Is Digital Art really Art? Can digital artists slug it out with the big boys? As little more than genre artists or craftspersons, do they even deserve an arts prize? Ironically, Imaginaria could prove to be more useful as a catalyst for the exposure of a long-simmering antipathy between two worlds - that of 'digital art' and that of 'contemporary art' or 'art' - and their accompanying discourses than as a catalyst for elevating the status of the dubious category of digital art to a 'serious' cultural practice. We should thank Cap Gemini for this, if nothing else.
With a deep curtsey in the direction of all the platitudes, terminological contradictions, historical omissions, generalisations and false homogenisations that are part of such a venture, we asked Ewan Morrison and Matthew Fuller to hypothesise why it is exactly that the art world both hates and loves digital art.
The art world hates Digital Art. The ICA's show Imaginaria, which sets out to show the best of Digital Art 1997-1998, has helped clarify the reasons why Digital Art is shunned by the art world, and why it will never be accepted into the canon of high art. The following is a list of reasons why 'Digital Art' will not be accepted as fine art.1. A new art form - give it up! Art is dead. There is nothing more futile than aspiring to the condition of art at a time when giving up art is the only legitimate art form. Since Baudrillard claimed that art is dead, and continues to exist only as a simulation of its former self, the only way to make art has been to endlessly replay the death of art - to take 'the authentic' and show that it is a simulation. Digital Art seems to start from a misreading of Baudrillard: it attempts to make art out of simulacra and then claim authenticity for its own products...Ewan Morrison utilityfilms AT btinternet.com
7. The art world loves digital art because someone other than the Royal Society of Portrait Painters has to take the conventions of pictorial representation into the future. Whilst virtual worlds might still be to the mid-nineties what Roger Dean album covers were to the mid-seventies, the onward march of technology will one day surely permit an upgrade-obedient artist to produce a final form of perfection: an utter conformity to perceptual mechanisms whose perspectival instructions permit viewing only by the most perfected of subjects. At this sublime moment being empties in entirety onto a computer and thus perhaps allows isolation on a hard drive to be stored or destroyed. Matthew Fuller matt AT axia.demon.co.uk