The Computer Medium in Digital Art's Creative Process

The Computer Medium in Digital Art's Creative Process

Adérito Fernandes Marcos (Universidade Aberta, Portugal), Pedro Branco (University of Minho, Portugal) and João Álvaro Carvalho (University of Minho, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-352-4.ch001
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Art objects might be described as symbolic objects that aim at stimulating emotions. They reach us through our senses (visual, auditory, tactile, or other). They are displayed by means of physical material (stone, paper, wood, etc.) and combine some patterns to produce an aesthetic composition. They convey some message, normally to suggest some state of mind or to induce an emotion and the consequent feeling on the side of the viewer. Digital art differs from conventional art pieces by the use of computers and computer-based artifacts that manipulate digitally coded information, inheriting the almost unlimited possibilities in interaction, virtualization and manipulation of information the computer medium offers. In this chapter the authors propose to analyze and discuss the concepts and definitions behind digital art, emphasizing how the computer medium is itself the tool and the raw material in its creation, especially if we stress the fact that the conception and design of artistic information content is at the heart of any artistic work. Furthermore the authors present a framework for digital art creation that consists of a common design space where digital artists can smoothly progress from the concept until the final artifact while exploring the computer medium to its maximum potential.
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Arts and culture are social phenomena, consequential of the social interaction, of the individual and collective imaginary manifestations, that together establish a common communicational and informational space embracing artifacts said to be cultural and artistic. These artifacts, where some are possibly non-tangible, constitute, in fact, the resulting product from the artistic and cultural phenomenon. They are expressions of our imagination.

In this respect, the common communicational and informational space is created by the process of collaboration among a group of people who communicate and operate together by sharing the same interests and goals. Information or information content, meaning the intended message of each artifact, is a central constituent of the common communicational and informational space. Accordingly, artistic artifacts, may these be of digital or physical nature can be defined as informational objects.

Art objects might be described as symbolic objects that aim at stimulating emotions. They reach us through our senses (visual, auditory, tactile, or other). They are displayed by means of physical material (stone, paper, wood, etc.) and combine some patterns to produce an aesthetic composition. Like any art object, digital art objects are informational in nature; they are symbolic and purposeful built. Their creator intends to convey some message, normally to suggest some state of mind or to induce an emotion and the consequent feeling. They differ from conventional art pieces by the use of computers and computer-based artifacts that manipulate digitally coded information, what opens unlimited possibilities in interaction, virtualization and manipulation of information.

The computer medium is defined here as the set of digital technologies ranging from digital information formats, infrastructures to processing tools that together can be observed as a continuum art medium used by artists to produce digital artifacts.

When we consider the creative process itself, we can establish its beginnings when the creator gets an hold of the first concept or idea resulting from his/her subjective vision, gradually modeled into a form of (un)tangible artifact. It constitutes the message, this about something, the artist wants to transmit to the world. When digital content is used in this process, it can be both the means and the end product. On one hand, the digital content can be explored as the means to create non-digital artifacts, as for instance, digitally altered paper-based photography, and, on the other hand, be the end-result intended as it is the case in animated comics (Marcos, 2007).

In fact, digital art applies the computer medium both as raw material (e.g. the digitally coded information content) and as a tool of enhancing creativity. Notice that raw material is related here to unprocessed (or in minimally processed state) material that can be acted by the human labor to create some product. Similarly, digitally coded information content can be manipulated by digital artists to create artistic objects. When in the creative process, digital artists apply information content along with technologies from multimedia, virtual reality, computer vision, digital music and sound, etc. as also the information and communication infrastructure available such are the internet, presentation devices, and storage arrays, among others, to create interactive installations and generate digital artifacts. Therefore, the computer medium traverses effectively all the stages of the creative process, from concept drawing until the final artifact production and exhibition. Today’s powerful editing and programming tools make it possible to an artist to modify, correct, change and integrate information content as valuable raw material in the creative process, that may be presented in several digital formats such are text, image, video, sound, 3D objects, animation, or even haptic objects.

Moreover, artistic communities need to have access to common technological infrastructures that facilitate collaboration (collaborative editing, annotating, etc.), communication and sharing of work experiences, of materials, being these, unprocessed digital content or final artifacts, activities that are essential for a soft progress from the starting concept to the final artwork. We argue here that as in other human activities, artistic creation benefits from the collaboration within a community of equals while having access to materials and tools. Such common information space is in effect a creative design space; thought design (in the sense of shaping) is the fundamental activity in the creative process of digital art.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Artistic Digital Artifact: Is a designed thing built around a core of digital technology, embracing digitally coded information content displayed by means of digital media or a combination of digital and physical components. The artifact acts as a materialization of a message, a piece of information, throughout the presentation of information content while enhancing a perceptive experience on side of the user. Artistic digital artifacts can also be seen as informational objects.

Common Creative Design Space: In digital art is defined as the collection of infrastructures, tools and technologies that enables the generation of artistic content, the storage, transmission and exchange of digital data while providing the exhibition space for access to information and content by both specialists and the public.

Digital Art: Is defined as art that explores the computer medium (tools, technologies and digitally coded information content) as a tool and material for creation.

Computational Aesthetic: Is not a proper term for a digital art branch. This is a term widely used in the art and science communities devoted to the exploitation of information and communication technologies in the creation of new aesthetic forms. Computational aesthetics bridges the analytic and synthetic and integrates aspects of computer science, philosophy, psychology, and the fine, applied and performing arts and seeks to facilitate both the analysis and the augmentation of creative behavior.

Information Digital Content: Is defined as informative material of digital nature that holds the ability to be acted to transmit a message.

