Digital art is in a constant state of flux. With the year underway, we tapped leading digital artists for their predictions on what trends will gain traction—and which projects they’ll be unveiling—in 2015.
Says London-based designer/filmmaker Keiichi Matsuda, “One of the exciting things about digital art is that your tools are always evolving. That means that you are constantly re-evaluating the possibilities, and finding new ways to do things that were previously impossible. Digital art will therefore always have an innate newness and sense of magic about it.”
The driving forces behind these rising trends vary. For some, the technology is becoming less expensive. For others, the sharing and DIY economies are opening up new avenues.
Meet the future head on and look out for these five digital art trends:
1. 3D Printing
Artists in Tokyo, Paris, and New York all agree that 3D printing will be rampant this year. Increasingly affordable and widespread printers—from Makerbot to 3D Systems—have sparked imaginations worldwide.
Optical artist CHiKA, for example, is considering manufacturing modular parts for her upcoming works. Additionally, Floating Point Collective expects generative design to be paired with digital fabrication.
2. Open Hardware
It’s the Raspberry Pi era: the movement to make computing more transparent has evolved from software to hardware. This and other open computers let artists freely experiment with industrial art infused with digital abilities.
1024 Architecture has been working with open hardware from a hands-on perspective. Say co-founders Francois Wunschel and Pierre Schneider, “Everyday it is easier to extend a computer with physical senses: see, feel, act and react. It also brings new people to the scene, from different fields, such as robotics and embedded systems. That’s how we met Jason Cook, robotician, and designed the Walking Cube together.” Through this project, they’ve been able to design new systems that give personalities to their architectures.
3. Augmented reality
Robotics is also boosting the AR revolution. With the advent of Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard, filmmakers like Keiichi are diving in to its uses. Combined with face-tracking and Auto 3-D improvements, the digital-art tools have informed his film, (Hyper)Reality, which will debut this later year.
4. Optical interaction
Art is about connection. Using light and sound as that representation will continue to be a draw, according to both CHiKA and Floating Point Collective’s Jack Kalish. Jack’s exhibit Tides of Change, which opens March 26 at Pier 27 in San Francisco, utilizes LEDs that respond to the presence and motion of onlookers.
5. Corporate Artists-in-Residence
Tech giants will step into the digital art realm in droves this year, as well. Working at a residency at Autodesk, Floating Point Collective has experienced this trend firsthand. Jack explains, “It is exciting to see how large tech corporations are opening their doors to artists to help them push experimental new technologies. Programs such as Autodesk's Artists In Residence, which we have been involved with over the past several months, as well as new artist residence programs at Microsoft, Spotify, and Facebook, are proving how valuable artists are to tech companies.”
Three things have made these digital-art trends surge: Affordability, accessibility, and approachability. When asked what’s most exciting about 2015, Jack says, “It's exciting to see more and more artists embrace and experiment with new technology, and continue to push tech creatively in unexpected ways.”