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PDF papers
id ga9811
authors Feuerstein, Penny L.
year 1998
title Collage, Technology, and Creative Process
source International Conference on Generative Art
summary Since the turn of the twentieth century artists have been using collage to suggest new realities and changing concepts of time. Appropriation and simulation can be found in the earliest recycled scraps in Cubist collages. Picasso and Braque liberated the art world with cubism, which integrated all planes and surfaces of the artists' subjects and combined them into a new, radical form. The computer is a natural extension of their work on collage. The identifying characteristics of the computer are integration, simultaneity and evolution which are inherent in collage. Further, the computer is about "converting information". There is something very facinating about scanning an object into the computer, creating a texture brush and drawing with the object's texture. It is as if the computer not only integrates information but different levels of awareness as well. In the act of converting the object from atoms to bits the object is portrayed at the same conscious level as the spiritual act of drawing. The speed and malleability of transforming an image on the computer can be compared to the speed and malleability of thought processes of the mind. David Salle said, "one of the impulses in new art is the desire to be a mutant, whether it involves artificial intelligence, gender or robotic parts. It is about the desire to get outside the self and the desire to trandscend one's place." I use the computer to transcend, to work in different levels of awareness at the same time - the spiritual and the physical. In the creative process of working with computer, many new images are generated from previous ones. An image can be processed in unlimited ways without degradation of information. There is no concept of original and copy. The computer alters the image and changes it back to its original in seconds. Each image is not a fixed object in time, but the result of dynamic aspects which are acquired from previous works and each new moment. In this way, using the computer to assist the mind in the creative processes of making art mirrors the changing concepts of time, space, and reality that have evolved as the twentieth century has progressed. Nineteenth-century concepts of the monolithic truth have been replaced with dualism and pluralism. In other words, the objective world independent of the observer, that assumes the mind is separate from the body, has been replaced with the mind and body as inseparable, connected to the objective world through our perception and awareness. Marshall Mcluhan said, "All media as extensions of ourselves serve to provide new transforming vision and awareness." The computer can bring such complexities and at the same time be very calming because it can be ultrafocused, promoting a higher level of awareness where life can be experienced more vividly. Nicholas Negroponte pointed out that "we are passing into a post information age, often having an audience of just one." By using the computer to juxtapose disparate elements, I create an impossible coherence, a hodgepodge of imagery not wholly illusory. Interestingly, what separates the elements also joins them. Clement Greenberg states that "the collage medium has played a pivotal role in twentieth century painting and sculpture"(1) Perspective, developed by the renaissance archetect Alberti, echoed the optically perceived world as reality was replaced with Cubism. Cubism brought about the destruction of the illusionist means and effects that had characterized Western painting since the fifteenth century.(2) Clement Greenberg describes the way in which physical and spiritual realities are combined in cubist collages. "By pasting a piece of newspaper lettering to the canvas one called attention to the physical reality of the work of art and made that reality the same as the art."(3) Before I discuss some of the concepts that relate collage to working with computer, I would like to define some of the theories behind them. The French word collage means pasting, or gluing. Today the concept may include all forms of composite art and processes of photomontage and assemblage. In the Foreword on Katherine Hoffman's book on Collage Kim Levin writes: "This technique - which takes bits and pieces out of context to patch them into new contexts keeps changeng, adapting to various styles and concerns. And it's perfectly apt that interpretations of collage have varied according to the intellectual inquiries of the time. From our vantage point near the end of the century we can now begin to see that collage has all along carried postmodern genes."(4) Computer, on the other hand is not another medium. It is a visual tool that may be used in the creative process. Patrick D. Prince's views are," Computer art is not concrete. There is no artifact in digital art. The images exist in the computer's memory and can be viewed on a monitor: they are pure visual information."(5) In this way it relates more to conceptual art such as performance art. Timothy Binkley explains that,"I believe we will find the concept of the computer as a medium to be more misleading than useful. Computer art will be better understood and more readily accepted by a skeptical artworld if we acknowledge how different it is from traditional tools. The computer is an extension of the mind, not of the hand or eye,and ,unlike cinema or photography, it does not simply add a new medium to the artist's repertoire, based on a new technology.(6) Conceptual art marked a watershed between the progress of modern art and the pluralism of postmodernism(7) " Once the art is comes out of the computer, it can take a variety of forms or be used with many different media. The artist does not have to write his/her own program to be creative with the computer. The work may have the thumbprint of a specific program, but the creative possibilities are up to the artist. Computer artist John Pearson feels that,"One cannot overlook the fact that no matter how technically interesting the artwork is it has to withstand analysis. Only the creative imagination of the artist, cultivated from a solid conceptual base and tempered by a sophisticsated visual sensitivity, can develop and resolve the problems of art."(8) The artist has to be even more focused and selective by using the computer in the creative process because of the multitude of options it creates and its generative qualities.
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