For the last five or so years I have extensively worked with digital media. My art works use digital technologies and I have taught digital technologies. In my day work I use computers for almost everything. I have to say that many things run very smoothly with digital technologies. Pictures, video, programming (naturally) -All this enables me to do-and create- many things.
… every now and then I run into this incomprehensible frustration with all the digital medias. Even if I would have done a ton of things, it feels like nothing. This is naturally true with all the things we do that are abstract: We can’t see or touch our work. For some people it might be fine, but I have this urge, almost burning in my fingers to feel the material I am working with. It is not enough to see the line I am drawing, or to see my program working or video rendered. I need to feel the line I’m drawing. Be it a pen or a brush. It almost feels like if I can’t feel what I am doing that I myself have not done it.
In my opinion this feeling (I might be bit biased though) is one of the major problems in digital art. If we start to create illustrations, paintings, 3d-objects through the digital tools we lose the sense of material. I do not want that.
I am sure that there will be paintings, sculptures, and other handmade art works in the future, but somehow I have this sensation that we are riding in a bullet train of progress and that train can’t be stopped. I know and see the benefits of modern digital tools, but I also see the shadow side of it, which is the possible disability to have no sense of material, no feel for doing, that creating happens only in abstract, that the creation is done by machine. Naturally, best answer is to have balance, to use both as tools for our creation. Certainly there is cases to be made for digital creation, but at this point I feel that the train is not slowing down to stop at the equilibrium.
Technology has always worked that way, it gives us powerful tools, that allow us to conquer new places, but at the cost of having to give up something in exchange. Before maps we had to rely more on our instincts and knowledge of surroundings. With maps we could stare more at the paper in front of us and less the world around us. Maps made lot of progress possible and certainly helped us to not get lost so easily, but we also lost some sensibility of our surroundings. Same thing with the invention of clocks, or many other technologies.
My worry is that at some point we lose too much of our sensibility and experience too much of life in abstract.
I know I can’t live without painting and feel of the brush and the pigments. I think it is a privilege, not something I would like to get rid off.
It’s a joy that I would like to others to experience as well.