Watching Clouds: Observing the Shifting Nature of Digital Art

By Jennifer Eiserman and Gerald Hushlak.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines the shifting, evolving, mercurial nature of the digital image as it is exemplified in the work of Gerald Hushlak. We use a Deleuzian ontology to frame this discussion. We conceive the discussion as a conversation between artist, Gerald Hushlak, and scholar, Jennifer Eiserman: On the being of the digital image: An aesthetic theory of digital art evolves. Eiserman develops an aesthetic theory that situates the being of the digital image within a Deleuzian ontology as a shifting, moving occurrence that is always in a state of becoming Gerald Hushlak describes his experience working in an evolutionary manner using the computer to make art. He discusses the way in which his images are in a constant state of becoming based on programmed hierarchies that guide the combining of digital source data from digital photographs into hundreds and thousands of permutations, actualized on his computer screens and occasionally extracted as printed images. We intend that the two parallel texts be read in a rhizomic fashion. We ask the reader to allow connections between them to emerge, as the texts in turn connect with the reader’s context and understanding. The paper concludes with a reflection on the importance of defining the aesthetic character of this new art form in order that it evolve within an indigenous, rather than imported, practical and theoretical context.

Keywords: Digital Photography, Digital Imagining, Computer Imagining, Computer Art, Digital Art

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.13-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 543.263KB).

Dr. Jennifer Eiserman

Associate Professor, Department of Art, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I am an associate professor in the Department of Art at the University of Calgary. My interest in the relationship between art and technology emerged in graduate study and has evolved as a result of what I perceive to be the necessity for those involved in the training of artists to provide a foundation in contemporary media to their students. Prior to entering academe, I worked in museums across Canada at a time when museum practice was just beginning to embrace the then emerging internet as a form of dissemination. This has led me to examine dissemination practices that are authentic to contemporary digital artforms, including online exhibitions and databases, Facebook, etc.

Prof. Gerald Hushlak

Professor, Department of Art, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Gerald Hushlak exhibits mural-sized paintings in museums, builds rapid prototype sculpture defined in a three dimensional modeling packaged, cinema 4-D, and plots large Giclee printed drawings (36” X 50”) derived from his evolutionary computing software. In collaboration with Dr. C. Jacob and Dr. J. Boyd, professors in medicine and computing science respectively, he has created audience-driven, interactive computer installations using evolutionary computing. The cutting edge art technology journal, Leonardo, featured their interactive work as their cover story in the summer of 2007. In July 2009, with Dr. Jennifer Eiserman and Mary Anne Hushlak, he presented “A Model for Exploring Anyville: Using Dialogical Collaboration to Create Art about Place, at the International Conference for the Arts in Society”, proposing a new lexicon for landscape art that includes generation of images evolved from digital photographs. This paper is to be published in their upcoming journal. Further, a paper written with Dr. Jennifer Eiserman, “Creating in the Twenty-first Century: I Sort, Therefore I Am”, examining the implications of “sorting” as an activity that redefines the relationship between the formal visual languages and the signification of information, was accepted for presentation at the International Conference on Design Principles and Practices in Chicago, February, 2010. A recent commission for the Hotel Alma allowed Hushlak to further his investigations of this process.