Thursday, March 4, 2010
Questioning the Tools
Art Without Compromise by Wendy Richmond
Chapter 4: "Questioning the Tools"
Because the subject of Chapter 4 is technological tools, I'll consider all six sections at once. Here, the author considers the utility and impact of the cell phone, digital camera, and computer upon our daily lives and in creating art. By now, I suspect that all of you who are reading this blog utilize these technologies on a regular basis, so you'll be able to relate.
What interests me most are the summary thoughts in each section of this chapter:
The more I learn, the more excited I am about the cell phone's potential to add to my life, and the more anxious I become about what it has already taken away - like my long walks where I am alone with myself. (K.C. - turn off the cell phone an leave it at home! That's what I do.)
Most of the devices that we had twenty-five years ago have advanced in service beyond our wildest imaginations, but they have become increasingly complex in usability. (K.C. - Nevertheless, isn't it interesting how 5-year old kids can easily navigate a computer and cell phone??)
We have a relationship with each piece of technology we use. We rarely ponder how that relationship affects our actions, our choices, or even our creative goals. (K.C. - how true!)
Maintaining balance requires diligent attention. Professionals and amateurs alike, in any of the arts, sometimes wander off their intended paths and get tangled in the thicket of technique... When the work is in balance, technique is neither the hero nor the enemy. (K.C. - a wise statement, indeed)
Do new inventions make us wiser, or do these tools weaken our powers of thought and understanding? Is technology an aid or a hindrance to our ability to be creative, insightful human beings? (K.C. - I could answer "yes" and "no" to both questions)
How will future historians deal with this abundant and wildly diverse data? Will this profusion become so overwhelming that the only way to make sense of it will be to make it quantifiable, assembling stories with statistics and logic instead of soul? In the future, will history be more true or more false? (K.C. - IMHO, "history" is always more false than true because it requires human observation and reasoning, which is always flawed by bias and cognitive limitations.)
I must admit that I have little interest in exploring all the utilities available to me through technology, although I do use a cell phone (rarely), computer (daily), and digital camera (frequently). However, I find more satisfaction in using simple tools like pencil, paper, paint, and canvas. Many of you are much more advanced and so it would be good to learn about your thoughts and experiences.