Today’s symposium – the nature of digital

Ed advised that we were going to explore how the nature of information has been changed by digital media is relevant to the creation of art.

We went through a brief history of web coding

  • Writing
  • Html merged format and substance (the first web page
  • Then XML code allowed the separation out of form and content and so made web making site more accessible EXtensible Markup Language.
    • XML was designed to describe data.
    • XML is a software- and hardware-independent tool for carrying information.
    • XML is easy to learn.

Ed referred us to a video that offers some insights into some of the unique qualities digital offers. He then moved on to explore digital in terms of its application in art including music.

The question was raised about how do we sort, analyse, work with information in the digital age? and a video posted the aims to explain this.  and so the premise of the session was to argue that all forms of media are accessible and usable in art and should be experimented with.

While I did not disagree with this point of view I felt the discussion had not taken enough account of possible drawbacks with the nature of digitalisation. I was thinking of its reliance on programmes and hardware that changes so swiftly that it can’t be accessed anymore as new technologies take over; or the transformative nature of the digitisation processes such as compression or lossy transformations that change the nature of the original item.  But these seemed to be ignored in the discussion until after I made the point three times it began to be picked up.

My conclusion was – or more accurately is – because I am thinking as I write this up – that my end product or body of work should include some physical products to address these potential weaknesses. Digital offers a great deal and I am a great supporter of it, but we should recognise its limitations and weaknesses.

About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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