The future of Art?

 

“Haiku”, 65 x 90 cm., oil on canvas, is a textured abstract work that explores the haiku moment of fallen cherry tree blossoms scattered by the wind:
cherry tree blossoms
scatter beyond all fences.
kissed by a mild breeze.

 

POSTERUS EST IAM … the future is now.

Every year just before Christmas, many humans undergo a dramatic soul-searching into themselves, their lives and accomplishments to-date … and their future goals, plans, and possibilities. This often results in “New Year’s Resolutions”, dietary and lifestyle changes and decisions about the continued viability (or not) of personal, familial and work relationships — some of which advance one forward in one’s life, and others which more often than not “peter out” by the end of February. Another human ritual is to consult astrological forecasts for the New Year. And the experts (both those who are paid to give their opinions, and “arm-chair experts”)  also delight in making predictions about everything imaginable — including “the future of Art”.

Trying to predict the future of Art is both simple, difficult, and perhaps even irrelevant. I have basically concluded that things will more or less remain as they are now — minus small galleries, and with more Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality in art, more contemporary issues and themes in art and art museums, but still with paintings of all genres, styles and periods, some major changes in the genre of Conceptual Art — making them more accessible to intelligent persons, less video installations, and more interactive art, blah blah blah … and all that blah (Jada Jada Jada). In other words, the “future” is simply an extended “now” — also where Art is concerned.  

At the same time, what artists create depends on many, many factors which are constantly changing, and now at increasing speed: fads and trends in contemporary art, interior design, the trend towards smaller apartments and homes, fads regarding the constant modern battle of minimalism vs. “the home so full of art that it is like the Borghese Gallery”, rapid changes in political and social events to create art about, etc. 

Social media, Infotech, and digital technology also affect Art in more ways than many realize. Today — virtually everyone can now create Art photography, compose symphonic or popular music, write and self-publish novels, and paint … all thanks to digitalization. As if  “made to order”, social media spreads ideas and images virulently. We need more and more creative expression and creative living on the planet. And as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Infotech and Biotech eventually make many Homo Sapiens unemployed, Art will serve an increasingly important function — both as past-times and as career options for creative persons AND to assist in creative functions (including visionary planning) for AI, Infotech and Biotech systems. Likewise, AI and Mixed Reality installations will most probably overtake and replace video installations in museums. Art has always been about inspiring creativity and engagement in the public (as well as spreading ideas and questions, and showing off). Many major art museums are already adapting their exhibitions to feature art that presents questions around many political and social issues and themes of concern today, i.e. racial and sexual minorities, women, violence, climate change, technology, etc. This helps to keep museums relevant, and it also sometimes gives new perspectives on “old Art”. 

One of the problems with social media (especially Instagram) is that the constant deluge of images actual desensitizes us. In other words, all images become alike in content value and are thus quickly dismissed without more than momentary and cursory brain processing. Another problem is that most art and literature that has been digitalized has not been written for or adapted to the new format. One result of digitalization is a change in how we look at and perceive art and literature, as opposed to seeing art in person and reading from a paper book. Sitting and staring at a screen for hours (or even for 20 minutes at a time) is stressful for the entire body, and I believe it also limits the level of comprehension — especially when viewing or reading detailed and descriptive works of Art. In my opinion, shorter works such as poetry, non-fiction works divided up into chapters, essays, stories, etc. lend themselves better to electronic reading than long, old-fashioned descriptive novels. On the other hand, action-packed, cinematic and fast-paced science fiction often works well in digital format. This has perhaps something to do with the eyes’ relative ease in going back to re-read a long and wordy passage on paper as compared to trying to do so electronically. And whenever there are too many words and abstractions, re-reading is essential to maximize reading comprehension. Here Mixed Reality has a promising future. To recreate the reading experience in an exciting, interactive way where the public is part of the creative process and where the entire body can be a greater part of the experience … now that is what I am talking about! The same concepts can be used in art installations and at art museums. Already today many artists attempt to paint so that the public feels that s/he can walk right into the painting. Mixed Reality and Artificial Intelligence can help us develop that even further.

