in the work of artist Nam June Paik. His 1969 Electronic Opera, made through a combination of negative video images, dancers, a background of music—where a fourteenth century clavichord sets the mood—and vectorial movements—similar to the popular screensavers in the 90s—work all in complete synchrony to deliver a powerful experience of the senses and the mind: a topless dancer and three hippies have their images manipulated distorted, and saturated with additional color; Richard Nixon and other well-known figures are twisted up; Voiceovers issue commands to the audience: "This is participation TV."—this is an incomparably compelling experience with a clear message (albeit critical) to it!

Artists working with computers can be traced all the way back to John Whitney, who worked with outdated military computers in the 1950s and 1960s. His innovative work was pivotal in making the amazing credits sequences in Alfred Hitchock’s Vertigo, Northwest and Psycho! As reported on Rhizome ‘Whitney was hired to complete the seemingly impossible task of turning Bass’s complicated designs for Vertigo into moving pictures’.

Other, perhaps less known, although not a bit less interesting artists are Frederik Heyman and Keren Cytter just two name two guys that always come to my mind.  Heyman works with a combination of photography, graphic design, and video. 

Wonderful samples of his work can be found in his website or while

Keren Cytter 2011 Avalanche series of short films is a work that I truly enjoyed—it makes you laugh, think and reflect on many aspects of filmmaking and storytelling. The films play with time perception, with character roles and traits which appear as bizarrely inconsistent, there is no clear story line, and the atmosphere is purposefully sabotaged through the use of wrong props and incoherent settings, etc. Take a look at one Cytter’s wonderful short films here.

Written by Daniel Vargas Gómez

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