"Spotlight"  - Digital Art

"Spotlight" – Digital Art

I'm Paul Larsen and it's time to shine the spotlight on artists involved in an emerging form of art organizers of a major exhibition in Montreal say it's about time North America catches up to Europe when it comes to celebrating digital art large festivals dedicated to the art world's use of computer technology have been rare in our continent but a new event planned for every two years in Montreal could bring more attention to interactive forms of art artists in the first international digital arts beyond all in Montreal say they're more likely to use a cell phone than a paintbrush to get their point across millions of people look at Leonardo da Vinci's 16th century masterpiece every year but nobody controls the Mona Lisa in the 21st century you can control how big the bubbles get in this work by Montreal artists Jean Du Bois and Chloe laugh EV you just need a cell phone it requires the audience and the audience really makes the work come alive Leonardo da Vinci used the technology of his day to paint people who look you in the eye Montreal artists philomon long prey used modern tools to create a virtual character that turns her head to look you in the eye the character moves in relation to where the viewer is in the room thanks to motion and ultrasonic sensors that track the viewers location the closer someone gets to the robotic screen the more intense the experience becomes long phrase work joins about 30 other pieces across the city of Montreal this spring in the first international digital arts Vienna digital arts researcher Lynn Hughes says it's the first citywide exhibition in Montreal to celebrate electronic and digital art I love digital art because it's a cultural project that is in fact we say actually it's about now it's emerging it's very exciting for that reason when we think of the visual arts painting sculpture photography film and video come to mind now the Biennale in Montreal welcomes digital creations into the spectrum of Fine Arts I think that people are still if you like in a film culture and film culture will remain very important as well painting and sculpture but we're in an age now where the camera is no longer the main tool the computer is the main tool to make digital art most artists require at least one computer Montreal artist Matthew Biederman's piece needs three Biederman began his art career in video but he eventually realized that video no longer excited him it's the same every time you watch it so it's just a five minute loop over and over again so I became bored very quickly with that in contrast Biederman's digital art can surprise even its creator its image regenerates itself from a code he wrote these tools allow me to make a piece that is exciting for me to watch every single time because it's always changing it's always a little bit different as digital art becomes more ambitious and more sophisticated there's a kind of openness built into it that allows things to emerge that weren't planned by the artists I'm constantly inspired and surprised by some of the results that it turns out what I love about Matthew Biederman's piece is it doesn't even lose I think as far as I can tell it is always changing to create digital art requires a lot of computer knowledge some artists hire computer experts to help them with their projects other artists take a much more hands-on approach I came up with the idea I wrote the software to create the idea I wrote the code that would synthesize the audio and I tested all of the projectors and decided upon the hardware that would be used I networked all of the computers together and made it all happen in the space and it's very important to me that I maintain this kind of romantic ideal of the artist as artisan even though we're still in the digital age and I do all of the work myself this piece by Swiss artist Zhu moon doesn't work at all until a sensor detects someone entering the room many pieces change according to the viewers actions these pieces highlight a key element of digital arts interactivity where the art only functions in collaboration with the person experiencing it this piece by Austrian artist Florian Grande takes a picture of me when I sit down that pictures then fragmented into a series of fine lines appearing on the screen in front of me these lines are me all digitally fragmented even the sound you hear is made digitally from my image in most interactive pieces two people won't have the same experience of the art the piece really depends on you and how you interact with it how you relate to it Montreal artist Peter Fleming's piece doesn't exactly interact with the viewer but the artist hopes it engages the mind my hope is that somebody wants to stay here and spend some time with it the artist set up digital circuits electromagnetically activated piano wires and drums and machinery to generate music amplified by speakers made of unexpected objects I could see how it could be potentially confusing to a viewer on the one hand but at the same time maybe that confusion could lead to being a little perplexed and curious I walked in and I saw all these objects and I had no idea really what they were so I was circling the thing trying to figure out where the sound is coming from and how it works and I'm still super confused because I don't know where the sound is coming from and I really want to know how it works organizers of the bienalle say Europe has logged on to the digital art wave most digital art festivals and exhibitions happen over there but they hope events in Montreal will help digital art explode in North America this VL is an opportunity to see what artists are doing with computer and electronic culture and they're doing so many different things it's truly exciting I think it's important to celebrate digital art right now because we're surrounded by digital tools I mean our lives are increasingly becoming more and more digital from the telephones we walk around with to our little tablet devices and for me it's very important to remember that all of those kinds of devices can be used for creativity for expression rather than just being devices to consume the sort of next the little app or game or diversion we can use these two as tools to empower ourselves or express ourselves organizers of the Elector festival in Montreal also created the first to be an all you may head to the BNI website for more information spotlight is a production of mountain lake PBS to learn more about our programs log on to mountain lake org you

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