Design in Digital Art: Is the process that is arranged within existing digital resource constraints to create, shape, and decide all message-oriented aspects (concept, narrative, experience, technology, and aesthetic) of a digital artifact.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Gabriele Meiselwitz
James Braman, Giovanni Vincenti, Goran Trajkovski
James Braman, Giovanni Vincenti, Goran Trajkovski
Chapter 1
Adérito Fernandes Marcos, Pedro Branco, João Álvaro Carvalho
Art objects might be described as symbolic objects that aim at stimulating emotions. They reach us through our senses (visual, auditory, tactile, or... Sample PDF
The Computer Medium in Digital Art's Creative Process
Chapter 2
Salah Uddin Ahmed, Letizia Jaccheri, Guttorm Sindre, Anna Trifonova
The interaction between art and technology, especially computing technology, is an increasing trend in the recent years. The context of this... Sample PDF
Conceptual Framework for the Intersection of Software and Art
Chapter 3
Joseph William Pruitt
The purpose of this chapter is to define the roles of engineering and design within the product development cycle looking at both the scientific and... Sample PDF
The Design of Engineering
Chapter 4
Jim Bizzocchi, Belgacem Ben Youssef
The chapter describes the synergistic integration of distinct research and creation agendas, each firmly grounded in its own set of practices and... Sample PDF
Ambient Video, Slow-Motion, and Convergent Domains of Practice
Chapter 5
Ethan Ham
Randomness is a slippery term that conveys different meanings in different disciplines. In mathematics, an individual number is random when there is... Sample PDF
Randomness, Chance, & Art
Chapter 6
Holography: Re-Defined  (pages 103-112)
Martin Richardson, Paul Scattergood
When writing this chapter it became apparent that we were not only exponents of digital holography, but also the critics. This is a problem when it... Sample PDF
Holography: Re-Defined
Chapter 7
Lorenzo Picinali
What is the real potential of computer science when applied to music? It is possible to synthesize a “real” guitar using physical modelling... Sample PDF
3D Sound Simulation over Headphones
Chapter 8
Raphael DiLuzio
This is a guide for working with a visual art form using a digital time-based medium. This chapter will provide an overview of the necessary... Sample PDF
Broken Cinema: The Eye and Hand in a Time-Based Art
Chapter 9
Ambivalent Interplay  (pages 146-161)
Heejoo Kim
The human vision, the most ubiquitous receptor of the human senses, has been the prevailing sensory organ for a noticeable manifestation of visual... Sample PDF
Ambivalent Interplay
Chapter 10
Yueh Hsiu Giffen Cheng
The development of net art originates from the rising of net media generally. During the past two decades, Net art has overthrown the standards of... Sample PDF
The Aesthetics of Net dot Art
Chapter 11
Nicola Quinn, Annette Aboulafia
People have used tools for artistic expression for millennia. Relatively recent is the use of digital technology to afford the creation of art.... Sample PDF
A Graphics Tablet as a Fine Art Tool
Chapter 12
Greg J. Smith
This text seeks to contextualize the history of and discourse surrounding information visualization. It positions visualization in relation to... Sample PDF
Information Visualization and Interface Culture
Chapter 13
Benjamin David Robert Bogart
“Memory Association Machine” (also known as “Self-Other Organizing Structure #1”) is the first prototype in a series of site-specific responsive... Sample PDF
Memory Association Machine
Chapter 14
Stefano De Luca, Eugenia Benelli, Francesco Altarocca, Dario Dussoni
Designing good and sound architectural projects is a hard job. Generally these kinds of projects involve many stakeholders, everyone with his/her... Sample PDF
EVO-PARK: Designing Better Architecture Projects Using Participated and Interactive Genetic Algorithms
Chapter 15
Sergiy Rakov, Viktor Gorokh, Kirill Osenkov
The chapter discusses the possibilities modern IT opens for Mathematics and its applications to real life, in particular to Art – by an example of... Sample PDF
Mathematics, Computer Mathematical Systems, Creativity, Art
Chapter 16
Jim Barta, Ron Eglash
Students who may typically view mathematics as a sterile and disjointed subject are learning new skills and concepts using a suite of virtual design... Sample PDF
Teaching Artful Expressions of Mathematical Beauty: Virtually Creating Native American Beadwork and Rug Weaving
Chapter 17
Mia Kalish
One visualization in Diné philosophy is four small dots arranged in a circular sequence at 90°, 0°, 270°, and 180°. Each position is associated with... Sample PDF
Visual Analytics and Conceptual Blending Theory
Chapter 18
Lindsay Grace
Enculturation is the act of passing cultural ideologies from one person to the other. It is what breeds innovation instead of new creation. It is... Sample PDF
The Challenge of Enculturation on Art
Chapter 19
Lindsay Grace
Software is philosophical. Software is designed by people who have been influenced by a specific understanding of the way objects, people and... Sample PDF
The Philosophies of Software
Chapter 20
Technological Social-ism  (pages 343-374)
Judson Wright
Culture is a byproduct of our brains. Moreover, we’ll look at ways culture also employs ritual (from shamanistic practices to grocery shopping) to... Sample PDF
Technological Social-ism
Chapter 21
Stephen A. Schrum
As creative people inhabit virtual worlds, they bring their ideas for art and performance with them into these brave new worlds. While at first... Sample PDF
Theatre in Second Life® Holds the VR Mirror up to Nature
Chapter 22
Machinima in Second Life  (pages 396-416)
Stephany Filimon
This chapter provides a brief history of machinima, films created by computer users within virtual worlds, and focuses on machinima produced within... Sample PDF
Machinima in Second Life
Chapter 23
Andrew Jinman
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are becoming an increasingly popular recreational activity for social engagement.... Sample PDF
Player Motivation and Understanding Game Dynamics
About the Contributors