Art for all! Just one click away
Embedded on the context of the 18th edition of the Cerveira Biennial 2015 (18th July to 19th September), adjacent to the theme “Looking at the Past to Build the Future”, the International Contemporary Art and Museology Conference, focused on the theme of the production and musealization of the artwork in a digital format. We were at the Conference, and since we feel that this a theme with very pertinent information, we have decided to pass along some ideas that were discussed, and use it as a connecting link for other considerations about this subject.
One of the speakers invited for this conference was the art critic and curator Fátima Lambert. During her intervention, Fátima Lambert presented a set of images of artworks, raising a few questions absolutely pertinent regarding the production of art in a digital format. One of the authors mentioned by the curator was André Malraux with his “Museé Imaginaire”, on which he defended that the dissemination of artworks for a wider public should be through photography. Malraux’s vision was that, if we could present every artwork through printed photography, everyone could have access to art. Besides being aware that the photographs did not allow a total recognition of artworks like painting, sculpture or architecture, the French writer defended that this would be the best way to make art accessible to a larger number of people. André Malraux represents one of the first perspectives for the creation of a virtual museum. The creation of digital archives, made by several artistic institutions, makes Malraux’s vision become reality nowadays, making art and its history available for everyone.
Another issue also quite interesting regarding the production of digital artworks, looking at it from a more intangible point of view, is the concept. The concept of an artwork is always immaterial! We are the ones that, subsequently, transform the concept into something else, according to our own interpretations. Regarding digital artworks, the concept assumes the exact same notion, it is also imaterial. Although, many times, the final result is not tangible, the truth is that every art genre starts from an intangible concept. The digital and the traditional intersect themselves and afterwords, in different ways, they transform themselves into “something”.
Obviously, there are a few differences between art that is produced with digital tools and traditional art, related to the medium itself and those are the diferences that art museums today see questioned. A digital/technological artwork, raises a series of questions related to preservation, collection and presentation, which makes the museum rethink the way it deals with art. Nowadays, museums have the need to create entire departments only dedicated to art made with technological “materials” to be able to preserve the artworks in a lasting and efective way. Curators are also starting to work with other professionals, from the fields of engineering and informatics for example, to present this type of art. All of this means that, in fact, the traditional art museum as we knew it is changing, and this change emerged of the contemporary tendency of producing artworks using technological and digital mediums.
The fact that museums are already using the digital as a tool for archiving and sharing collections shows that this is the direction that the artistic market will also take. Artists are creating their own websites, blogs, tumblrs, among others, not only as a way of promoting their work but also as archive. Virtual museums are already online and there are also some platforms that allow artists to sell their artworks. shair is one of those platforms, and allows all of these possibilities: commercialise, promote and even archive artworks.
Artistic production is always changing and artistic institutions have to change with it because, if they don’t, who will guarantee the place of these artworks in history?