Technology Has Upended How Art Is Created And Consumed. Is That A Good Thing?

Technology Has Upended How Art Is Created And Consumed. Is That A Good Thing?

From the outside, recent years have seen a continuous revolution in the world of fine art.

Since their surge in popularity early last year, non-perishable tokens (NFTs) have dictated price tags for digital assets worth tens of millions of dollars. But critics called it an essentially worthless hoax, offering nothing to art pioneers, and accused artists of stealing and inadvertently “making” their work.

At the same time, Metaver, based on Web3, is the new home of this art: Facebook's digital environment has raised billions of dollars, even though its employees have not approved of its use.

And more recently, Art AI (which can create art based on text suggestions or just unfinished drawings) has been formed to "democratize" art, allowing people without technical skills to create examples cheaply and quickly, even if it's only an afternoon. Systems are trained on billions of examples, often without permission or payments from the original creators.

So what does it give? Why has the world of fine art changed over and over again over the past year, being marketed as a profitable artist, but seemingly promoting art production and consumption? Why is there an explosion of new inventions and demands in the world of technology, especially in the arts?

Rob Horning, technology writer and founding editor of Real Life magazine, specifically describes the evolution of NFT: "Technology is intuitive, looking for ways to connect in the art world."

NFT is basically the brainchild of the Ethereum blockchain, a system that effectively records and tracks online transactions. The main goal of such a system is to make the Ethereum cryptocurrency, which uses “value” (value) tokens, which can be exchanged with each other as functionally identical goods, ready for operation.

Instead, the "fixed" nature of NFTs means that they are unique and not interchangeable. This means that they can be linked to digital artwork (which is rarely stored on the blockchain itself) to ensure its authenticity.

Basically, this means that an important part of NFT is the realization of value in the world of visual arts. Although associated digital art can be copied over and over again, only one person can claim to own the "proper" copy.

Horning said the technology had no clear purpose before it created a market for selling digital art.

While the stated goal is to give artists the ability to sell their work without representation, NFT has proven to further segment artists.

While piracy and piracy have proven to be big problems in space, there has been a backlash against the NFTs from the group that were supposed to help them in the first place: young artists finding ways to hide rather than find new ones. Sell ​​your work using and sell your work without permission to artists in tech and crypto subcultures.

But despite the delays, the technology will continue to evolve and penetrate, Horning said, adding that NFTs and cryptocurrencies will be “just as important as the hype around them.”

“For cryptocurrencies to appear in the news, there is a constant push of people investing in cryptocurrencies to get people talking about it,” he said. “And one way you can do that is to have artists talk about cryptocurrencies or artists who do things that involve crypto or NFTs.”

The collision between the world of art and technology is the latest, though unusual, that can be seen with the art of artificial intelligence. Using machine learning models like DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney, anyone with an internet connection can enter a few questions and create the image they want.

Like NFT, some artists rejected it. Artists like Simon Stellenhag, whose sci-fi show is based on Amazon Prime stories from the Loop series , and electronic artist Sarah Andersen complain that the system is being trained in public art, including their own work. This allows users to request that live artist-style images be created, copy their work, and potentially lose their work.

A collection of three original AI artwork created by CBC's Annie Bender. © CBC Radio / Day 6 A collage of three original artworks created by CBC's Annie Bender.

“Artificial intelligence generators are not in the hands of artists today. They are in the hands of technology pioneers.

Blair Attard Frost is a doctoral student at the University of Toronto studying the impact of artificial intelligence and ethical ways to apply it to industry. He says that artists whose workflows have radically changed due to the adoption of AI fall into the realm of "abandoned work". Like Stålenhag, Attard-Frost says she is concerned about how the creativity of AI art will build on the creativity of these artists with little or no compensation.

But this problem appears in many industries that apply artificial intelligence. The reason art is more visible in the art world is the central place that art occupies in people's daily lives.

"Part of the reason 'artificial intelligence artist' gets so much attention is because it's so popular, isn't it?" Attard Frost said. "It affects everyone and opens up all kinds of new possibilities for a lot of people…in a way that these more specialized apps don't really work."

There are several reasons why this technological invention has created such a strong connection with the art world as compared to other fields. This is in part because the industry values ​​sales of art over its creations, says Robert Enright, a senior contributor to Manitoba Frontiers and professor of art theory and criticism at the University of Guelph.

“One of the things that happened, and I think it explains why the NFT missions and new things came out, I think in many ways, is that technical marketing was a very, very important part of that process,” Enright said.

"Now that there is a lot of money in the world and the rich have to find something to do with their money, one of the things they do is pay a lot of money for art."

At the same time, explains Attard Frost, it is a technology that will sooner or later enter all areas of life. They easily took their first steps in the world of art, when the regulation of most technologies was still in its infancy, compared to the "Wild West".

But Sarah Rudy, an American artist who uses new technology in her work, says this is just an indication of the field. The experimental nature of art has always drawn artists to new media and techniques that were not yet widely understood.

While this makes it extremely difficult to keep pace with the changing demands of the tools an artist must understand, and leads to predatory business practices that take advantage of opportunities outside the art world, art and technology will always be linked. He says

"Artists push to broaden our definition of the world and ourselves," Ludy says. "Technology exists to broaden our definition of self, connections and all of that." "So.. our motives are very similar to each other."

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