October 4, 2011
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John Maeda on Art and Computers

John Maeda reminds us that silly interview questions are bound to elicit silly answers. Asked how technology is changing art, he replied:

I think that computers and the advancedness of computers hasn't changed art very much. It's enabled more to happen. Again, that counts a bit more. Better resolution, longer lengths, more color variety, but all in all it's the same thing. It's what experience can I deliver to you that is provocative, that can change how you think.

This is true, of course: the art speaks, not the canvas. But it’s also misleading – especially for someone whose career has been so closely identified with new media – because changes in medium and style and technique all let us say new things, and let the audience see old things in new ways, and this is precisely how art has always changes how people think since Thespis had the idea of putting a second character on stage and turned liturgy to drama.

O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer,

Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?

O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,

How can we know the dancer from the dance?