With the tremendous shift in technology, I believe art is and must shift with the technological advancements. Art originated from rituals, but as time has progressed, the meaning behind the art has since transformed. From being used in rituals, then to religious meanings, art has come quite a long way. However, our experiences with art now can be just as significant as they were for our early ancestors. The only thing that has changed is time and the platform in which the art is being displayed. Just because the circumstances have changed does not mean the art has lost its meaning. Like how the time and platform have changed, so has the meaning behind the art. No longer may we use art as a means to summon a god (well some may still- who knows in our world?) but rather as whatever meaning the artist wishes to create.
In a world of mass reproduction, art is one of the many victims of original works being mass produced. As a result, artists now need a certificate to prove the legitimacy of their work. In “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” Walter Benjamin describes this problem which is plaguing artists of our era. When art is reproduced, does it lose it’s original meaning? Benjamin believes it most certainly does as nothing can be exactly the same as the original, including the time it was produced, the owner, and the condition the piece is in. When art is reproduced in this manner, I believe it is at the cost of the aura. The aura is the physical essence which draws us in to the original beauty the artists themselves have created. However, when their work is imitated (which happens frequently now with technology) the entire meaning is not embodied in the reproduction.
From generation to generation now, computers play a larger and larger role in the lives of children. As a result, the more recent the generation, there is an increased amount of computer knowledge. Computer art is at the forefront of this movement. McCloud says in “Through the door: Digital Production” that different forms of art have switched over to the computer. And with our children’s children art will originate on the computer. In this way, art on the computer is just as original as by hand. Done by one person, at a specific moment, therefore I believe the meaning behind the art is left wholly in tact. The computer, McCloud says has been used to facilitate art, as opposed to creating it from the start. Utilizing these new programs is helping art to achieve meaning in a whole new way only possible because of where technology has taken us. Consequently, the form and platform of the art change, which in turn changes the overall meaning but the art is just as significant as it was previously. James Fallows expands on the usefulness of a computer in “Living with a computer”. He emphasizes how the computer has transformed not only his writing, but for many others including engineers. By making work easier for those who create works of art, the computer is not holding back the meaning, but allowing the opportunity for a new kinds of art to be created. The computer gives access for everyone to play around with art and a new platform for people to put it on in order to get discovered. Instead of hanging in a gallery where only a few people see it, your art is seen by many more online. Art will not lose meaning altogether, the authenticity may suffer but the meaning is always there- even on different platforms.