A Brief Overview of Digital Art
Although the roots of digital art are ancient and varied, digital art came into existence shortly after the development of the computer (Wands, 2006, p. 20), which emerged in its modern form in the 1940s. Human-computer interaction and computer graphics have undergone a large number of improvements in six decades.
During the 1950s many artists and designers, such as Ben Laposky, were working with mechanical devices and analogue computers in a way that can be seen as a precursor to the work of the early digital pioneers. In the early 1960s computers were still in their infancy, only research laboratories, universities, and large corporations could afford to conduct experimentation in the aesthetic application of computers, among which Bell Laboratories was hugely influential in initiating and supporting the early American computer-art scene. The 1960s marked a period of great progress in the development of computer technology with increased interest in computer-generated art. The first exhibitions of computer art took place in 1965: “Generative Computergrafik” in Stuttgart, “Computer Generated Pictures” in New York, and “Computergrafik” in Stuttgart (Shanken, 2009, p. 26), then the Computer Arts Society (CAS) was founded in United Kingdom in 1968. The development of digital art during the 1970s was characterized by artists’ continuing exploration of technology (Wands, 2006, p. 25); a number of artists had begun to teach themselves to program, rather than collaborating with computer programmers. Meanwhile, many prominent influential professional organizations were founded, such as the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH), Ars Electronica, etc. The late 1970s had seen the birth of both Apple and Microsoft and the appearance of some of the first personal computers. In the following decade digital technologies reach into everyday life with the widespread adoption of computers for business and personal use, which led to rapid advances in the creative use of computers, combined with the popularity of video and computer games. During this period, computer graphics, animation, and special effects developed quickly and began to be used in films and television programs; educational institutions started to teach computer art on a formal level. The development of graphics software and affordable inkjet printers entered popular culture and simplified the digital-imaging process using the computer. Much of the works of this period demonstrated a computer-generated appearance.