Overview by Bruce Wands
As the Curator of the second Digital Salon, I am excited by the work that has been included in this year's show. When present at the juror's meeting, I was struck by the fact that the visible technological influences of the computer are beginning to fade and the artistic vision of the images is growing stronger. One of the criticisms of computer art in the past is that it suffered from either a lack of concept or appeared to be the result of a computer process on a pre-existing image.
Much of the work in this show is representational. Emerging out of the abstract genre and the editorial arena, the work now begins to incorporate the digital influence along with its content. A wide variety of techniques were employed, ranging from scanning, to paint systems, to programming; the most popular software package being Abode Photoshop. Photoshop has taken a major lead in the computer art making procss for several reasons. The first is its ability to modify photographic and scanned imagery. Secondly, it has an unlimited range of effects that the artist can program.This trend of a free-form approach to software seems to be on the increase. Although there are several packages on the market that allow pre-programmed image manipulation, computer artists are gravitating toward software that allows them to transfer their own "look" to the image.
There were a variety of output devices used in printing the work this year. The Iris inkjet printing process was used by a large number of works. This process allows the ink to be applied to a variety of paper surfaces. Some of the larger works are hand colored laser prints. The photographic process and dye sublimation process were also used.
Ther are interavtive works in the show this year. The piece entitled "Menezh Square" incorporates stereo optics that exist both on the screen and in a large mural that accompanies the piece. The ability of the computer to generate stereo images is faster than traditional methods, allowing added depth to an image and the element of three dimensional space to the piece. The use of both the computer and a wall image reinforces the feeling of being surrounded by a large crowd of people.
"Lebuses's Letters" by Mr. Linehan is an interactive piece that tells the true story of three sisters who are trying to find each other after being separated by World War II. Through the use of scanned letters and graphics, the participant is able to look at the story from a variety of viewpoints.
"Beauty Secrets" is an interactive piece that uses a woman's vanity table connected to a video disc player. The pressure of sitting at the table activates the piece; by touching various objects on the table, the participant triggers a variety of scenarios concerning women.
The video portion of the show is a conceptual piece by Mr. Slater that addresses the issue that "Video is Not Dead."
Digital Salon 2 represents a further step in the evolution of computer art. The first show was composed almost entirely of images, with one sculptural piece. This show begins to branch into interactivity and video. Next year, I would expect to see more video/animation and interactive pieces.
Visions for the future of the Digital Salon are to make it available to remote viewers on the Internet. Another compnent will be to create another "virtual gallery," similar to the one created for curating last year's work. This "virtual gallery" would allow participants from around the world to experience the Digital Salon.
Welcome by Timothy Binkley
It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Second Annual New York Digital Salon. This exhibition provides a much-needed venue for computer-assisted art of all types. While some museums and galleries are becoming more receptive to art that is involved with digital technology, there are still too few opportunities for the public to experience pioneering work being doen by trialblazers on the virtual frontier.
Our culture is being challenged to rethink and redesign the fundamental strutures of communication by the quiet infiltration of digital information into most human endeavors from science to commerce to art. Many of the messages we communicate are now digitized and disseminated through increasingly swift telecommunication channels geared to handle information as abstract bits rather than concrete chunks. The much-touted Information Superhighway is callign creative expression to partake of new forms that are virtual and interactive rather than passively physical. The exploratory journeys of digital artists will play a significant role in shaping this dramtic phase in the evolution of civilization.
The lure is strong, but the challenge is great. It is our aim to help foster the development of digital culture by promoting the exhibition and dissemination of the efforts made by adventuresome who lead the way.