I'm a Goan woman, working in Mumbai as the founder of a studio called Totem Creative. I try to make the world happier, safer and more meaningful. I believe education, knowledge and awareness, art, writing and creating Social Impact are my means to achieve that end.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The modern artist and technology

31st August 2013

I hate that technology can do as it pleases to us. I am an artist. I come from a very creative background. My ancestors used only their hands to do the work they do. They used pencils, charcoal, pigment colors, and papers. Today's artist uses the traditional mediums as well; but with the growing demand for digital illustration, and it's advantages of getting work done so much faster and cheaper has forced the artist to learn new techniques of producing their work. The same goes with the animator. Back in the day animators used papers (cells) and ink and paints. They used cameras to capture every frame on a reel, and project it onto the screen. So many hours went into trying to hone their skills without a preview of the animation. Previewing meant developing expensive film, and so the animator made do with flipping the sheets to create persistance of vision. We solely depended on the naked eye, and groomed it, trained it, and honed it to see art in the broader sense; to define appeal in its own terms, and to be better artists without help. Today, we use technology to work faster and cheaper. The art remains the same, but technology has aided us, and forced us to understand it, use it to our advantage, and eventually - depend on it.

This thought makes me wonder sometimes, how dependent are we on technology? And where are we going with this? If it is so now, what will it be like in the future?

Art by the awesome Carrie Liao
My friend Aakash and I often have long conversations, debating on the pluses and cons of it all. He is a programmer, and I believe his profession and passion towards technology clouds his opinion of its negativity. I, on the other hand, am a lover of the old. I see charm in the past, not in the future. Like most artists, I see glory in the old days, where we had to amend and train much more because things were more expensive and time consuming. We hesitated to produce mediocrity, and we thought twice before expressing our art. Even when it comes to technology, I like the old techology. When Windows comes with Vista, I prefer XP. When it comes with 8, I prefer 7. When Adobe comes up with Audition, I prefer soundbooth; and the list goes on. This is what technology does: it forces you to make do with the way it is built. It alters some neurons in your brain's frontal lobe, constantly adding new information and making it let go of the old. It gives you that wonderful feeling called 'familiarity'. It makes you get comfortable, and then - it changes. It keeps updating itself, and you - as an individual has to keep updating that learning too. The minute you get used to something, there is a newer version available, and all the hardware that came with that software renews itself too, forcing you to update your learning.

But what if you don't? What if you refuse to put up with this crap of letting technology always have its way with stuff? Then, 'Houston, we have a problem.' In our stubborness, and our lack of will power to put up with something else having the upper hand on our choices, we fall back. Our skills still exist, but there are people who can do it faster and cheaper. We are part of the same market, in competition with the people who updated their neurons. And here we are, with a lot to catchup.

It's frustrating how often I feel this. I often feel like giving up learning the tech stuff. I never really enjoyed it, although sometimes when I discover how someone else achieved an artistic effect that I loved using technology I just learnt, I am excited and inpsired! My brain urges me to give technology and it's crap another shot. We are interdependent, although such old foes.

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