Digitalization has also brought us art giclées. I have written much about this phenomenon elsewhere already. I do hope that the art of the future will return focus to numbered limited editions of etchings, silkscreens, and quality prints, and to original paintings, rather than print-on-demand art giclées of paintings. Art should be more than “just another image” — mass-produced.

While advancing technology is exciting, the future of Art is also somewhat irrelevant as a topic of discussion. This because no matter what digital techniques and innovations are used, that which separates Art from “just another image” is direct human processing, with the brain, the Mind, the emotions, the hands, shoulders, arms, legs, spleen, etc. all working together to explore the Soul of Art — beyond what a computer could ever manage. As long as some artists continue to paint, play musical instruments, and to compose literary works using their senses in combination with functional tools, Art will become whatever it needs to become — both as a reaction to what is at the moment, revisiting and updating older artistic styles and genres, and also posing questions about past, present, and future. We do not need to predict or steer Art or Literature really. Just as we constantly adapt to Life situations and technology, Art will also continue to adapt as it sees fit. 

To understand how we have arrived at where we now are in Art and Literature, we should be somewhat acquainted with where Art and Literature have been in the past and how its development has influenced us. But to understand where the future of Art will be, then we only need to look at the Present … and a few thoughts away. It has always been that way for artists and writers. And it always will be that way.

Now I have made many claims and opinions that some art historians, artists, and scientists may (in part) disagree with, or wish to contest in a laboratory. Good! I want nothing more than to spark questioning, debate and creative expression — as that is, to me, one of the many great functions of Art and Literature … and Science.

Painting: “Breaking the rules of Art and Writing”, oil on canvas. This caricature is a humorous piece, made as a reaction to artists’ and writers’ predators and “home-boys” — CRITICS, both professional, and those self-made experts who always seem to “know best” regarding what good art and literature are, and how they should be made (known signature styles by famous dead artists and writers, repeated and copied — over and over again). “My ‘style’? I react vehemently to being conveniently labeled as ‘this, or that’; just as I rebel against the so-called ‘rules of painting’, or ‘rules of writing’ … or ‘political correctness’ etc. Actually, it is the audacity of these concepts that annoys me. The need for others to classify me, my art, my writing … or anything, is surely an indication of their own egotism, insecurities, limitations, and weaknesses. The closest relevant generic style classifications might be perhaps ‘abstract’, ‘color field’, ‘geometric’, ‘abstract expressionist’, ‘minimalist’ etc. But I always find my own ‘mix’ … with limitless variations. My art and writing are meant to be different and new; and pleasing, challenging and annoying — at the same time.” — Adam Donaldson Powell

 

“The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.”
— Steve Jobs

 

THE FUTURE IS NOW.

Just for a moment

I surreptitiously

Slip through the

Portals of your

Watery eyes and

Catch a glimpse of

The celestial encoding

Of the Matrix.

I wander

Into the light of

Eternal memory

Reverberating

The sacred mantra

Deafening my disillusionment

With the illusion of the

Labyrinth’s dead ends

And in my stupor I

Recall the last words

Of a forgotten incarnation,

Wilting as a black rose

Under a peach-colored

Sky – cloudless and still –

A mere heartbeat

Beyond time;

Echoing its low-grade pulse

As I frantically

Run up and down the

Alleys of La Recoleta

Trying to dodge the raindrops.

And just as you speak

I find myself on my hands and

Knees facing my epitaph:

“Posterus est iam”,

And quite uncontrollably, a single

Teardrop overflows

The pocket of my left eye as I

Recapture our own

Generic moment in

Shared space and time.

— Adam Donaldson Powell, from “After the Rapture”.

“AFTER THE RAPTURE” IS PART OF MY BOOK ENTITLED “RAPTURE: ENDINGS OF SPACE AND TIME”. ORDER “RAPTURE: ENDINGS OF SPACE AND TIME” AND SEVERAL OF MY OTHER BOOKS FROM CYBERWIT.NET OR AMAZON.COM

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