Behind the issues the complexity of their practice raises, the artists approached for this inquiry, unravel this Ariadne’s thread woven out of inventiveness (technology), sociability (networking) and otherness (integration, simulation, immersion). In the digital arts, work is carried out in a rhizomatic, intersectorial and intergenerational manner: it is a winning combination that heightens the innovation potential of the discipline and of the artists who are the node connecting heterogeneous activity zones between each other. A “laboratory artist”(JP Fourmentraux) or worker of the future, a researcher-expert in his chosen field, the digital artist is changing the face of art by overcoming the physical obstacles which may arise when art meets technologies based on constantly renewed and fluctuating data. The digital artist possesses mixed and non-conventional skills in combination with a very open mind and professional flexibility: he is versatile and knows how to renew himself. By way of science, technology and art as generators of new expressive forms, he can thus exert an influence on the world of affects and the sensible, and but also on the dissemination of new theories and new concepts. In the digital arts, innovation is exercised in the invention of dissemination platforms and interactive extension prostheses; the spatio-temporal involvement of the other in the new discursive and textual spaces; architectural reconfigurations by way of light and sound; reactive textiles; new scenographies which fuse real and virtual beings; synesthetic audiovisual projections and performances; the détournement of the functionality of everyday objects; novel and poetic combinations between high and low tech. If innovation is generally associated with the world of industrial research and the emergence of new products and methods revolving around competition and profit seeking, paradoxically, this notion is less present in the art world: yet, aren’t values such as self-reliance, freewill, originality and risk-taking not also its raison d’être? How do the digital arts metabolize the innovation that influences both the creative classes and the companies linked to the new economy?
- Marie-Michèle Cron has worked as an art critic and a curator for over 15 years in the Montréal visual and media arts community. She fills the position of Cultural advisor in visual arts and new media at the Montreal Arts Council since 1999. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Québec in Montreal in the field of the theory of arts and new media with a focus on the rise of the electronics arts in the seventies in Montréal.
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