Electronic Art

Electronic art is a very broad term that embraces any art form that uses technology or electronic media. As such, it includes a whole host of art forms such as music, visual art, dance, and live performance: in fact anything where there is some sort of electronic element. This could include a projection of a digital image as a backdrop to a live performance, or a sample of an electronic music track used in a conventional recording. Many of these fine digital art forms are newly emerging and have only been made possible by the availability of digital technology and the growth of the internet.

Types of electronic art

There are many sub-groups inside the field of electronic art, including digital art, where digital technology is used to produce computer based art, and generative art, where the computer itself produces some of the work.  Electronic music is a popular field with low cost electronic instruments and software allowing many people to try their ideas and increasingly changing and remixing the work of others. Installations are increasingly popular with electronic artists, combining sound, vision and other media in new and exciting ways.

Collaboration

There is a great deal of collaboration between artists in the field of electronic art to combine their talents and expertise to produce innovative and experimental work. Use of the internet has made it both possible and easy for artists to share ideas and to work together in a way that would not have been possible before. Often the internet is the platform for displaying the finished works, as well as the means by which they have been created.

Decode exhibition

A exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2010 called “Decode: Digital Design Sensations”showed recent work in digital design and included many interactive pieces that invited the visitors to influence the pieces directly. In some cases, this was simply walking past the piece whereas in other cases the viewer became the focus of the image (using a digital camera) and could leave behind a record of their involvement.

Interactivity and participation

A lot of electronic work can be interactive, for example involving the use of motion sensors to control when the work is displayed or to react to the movements of the viewer, or by having the viewer touch a screen to choose an action or display. This can give the viewer a unique experience that is different for each individual and can be tailored to their personal tastes, as well as including them to become part of the work.

Conservation problems

Much of the work for electronic art is carried out using computers and this brings problems for conservation. With the fast changing nature of technology, work can quickly become obsolete as the format, software and hardware changes, leading to work being lost for ever. This has led to a growth in the field of preserving old technology to allow these works to be seen in the future.