Digital art image created by Google Imagen

Digital art and crypto art are the evolution of contemporary art that increasingly winks at virtual, social, robots, artificial intelligence and much more. More than the evolution in the ways of reproducing the works cited by the famous essay by the philosopher Walter Benjamin, artists today are interested in the way society, ideas, technology and creativity interact with each other.

L’digital art it also exploits technology to reach the public as well as museums in a mix of new techniques and forms of expression where experimentation and cultural mediation are shared online. Medialab, international festivals, online auctions, virtual and augmented reality are parallel worlds that inspire each other. In the same way the artists try to draw ideas from the past to look to the future without betraying memories and knowledge.


What is digital art?

L’digital art encompasses all sectors that exploit the potential of electronics and information technology as part of the creation or presentation process. In addition to aesthetic research, it is a question of defining a new way of thinking and organizing society. Artists but also engineers and scientists in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics and bio-technologies are engaged in the work of creation and artistic research.

From the point of view of media usability, the relationship between art and technology it has become more intense in recent decades, starting with television, passing through the introduction of personal computers up to the internet. Digital art transforms the brush into light, pixels and sounds while paintings on canvas or paper become computer-generated digital images projected onto mega screens.

Digital art history

In the natural digitization of the image, videos in which images and sounds converge have become the fulcrum of the expressive modes of digital art. Nam June Paik, considered a father of video art, already in 1995 combined television, computers and society in his works. In his multimedia installations, visitors were in turn filmed by CCTV cameras, becoming part of the work.

After millennia of passive enjoyment of art it was an epochal turning point. Today, however, the public has become the real protagonist of interactive museums that use the virtual. If with a click it is possible to reach billions of people through smartphone screens connected to social media, not only artistic but also economic perspectives open up. Paintings and sculptures have always had a close relationship with money, but today investing in art is a real financial asset.

The time of patrons is over, art is increasingly a question of the network and the market, with online auctions replacing the collector’s need for physical presence. In the digital world, artists could in principle avoid exhibiting their works in the gallery, making themselves known in a viral way on the web or seeking funding with crowdfunding systems. The blockchain allows young artists and digital natives to monetize productions.

Crypto art and Ntf

Music and content piracy teaches that the web has always been the home of copies. How to guarantee the uniqueness and authenticity of a digital artwork? To protect the copyright of the so-called Crypto Art there are systems like Nft (non fungible token) e blockchain with which companies such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s already operate. The NTF is a digital signature linked to the work guaranteed by the blockchain security system.

In this way, the internet, in addition to promoting creativity, transforms authenticity into a unique value and therefore into money. Between new ideas and digitized versions of masterpieces in liquid space, the overall digital art market is already worth over $ 600 million. An example are the video art works of the American artist Nam June Paik which have reached values ​​between 100 and 200 thousand dollars.

There crypto art every time it is resold it guarantees the digital artist a commission. To publish their works, artists have online platforms such as OpenSea or Rareble that publish works by independent artists, musicians, videographers or graphic designers. The forms change but not the need to look at reality with different eyes. Digital artists don’t even give up on trying to share creativity collectively.

Digital artists

The digital artists on the internet they can offer and try to sell something unique and original at prices ranging from a few to millions of dollars. Yes, it is about intangible works that are perhaps naive, unresolved, trivial or meaningless, rather than curious or amusing content halfway between video game and advertising. Crypto art is not exhibited in museums but goes online trying to resist over time, if not for an aesthetic, ethical or social value, thanks to the traceability that makes it unique.

Even more than contemporary art, the crypto art it loses the traditional sacredness of a sensitive work. In addition to artistic strength, virality, exposure and clicks with bizarre results count on the web. While American artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, sold the NFT titled “The first 5000 days” at Christie’s in March for $ 69 million, Elon Musk’s girlfriend Grimes also managed to sell thousands of videos. animated for 6 million dollars.

