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Digital Art, New Mediums: How Science And Technology Are Opening Up The World Of Art

Image: “Invisible Digital Rebels” courtesy of Surian Soosay via Flickr

While the days of oil painting and marble sculpting aren’t quite dead, they have been joined in modern times by new forms of art shaped by science and technology.

Nowadays, creating and sharing art is easier than ever before, for creative people both with and without classical training.

Here are four examples of types of digital art enabled by science, technology, and the Internet — and how anyone can get involved. 

1. Internet Art

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Screengrab from www.yyyyyyy.info, modified by Curiousmatic.

Internet art, also known as net art, is work that exists solely on the Internet, circumventing traditional galleries. It’s often interactive, multimedia-based, and created on and for the web.

Some forms of Internet art, called tradigital art by some, mix traditional techniques with digital ones to create an image. Other types are experiential and interactive: the final products may be videos, gifs, browser add-ons, games, or entire websites.

Notable work: Check out Michael Guidetti’s www.yyyyyyy.info, Ryder Ripps‘ dump.fm, or the below video by Eva and Franco Mattes.

How you can do it: You don’t have to be a programmer. You can use screenshots, Photoshop, Youtube, OkCupid, Craigslist, Facebook, spam emails, emojis, or anything you want to create your own digital masterpiece.

2. Crowdsourced Art

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Screengrab from The Sheep Market, modified by Curiousmatic.

Another phenomenon the Internet has cultivated in the art world is the ability for extensive online collaboration. Crowdsourced art projects allow web-wide contribution to imaginative creations that are mesmerizing to look at and easy to be a part of.

Notable work: The One Million Masterpiece is a project that aims to create one piece of artwork from the works of one million artists. So far, over 30,000 artists have contributed from over 174 countries. Similarly, The Sheep Market is a curation of 10,000 sheep drawn by online workers.

How you can do it: Easy! Keep your eyes open to get involved in crowdsourced art projects, submit to The One Million Masterpiece, draw a portrait of Johnny Cash for the Johnny Cash Project, or you can even start your own project — provided you can persuade others to help out.

3. 3D Printed Art

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3D Printed “Spherical Roller Coaster” courtesy of fdecomite via Flickr.

Within and beyond the world of the Internet, 3D printing technology has taken many industries by storm, and has proven to be equally disruptive in the world of art.

From the first 3D sculpture of President Obama, to a replica of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, to animations, instruments, jewelry, food and garments, there isn’t much 3D printing can’t contribute to in a meaningful way with the right creative minds involved.

Notable work: Check out Lorna Bradshaw’s gorgeous 3D-printed self portraits, and London-based studio DBLG’s 3D-printed animation “Bears on Stairs” below.

How you can do it: 3D printers are more accessible than ever, and will become more so in the future as the service gets cheaper and more efficient. A 3D printing pen (called the 3Doodler) recently reached its goal on Kickstarter, and Staples has begun to offer  3D printing services in select locations.

4. Bio Art

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“Genesis” by Eduardo Kac courtesy of Dave Pape via Flickr.

Lastly, biotechnology has inspired provocative artists to transform living tissue (even on their own bodies) into works of art, often as performative works, and with the help of professionals, of course.

Notable work: Eduardo Kac took Genesis bible verses, translated them into Morse code, and then converted them into genes which were subsequently implanted into bacterium and grown in a petri dish.

How you can do it: We’re afraid that to make a splash here you may have to know a scientist, or become one. But don’t be too worried — while acclaimed artist Stelarc may be able to pull off an ear grown on his arm, that doesn’t mean you have to.

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Jennifer Markert