Every artist on some level understands that the actions of an artist are dictated by technology. Before Gutenberg invented the printing press, writers were far more limited in page count with wound codexes. The sound amplification technology provided by a piano allowed compositions intended for far larger audiences than a harpsichord. We focus on Kindles and digital cameras and think we’ve never seen disruptions like this to art before, but we always have and always will. Those disruptions close some doors and open others.
My hometown paper The Washington Post had an interesting special Arts section on Sunday titled “The Art of Technology.” The lead story was a rather odd essay lamenting the passing of the metronome. But the meat of the section were short news articles on how traditional artistic pursuits are being transformed by modern technology. Here are the links to the stories, and I’ll use the Post’s teaser language for each:
- Classical Music: Imagine the music you’d get if you had a computer to play the piano. Or if you asked a city to email favorite sounds to the composer.
- Dance: Something unexpected happens when graceful movement gets randomized. Especially live.
- Electronic music: Those are some threads: ‘Wearable technology’ allows gestures to trigger sound.
- Film: Director’s podcasts illustrate the new normal. Social media engages audiences.
- Poetry: E-readers haven’t necessarily embraced the lyrical nuance of poetry. Yet.
- Sculpture: The advent of 3-D printing could ultimately turn everyone into a designer.
On a related note, The Washington Post recently said that it is developing a business model that will require frequent readers of its online content to pay for some of that content. As a longtime veteran of both print and online journalism, I completely understand their need for that. The Post also said that it will develop a means for educators to continue to receive free access to their content. As a writing and creativity instructor, I applaud them for that.