Home EdizioneEd. 12 Arterà. Possible declensions of the future present of art.
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Arterà. Possible declensions of the future present of art.

Written by Ermanno Ivone [Rhetorical question] What is Art? [Rhetorical answer] “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”] [Existential-temporal question] What is future? [Simple answer] We’ll see. The question “What will the future of art be?” is instead a question that tends to be impossible.  For it, investigative skills acquired through years of Cluedo would not be enough. Probably not even profound knowledge in the fields of art history and fortune-telling would be sufficient. This is because, contrary to what most Oxford people say, art goes where the rules do not yet exist, where you can be individually free while being universally understood. Nonetheless, many on/off line people nowadays are doing their best to predict (like the sedate pale brothers in the aseptic tank of Minority Report with the ever-fugitive Tom Cruise) that artificial intelligence will be the protagonist. Partially proving him right is the first work of art generated with artificial intelligence (remember: ‘WITH artificial intelligence’ and not ‘BY artificial intelligence’) ‘Portrait of Edmond de Belamy’, which was sold at a Christies’ auction in 2018 for $432,500.Unfortunately, later AI (Artificial Intelligence) generated works have not all had as much luck in terms of listing. The importance of understanding the possible future lies in the difference between the ‘WITH’ (artificial intelligence) and the ‘BY’.
Eject - Arterà

Eject – Arterà

  Whoever works for the production of a work – owner of blood vessels, fingernails (not necessarily properly filed) and eyelashes of varying length – is the human being who stands before and behind the generation of that work, although developed with an algorithm feeding artificial intelligence. AI does nothing more than process intersections of information by imitating creativity. (Imitation but no explicit moral crime of plagiarism. It is what, not too unconsciously, we all do. Imitation that defines idea – abundantly chewed – and interpretation). Until now, it has always been the hand of the human being that decided that a particular work existed. It’s a bit as if AI were a camera to be ‘clicked’ on. The example of photography can help our sensitive minds understand the issue. The expression of photography was born in 1826 with ‘View of the window at Le Gras‘ by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (a Frenchman who, as a revolutionary during his years in Sardinia, conceptualised the future photographic impression). The ‘view’ is a black and white image, with the sharpness of a drunken tourist at a bachelor party, with shapes that have little of the, to us, familiar panoramic photography. It is more reminiscent of Rorschach test spots. (You can use it for an improvised parlour game to self-diagnose perceptive aptitudes. For example, I see a Lukassian Star Destroyer resting on the ground waiting to take on Stormtrooper). From then on, the use of photography was criticised by traditionalists and pointed at as an ‘easy advantage over technique’, comparing it with painterly effort and flair. (Doesn’t that remind you of anything?) Charles Baudelaire said ‘photography is not an art. Imagination is the queen of faculties, and photography does not require imagination’.(Dear Charles, go tell that to David LaChapelle if you dare. See Art&Glamour Magazine #11 with exclusive interview with D. LaChapelle).He goes on saying that ‘Photography is documentary by nature. It provides information. It can serve the arts, but in a smaller form. It attests details, clues, but cannot express a plan, an idea or a dream. It is only the residue of a model’. [I only continue to respect Charles because he also said, no doubt under other circumstances, ‘Those who only drink water have a secret to hide’].
Eject - Arterà

Eject – Arterà

And instead, that invention, in the same years as the birth of psychoanalysis, allowed the artists of the time to disregard the reproduction of the world in specific and painstakingly realistic traits, making possible the birth of movements such as futurism, expressionism, cubism and dadaism. Artists began to show the world in a different and, literally, abstract way. This is because those damn artists always prefer to present us with a counter-intuitive vision of the future, snubbing what seems to facilitate the task of expressive narrative. Without the birth of photography, we would probably not find Picasso, Duchamp (both brothers), Kandinsky in museums today. Someone perhaps would have turned, dissatisfied, to politics as a last resort or would have invented coloured keys (to distinguish house keys from pied-à-terre keys). [joking of course. They would still have been lights in history, keys in hand]. So many today use photography to click. So many others – not so many actually – use it to reinvent an expression of their own feeling. Photography has also led to the initiation of a process that artificial intelligences will intensify: the democratisation of art. A simpler capacity for expression potentially allows everyone to express themselves ‘artistically’. A typical case in point is finger art in the sense of drawing through the use of the fingers. On a tablet, with dedicated apps (e.g. Procreate by Savage Interactive Pty Ltd) that facilitate its production or even, more simply, fingers used to decorate a story on Instagram. [who knows how many wonders the aye-aye lemur could pull off if given a tablet, as it is the only primate in the world with an extra sixth finger]. Appendixes and phalanxes apart, the example of photography helps us to realise that there is no need to demonise or glorify the latest arrival. It is how it is used that will determine how good the result will be. Even if we like what is already there, let us not get ahead of ourselves and show education in welcoming new expressive tools. Without exaggerating, however. Let’s not make the mistake we made with the NFTs in which we were enthusiastic welcome masters. NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens) are one of the hailed visions of the future of art. Their peculiarity is that they are unique through their ‘certification’ with tokens. They are digital objects/elements that can be sold and, at least in their early years, have enabled emerging artists and/or digital artists to gain financial recognition for their work. If we wanted to express it in a more authoritative manner, “[ENG “An nft is a record on a cryptocurrency’s blockchain (an immutable ledger that can record more than just virtual coins) that represents pieces of digital media.”] (Source The Economist). After a few years, they have become an instrument of financial speculation and in some cases even fraud. The fact that human beings are always good at screwing things up does not mean that we should stop believing in the instrument. A more qualitative approach and their revival in the art world is a real boost for tomorrow. If we think that art will be driven by digital imperialism, the spaces that welcome and disseminate art are already contaminated by this thirst for the present future. Interactivity is becoming more and more participatory in museum spaces. As is the creation of ad-hoc digital and immersive projects that narrate, in a 21st century key, artists from past eras who used their fingers to blow out candles (and not to zoom in on their smartphones).
Eject - Arterà

Eject – Arterà

AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) are the meta-worlds in which we find ourselves more and more frequently, without even having rung the bell before. Undoubtedly useful in facilitating the approach to things and simplifying access to information. A sort of cultural evolution of colouring books. Which may sound like a downgrade, instead it is a sophistication that helps one ‘enter’ more confidently into the thoughts expressed. Art that is accessible as well as sustainable. Yes, sustainable. More so than the invention of the tetra pack. To be true art, it is essential that it ‘lasts’. A lesson that the noblest human souls have always imprinted on our needs (and which we should increasingly bring back to our approach to living on our Planet). In music and film, too, there is a prevarication of digital alteration that seems to cover all the genuine flavours of emotionality. A perception of loss that is, however, greatly compensated for by the (almost) infinite declinations of creativity, offering us dreamlike marvels with universes that we will never explore but which we seem to be able to touch or hear the sounds of [see the infinite productions of ASMR, Autonomus Sensory Meridian Response]. As if we have made ourselves capable of externalising the endogenous (originating from within) visions of the psychedelic 1960s. As if these (almost) infinite digital aids were a half-line, like the expansion of the universe, like the desire to sleep in on a Sunday morning. It is difficult, if not impossible, to give a recipe for the art of the future. But we know that we do not lack the ingredients. The good rocker of the last century gave us an implicit tip to defeat the anxiety of what will be. “I never think about the future. It comes so soon’ (Albert Einstein) Art is already the conception of the future by looking at the present. And revolution is always attached to tomorrow. That is why perhaps the art of the future is the invention that we do not yet know but which we are already breathing in this instant.

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