Look at any photograph or work of art. If you could duplicate exactly the first tiny dot of color, and then the next and the next, you would end with a perfect copy of the whole, indistinguishable from the original in every way, including the so-called “moral value” of the art itself. Nothing can transcend its smallest elements.
CEO Nwabudike Morgan, “The Ethics of Greed” in “Alpha Centauri”
While the introductory quote can be discussed critically — after all, the artist didn’t touch the replicated atoms, didn’t put them himself in place — what about digital art?
Imagine Picasso had used an iPad and Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile (given that it would have been available) — what would we put in a museum?
We’re not talking about reproduction here, but about an artwork that is purely digital, never was anything but bits and bytes. There is no original. It would also make no difference seeing the same digital image on one’s PC at home (excluding the effect of the setting itself). So, what can you put on display?
Do you exhibit the iPad Picasso had drawn on, preferably with the image still in the graphic program? Something the artists has touched? Or does a museum loose its value? Does it become superfluous, because the work can be everywhere? Or shouldn’t real artists embrace digital, even though most writers readily accepted typewriters and personal computers? Should artists print out the work and sign it themselves on that print, to give it a unique touch? Or does it not matter and reproductions are still worthy of being exhibited, like works of digital photographers are exhibited?
What do you think?