Two 20th century inventions, the computer and by extension cyberspace, have redefined how a majority of the population of the world interact and think. No one - except the science fiction writers- could have imagined the impact of these two inventions. Technology and the abstract thinking that goes hand in hand with it have also changed how artists make art. The impact the printing press and the camera had on artists has been well explored. Both of those inventions impacted how artists approached artmaking. Both the computer and internet are also having a traceable impact on artists and for that matter presenters of art. Cyberspace is one of the new frontiers to be explored and now anyone with access to a computer can do so. Exploration is not just for an exclusive few.
Seemingly strange colors and color combinations are some of the key ingredients now found in the so many of the works being created in all media. Many of these colors that are being used have been influenced by the man-made colors found in computer generated images and by extension in cyberspace. How people view space and experience space while interacting with a flat computer screen and television screen have also impacted how artists approach rendering the picture plane in their works and likewise how they create the moving image. How viewers interact and experience artwork has also changed. Gone are the entrenched western notions of rendering and viewing space in a logical or predictable way.
The web is now a venue for all types of work, it is a medium, and it is also a way to track down and be informed about artists, events, performance, opportunities, and the like. On-line zines, such as Big Red and Shiny, and websites have been key in increasing the dialogue about art. Email and list serves have made it that much easier to share information at essentially no cost or very little cost. Technology has had a strong impact on artists and those who present art work in the Greater Boston area. Our ways of thinking and interacting have been changed, in my opinion, for the better. Artists and presenters are now putting equal weight on project based work and ideas. There are new project rooms, virtual spaces, and residencies to support the R&D of new work and ideas.
The Cyberarts Festival, VideoSpace, the LEF Foundation, Turbulence, the Boston Drawing Project at the Bernard Toale Gallery, Samson Projects, the NAO Project, Art Interactive, the Berwick Research Institute, hopefully the soon to reopen Oni Gallery, Studio Soto as well as its collaboration with DoWhile Studio, the Mills Gallery’s new project space and outside of Boston: artSPACE@16 (Malden), Gallery Artists Studio Projects (Brookline), the Essex Art Center’s Beland Gallery, (Lawrence), and Evos Arts (Lowell), are some of the many area organizations that are supporting artists’ creativity at its core. The explorers of today, whether they are artists, archeologists, scholars, scientists, doctors, philosophers, or inventors, are dreaming of and pursuing what will inform the realities and thinking of generations to come. And they all need to be supported and nurtured.
Kathleen Bitetti is an artist and Executive Director of Artists Foundation.