NEW MEDIA IN ART: WHERE DOES THE ART HAPPEN?
Karen Fish and Karishma Galani
New Media in Art
Technology is part of young people's DNA. Using new media in the creation of an artwork is not
something new. Look what John Goffe Rand’s invention of the paint tube in 1841 did to painting! What’s
new is the rapid growth in cheap accessible technology available to be co-opted for creative purposes.
Young people are not afraid of technology. In fact they are often more afraid of traditional art media.
Ask them to draw and they will quiver with fear. Ask them to use their computer to edit an image and
there is no hesitation. Using new media allows art students to take that comfort level with technology
and link it with their creative and critical thinking to create new and sometimes unexpected art.
Any contemporary gallery or museum that one visits today is full of examples of work that involves the
use of technology. At first I wondered “Wow. How did they do that?” But now what I’m coming to
realize is that the technology employed is often not that complicated. Rather what makes it art is the
‘idea’ that drives the artwork and is communicated to the audience.
The Idea is the Most Important Thing
I saw a recent exhibition in Paris at the Centre Pompidou where clothing was suspended from the
ceiling. Using motors and a little programming the clothing danced. It was lyrical and quite beautiful. My
students loved it and we all stood mesmerized. Then one of them said, "We could make that.” Another
said, “Yeah we could, but we didn’t think of it…” And they were right. It is the idea, not the technology;
that is where the art lies. They did not stand in front of a Leonardo da Vinci in the Louvre and say I can
do that! So what this means to me is that the revolution in art is that using new media makes the idea
the most important thing. It is all about the thinking. For centuries art has been about the development
of exquisite and highly developed skills. Now it is becoming more and more about the concept.
In mid-September, the ASB welcomed forty art students from all over Asia to take part in the SAISA Arts
Festival held in Mumbai. This three day event offered students with three tracks: sculpting, painting, and
new media. Students chose one track to be immersed in for the three days of the festival. Members of
the R&D department worked with us to run the new media in art track. The theme was Contra/plexity:
The Contrasts and Complexity of this Megacity, Mumbai.