300 Words by Kevin Costello
This electronic world we share is an inheritance of the Industrial Revolution with its specializations, standardizations, and synchronizations; itself a consequence of the Rationalism of the Enlightenment and the empathetic musings of (humanistic) Renaissance mathematicians – a world codified in our own time in emails, websites, and the mobile GPS. It took the Geeks 500 years to deliver the mail. Now we are sharing where we are on-line in a nanosecond and encounters are left less and less to chance. Forget Bogart and Bacall. Romantic meetings in the rain are so yesterday. Besides, water could screw up your cell in a moment of inspirational sexting. Also, on-line video contests on YouTube (with their Leviathan imaginary audience) are far more visceral to a teen than a family argument. Facebook et al has brought us to self-validation as a life style and there is no going back from this technological fulcrum of cultural self examination, or lack thereof. On-line self portraiture is the personification of our icon driven age.
What all this means to artists is important because the speed by which a culture moves its population and information is in direct relation to how we conceptualize our art. The psychological speed of our design sense is determined by these two factors: The massive scale of available on-line information (not ideas which are different) has made the artist a sort or Harlequin. In order to be relevant and strong intellectually, the artist must be both solipsist and clown with tambourine in hand beating the pulse of the information age even if its medium of expression is unplugged.
The British artist David Hockney drew the June 13 and 20, 2011, covers of The New Yorker on his iPad. Previously, he drew two covers on his iPhone. Today Hockney says his iPad is “my sketchbook at the moment.” Hockney will be exhibiting new work at London’s Royal Academy in 2012. The exhibition will consist of approximately 70 of his iPad drawings depicting “winter slowly turning into spring.” Now that the Geeks have got us here after all this (with the pace and pulse faster than a speeding server), are we right to assume art will not only change its significance and appearance it may change the inner lives of the children of the computer screen in ways beyond anything known before to the paint brush pushers?