Do Advancements in Technology Truly Serve the Arts?

In your lifetime you have already seen photography go from film to digital. Drawing and painting can now be done on a computer. Are these technological advancements truly serving the arts? As art is entirely representative and connected to the people of the culture that creates it; humanities’ digital conversion puts our civilization in a position of being wholly dependent on electricity.This dependence on electricity to create, view and share artwork is a dangerous concept. Consider the artwork that we have discovered from our ancestors. Some of the earliest works are still in existence as paintings and chalk drawings on the walls of caves. This art has led us to great discoveries of our ancestors and a stronger connection to our past. Imagine our future generations and how they may one day seek out their connection to us. It is entirely conceivable that generations of our work will forever be lost because we didn’t print out a hard copy or their technology is incompatible with ours.Digital technology has its merits. They have allowed us to advance our techniques, lessen the cost of creation and collaborate instantaneously. However, those merits will be for not if these works do not have a physical form. Consider the E-Books, and digital music and the technology that has been created for them. Music and books can now be obtained for a lower price; one can even own and access a library of thousands of books and songs, but this access is temporary and entirely dependent on a power source.We must protect the old ways of our artistic expression. We must continue to study and to create in the ways that produce tangible works. If humanity continues to convert everything to an electronic format, then we will are making our existence a virtual existence. We are turning our entire culture into an 8-track and one day there will no longer be a player for us.Painting on canvas with acrylic, oils or water colors is a time-honored tradition of artists. There is a very strong possibility that our children will one day never be taught to draw on a piece of paper, but rather, be taught to draw with a light pen and have their work uploaded to their parents. One of our very earliest art galleries, the refrigerator in the kitchen, will no longer have our children’s artwork displayed proudly upon it.As a people, we must continue to create real, physical works of art. The things that we can touch and feel spark memories more reliably and connect us to our past in a more concrete way than a digital image ever will. We must continue the traditions of the masters of painting because our paintings define us as we define them. Digital media reflects back our dependence on the superficial and non-tangible and it greatly devalues humanity.We assign high value to paintings that endure time. That value is indicative of the connection that is made to the past lives of the artist and to the time in which the work was created. A painting by Picasso or Vincent Van Gogh can sell for millions, but is that monetary value applicable to a digital version? We shall continue to develop our technologies and become more dependent on them, but we should never replace the ways in which we create real, tangible fine works of art.

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