Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Impact of the Internet on Art

"Do you believe it is possible for artists to collectively present images of their artworks on the Internet to influence society on a global scale?"

Sure, why not? The ways in which particular websites become popular is unpredictable--yahoos pop up and change the world. Then Googles pop up and devour the Yahoos. The parts of the world that have access to the Internet are, in many respects, globalized; and, furthermore, coincide with the majority of the world's wealth. That wealth, in turn, shapes other parts of the world (parts which do not make popular use of the internet. This is just one consideration with regard to the limitless possibility of the Internet, as an artistic-forum, to generate change on a global-scale.

---Perhaps through Omniphasism, as noted below? Do facsimiles of artworks presented on the Internet have the same impact that they do in the physical world? What aspects of visual communication are compromised and/or enhanced through artwork presented over the Internet to a global audience? Is the Internet impacting people from a physiological standpoint, and if so, how?"

I would leave notions of "Omniphasism" out of such a discussion because omniphasism suggests that the six theoretical considerations with regard to sense-perception are compatible--in truth, some of them are in contradistinction to each other: for example "cognitive theory" and many interpretations of "Gestalt psychology." So, leaving "omniphasism" aside, I would answer the second part of the question succinctly: why not? The factors with regard to how a work of art will be perceived, interpreted, felt, and galvanizing are too numerous and complicated for anyone to even begin to tease out. One could argue that a painting on the internet is equally as impactual/meaningful as a painting hanging in a gallery, or visa versa, until he is blue in the face--and neither argument could find any more or less warrant in modern science, psychology, or philosophy (which are, of course, in many ways distinct disciplines). It is, precisely, as you say, the "physiological" impact that would be debated in this hypothetical interchange. And, to repeat my response in other words, this physiological impact is too subtle, multi-factorial, and speculative to warrant a "scientific stance."

Are humans now processing information differently due to the influence of the Internet?"

Response: This is, in many ways, the most interesting question for me. There is much to say on this subject, and I will only say a very little, but the first thing to consider is the sheer amount of information that the Internet presents. This volume of data, accessible so quickly to so many people at once, is without historical precedent. As a result, people have to adapt mechanisms for filtering in order to make good with the amazing opportunities for informational synthesis that the Internet offers. But, on an epistemological level, there is no reason to believe that the mental processes have essentially changed. This is the distinction, however, between mind and brain, or, in the Thomas tradition, "substance/accidents."

Interview with Benjamin Bliumis, 07/04/08