|Published online: June 18, 2014||$US5.00|
Digital technology offers a new venue for artists to disseminate their creative artwork via cyberspace. Though the advancement of technology allows digital reproductions of original artwork to reach out to a wider audience without any constraint, it also raises concerns about the role of digital reproductions in comparison with the original artwork. A series of questions has emerged both in academia and in the public sphere: could digital reproduction completely substitute for the original work of art? If so, how well does the digital representation preserve the qualities inherent in the original work of art? The central issue lies squarely at the heart of an ontological issue: can art in cyberspace live without a body? Leaving materiality behind and becoming a virtual image in cyberspace places the work of art in the ambiguous territory of virtual reality. The scope of this paper is to investigate the phenomenon of art created in a non-digital medium. Its focus is the existence and spatial transformation of handcrafted art in the digital era, rather than art created by digital technology. It is limited to my artistic perspective and experience of working with paintings and sculptures, which are a specific medium in fine arts. In an effort to resolve the ambiguity between the digital reproduction and the original, this paper aims to explore the unique qualities and significance of original artwork, and to demonstrate how digital technology can serve as a supplementary tool to communicate, to be a creative partner, or to be a conceptual collaborator. This earnest endeavor considers three main questions for analysis: 1) What is the original artwork? 2) How does the digital reproduction help viewers perceive and experience the original artwork? and 3) In the artist’s perspective, what is the role that original artwork plays in the digital era?
Assistant Professor, Fine Arts Department, Seattle University, Seattle, Washington, USA