Among the most famous digital artists who publish technological works are Carlo Fei, Ryoji Ikeda, Simon Denny, Darren Bader, Jordan Wolfson. They often talk about how life is interpreted within the limits imposed by consumption. Then there is the trend of bio artists who mix digital processes and biotechnologies to create new forms such as Eduardo Kac, George Gessert who makes the modification of genes an aesthetic research, or Joe Davis, a researcher at MIT who uses molecular biology for creative purposes.

If the artist is an algorithm

In the’digital art where everything becomes virtual and viral, there are not only real artists. The challenge of artificial intelligence is to grapple with the creativity and sensitivity typical of human art. For researchers, it is not just a matter of processing pre-existing images with special software, which are also available on smartphones, but of creating new images, photographs or drawings starting from models or instructions.

As with all AI-based systems, algorithm artists are machine learning software that after scanning a large number of images are able to create new ones based on instructions. The OpenAI company recently presented GPT-3, the third version of a “Generative Pre-trained Transformer” language model, which in addition to writing texts in a very similar way to humans, with the DALL-E system, among other things, manages to transform text into surreal images.

What to create art with algortimi it is not just a nerdy game, as demonstrated by the experiments of photorealistic images also created by Google with Imagen and above all the prices of some digital works of art sold for thousands of dollars. It is too early to say whether artificial intelligence in music or art will replace humans. Surely an algorithm can compete in the surreal and the abstract, not without some ethical problem. Patterns of apprehension reflect social stereotypes and harmful re-representations of reality that should not be further emphasized without human control.

Digital art festival

The first digital artists they did not work alone in front of a monitor with the internet as a messenger, but found themselves in collectives together with artists and engineers. Famous is that of the EAT (Experiments in Art and Technology) founded in the 1960s by the engineers Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer and by the artists Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman. To seek new forms of collaboration between art and technology, they created installations and performances with video, sonar and electrical circuits.

It was about digital artwork pioneering compared to the infinite possibilities of playing with images, videos, shapes, colors and sounds that we all have today using any PC or smartphone. But the electronic freeway, as Nam June Paik called it in 1974, it was now on the way. The results of this revolution in recent decades have reached every sphere of communication, creativity and industry.

L’digital art it is not powered only by the virtual, in the world there are many festivals that present live works and installations by the new digital artists. Many of these festivals offer awards and scholarships in the fields of motion design, animation, visual effects to experiment with the use of new technologies in a creative way in communication, cinema, fashion and entertainment.

Aec Linz Ars Electronica. Art, technology and society come together in this Austrian festival centered on innovative ideas that can affect every person’s daily life. From biotechnology to constantly evolving robotics

Bandits-mages is a performance and multimedia creation event held in Bourges in France. It is proposed as an opportunity for confrontation between students, artists and important characters on the experimental film.

Emaf European Media Art Festival Osnabrück in Germany. A festival with short films, feature films, videos, experimental documentaries in which fragments of music alternate with photographic images

Adaf Athens Video Art Festival for the artists of digital culture. International festival focused on digital culture promoted through a type of multidisciplinary creativity including exhibitions, screenings, live performances, workshops and much more

Transmediale Berlin Festival which develops through a variety of meetings, debates, conferences, workshops. Medialab laboratories and a vast network of cooperation with cultural institutions, project spaces and temporary installations are planned

International medialab

The medialabs through which contemporary artists meet and collaborate have different forms: they can be virtual, itinerant or linked to exhibitions. These are multimedia arts laboratories which, in the name of technological innovation, share a common idea in aesthetic, philosophical, social or even economic terms. Here is a list of some of the most important internationally.

MediaMit – School of Architecture and Planning of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Collaborators, projects, events, news, videos with all the possibilities to contact the school

Icc InterCommunication Center Tokyo Japan. A cultural facility that occupies a series of events relating to the communication between the arts and science for a future based on well-being

TIFF Cultural charitable association with a mission to transform the way people see the world through cinema: real support for the whole project comes from the Toronto International Film Festival Group – Canada

Kibla Kibla Medialab Center Maribor Slovenia. A cultural center that wants to be a meeting point for exhibitions, artistic and musical performances, conferences, debates and much more

Zkm Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie of Karlsruhe in Germany. A container for research, exhibitions and conferences on the history of electronic arts with research projects and artistic productions

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