What is the future of art? It’s a daunting question, to be sure, even for the most prescient of art theorists. Most people would have a hard time explaining the present state of the art world, much less making conjectures about where it will be in 10-20 years. Nevertheless, this is exactly the question the the team from creative studio KS12 strive to answer in their “immediated documentary” on Future of Art, which was shot, edited and screened at Transmediale.11, a new media art festival that took place in Berlin last week. The film compiles interviews and footage from artists, bloggers, curators and media theorists participating in the festival and features some of our favorite media artists opining on everything from networked aesthetics to changing models of patronage.
The project is a collaborative effort that uses social media as a distributed storytelling platform, using Twitter, Flickr, Soundcloud, Quora, and Vimeo to collect images, questions, answers, and videos to incorporate into their project. The entire project—both the works submitted by contributors and the final documentary—is licensed under Creative Commons licensing to make this collaborative effort one that is available and free to share. Gabriel Shalom, who conceived and edited the project, explains the immediated documentary as “a video sprint. Basically, we’re making a whole documentary film in a very short amount of time.”
The video raises questions like: What are the defining aesthetics of art in the networked era? How is mass collaboration changing notions of ownership in art? How does micropatronage change the way artists produce and distribute artwork? And offers up some thought-provoking insight from visionary artists like Aaron Koblin, Vincent Moon, Zeesy Powers, and Reynold Reynolds.
I think I’m mostly interested in ways that people can work together through the internet to create things that would otherwise be impossible. — Aaron Koblin
The artists marvel at how the internet has changed everything. The volume and accessibility of information available today breeds an unprecedented, high-speed mashup culture of cross-pollination where the origination of an idea isn’t nearly as important as what you do with it. Technology offers them the ability to experiment and iterate like never before, to try their hand at new mediums, to collaborate with a vast global network of peers. But the artists in this video are not just blind champions of technology ready and willing to feed you the “party line” and sell you on the virtues of creating art with a computer. They approach the subject with considered reservation and thoughtfulness—everyone acknowledges that technology for technology’s sake doesn’t make for good art, it’s about using the right tool at the right time, and it’s often the simplest projects that have the greatest impact.
There’s something really magic and beautiful about being able to take something that was created for one purpose and then put it towards your art practice and make something really new and beautiful and meaningful with that. On the other hand, I’m not necessarily excited by a technology just because it’s new or just because it’s available. There has to be a reason underlying why it’s being used to in some way support or enhance the meaning of what you’re making. — Zeesy Powers
Aside from the aesthetics of art, the video also discusses how the value and funding of art is changing. Artists are no longer cloistered recluses holed up in a garret somewhere, they are participants in a global community, and that communitiy can be galvanized to support their artistic efforts, especially with resources like crowdfunding platform Kickstarter now at our disposal.
So what does the future of art look like? Well, we’re not sure, but it sounds a lot like Inception. It’s interesting to see that more than nearly a century after the birth of Surrealism, the concept of creating art that is drawn from the unconscious, the desire to explore our dream worlds and share them with others, still captivates artists’ imaginations.
Check out the documentary above and KS12’s Vimeo channel for the full interviews with the individual artists.