What does a revolution look like? Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix shows us the 1830 nationalist revolution in France. Gustaf Wapper’s Episode of the Belgian Revolution of 1830 depicts the same period in Belgian history. Today’s revolutions, however, aren’t painted on canvas. They’re shot on smartphones.

Art is about communicating meaning, emotions and ideas. In the midst of a technological revolution, why shouldn’t we view the changes taking place around us through the lens of art? And, if art is to examine technology, doesn’t it stand to reason that art should use technology?

From virtual reality googles to artificial intelligence making art, to selfie sticks and 3D printers, how are all these shiny new gizmos and gadgets going to revolutionise the art world? It’s tempting to be traditionalist and conservative when it comes to art, but think of all the possibilities that new technology can bring. Art galleries were themselves democratising institutions, bringing art to the people. Why shouldn’t digital and virtual reality art be seen as anything but a continuation of that process?

Curious to know more about the impact new technologies are having on the art world? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).

What do our readers think? We had a comment from Simone who believes that technology is inevitably changing art for the better. She believes it’s revolutionising how we appreciate art, from skipping queues in galleries by viewing art online to having greater access than ever before. Is she right?

To get a response, we spoke to Hans-Olaf Henkel, a German Member of the European Parliament. What would he say?
For another perspective, we also put the same comment to Bogdan Wenta, Polish MEP, member of the European Parliament’s culture committee, former professional athlete and five-time Polish Handball Champion. What would he say?
Next up, we had a comment from Catherine, who thinks that art can only truly be appreciated in person, not online. She’s deeply sceptical of the benefits technology can bring to art, and argues art should only be experienced the old-fashioned way. Is she right?

How would Hans-Olaf Henkel respond?
How about Bogdan Wenta? What would he say to Catherine?
Finally, we had a comment from Marcel, who is worried that the public will inevitably be asked to pay for everything. Is it right, for example, for the European Union to help subsidise the digitisation of works of art and culture? Is it about preserving them for future generations and increasing access, or is it a waste of money?

To get a reaction, we approached Luigi Morgano, an Italian MEP and member of the Committee on Culture and Education in the European Parliament. How would he respond to Marcel?

Think about the wealth of Europe’s archives, and the richness of its libraries, and the difficulty of using these archives or libraries. If they are not digitised, I would say that humanity will lose out, if scholars cannot access this material, if we don’t promote conservation. We can also enhance, for example, paintings and frescoes; viewing them on a computer allows me to enlarge them and see them in greater detail. This would not be possible unless we intervene to conserve and restore work…

How is technology changing art? Can art only be appreciated in-person, or would putting it online allow more people to access and appreciate it? And should public money be used to subsidise digitisation projects? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Lars Plougmann
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7 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Paul X

    I would say it depends on the depth of interest the person has in art . Put up a classic painting online and I’m sure a majority of people would view it and say it looks nice, what a true art enthusiast would want to know though is how it was created and this can only be done by viewing it “in the flesh” where you can see what brush techniques were used and appreciate how the artist built up the picture

  2. Ivan Burrows

    No, a pile of bricks is still a pile of bricks no matter how much some lunatic pays for it.

  3. John William Johnson

    Te internet has drastically increased our access to art. I’m a dancer, i get more incredible videos and images on my FB page in a day then i did in a month before the web.
    With more access comes more good and more mediocre and more bad art.

  4. Karolina

    Anything and everything is changing art because it reflects the world around it. Artists live in this world as well and draw inspiration from it. Also, they try and pass a message to their contemporaries, so for the message to be understood it needs to be given by means and in ways that contemporaries will reach the artist’s contemporary audience.

  5. jthk

    Everyone can name themselves artist, the problem how the product is viewed by others.

    • jthk

      Let’s say, a passport photo, is it an art product? Of course not. However, a photographer can use a camera to produce an art. Which is, having the equipment without the substance, it is not an art. It depends on how well the technology is used.

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