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Contemporary art in the age of digital innovations

When new technology influences artistic creation

The art market and digital sphere form an innovating tandem in full growth. In parallel to the digitalization of the market, artists are also increasingly including new technology in their practices. Institutions are opening their doors to digital technology and to techniques inspired by the special features of the virtual world thus allowing artists to proclaim their affiliation to this new movement.

Digital art is in full bloom

In the first years of the digital era, digital artworks were rare and generally isolated in black rooms or far from more traditional pieces.

Today, there are more and more art fairs dedicated to digital art. These artworks are starting to acquire the legitimacy of a real medium and in turn are increasingly common in galleries and museums. The New Museum of New York, the Variation fair - formerly Show Off Art Fair - or even the Mercury Theatre Award are examples of institutions and events that focus on this movement born right after the Internet.

Digital art is studied in Contemporary Art History courses and will go on inspiring generation after generation of artists born in the wake of the Internet. The « Net.art » movement distinguishes itself by an exclusively web-based representation of artworks and the use of new technology’s infinite possibilities. Today, exploring the furthest recesses of the web has led this movement to expand to the traditional mediums of canvas, paper or even sculpture, spawning Post-Internet art.

Post-Internet Art succeeds Net.Art

Post-Internet artists have gone beyond the limits of the screen and virtual world to create pieces that are influenced by new networks and the related collective psyche.

This generation of artists no longer stops at the digital medium and explores mediums such as sculpture or installation art. Increasingly sought after by art galeries, these young talents stand out by mastering technology to the point of sometimes even replacing paintbrushes with algorithms.

While some blamed contemporary art of not renewing itself and trendy artists of creating similar if not identical abstract paintings, Post-Internet art came as a breath of fresh air to a generation in yearning for renewal. Considered as one of the most innovative movements in the past 20 years, it would come as no surprise if Post-Internet art were to quickly conquer the biggest contemporary art fairs.

Augmented reality is making its way into art

Augmented reality technology makes it possible, in real time, for a virtual 2D or 3D model to overlap human perception of reality.

Augmented reality or « AR » rapidly took hold of such fields as video games and entertainment to now turn to art. Let the recent spread of apps and tools that combine reality and virtual elements serve as proof. The Google Tilt Brush allows its user to paint in 3D in an infinite space with just an AR headset. For urban explorers, the artists Ivan Toth Depena has set up a track in the city of Miami on which you can discover bigger-than-life virtual artworks with only a smartphone and the Lapse app. The Musée d’Orsay also jumped on the wagon and now offers its visitors the possibility to virtually tour Gustave Courbet’s workshop.

These successful trials at integrating digital tools in creative and artistic practices confirms the web’s omnipresence in our lives. In making full use of machines’ abilities, artists surpass their own limitations, thus prompting the birth of new practices and movements.

Kenza Zidi

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