Art in the Time of Coding

Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti
Technology Can Power Creativity has been the title of the Harrow Conversation of the 30 October.
Steve Vranakis, executive Creative Director of Creative Lab, Google, has been invited to talk about the role of technology, which is now a key element in our lives.

Coding is an easy word to explain the apparently complicate system of rules which enable to convert a sequence of symbols (letters and graphics) into a media element – such as an image, a word, or a sound. In short, the method to create a webpage or a digital item.

It is extremely important not only in the medical and administrative areas, but it could be useful also to develop a new idea of Art.

Even if the artistic sector is often considered a luxurious hobby, coding could by the lever by which transform it.
A different Art for a different world, where the people need more urges and still want to be surprised.

The main focus of the meeting has been the DevArt, a digital, coding, and public platform which involves the audience.
An Open Source consists of material licence-free. Linux is an operating system well known just because everyone can download it, improve it, and re-share the final product on the Web.

DevArt could well be considered an open source platform for Art. The approach, in comparison with the traditional Art, is totally different.

A tourist is a person who travels, buys a ticket, and spends his time around an artwork preserved in a museum or in a gallery.
By the publication on the web and, specifically, via this kind of platform, conversely, everybody is allowed to get use of the material, re-invent, and build on what has just been made by someone else. That is the benefit of a licence-free product.
The absence of copyright enlarges the potentialities of the artist – or of the amateur artist.

Technology becomes the canvas where the artists are able to give a shape to their thoughts. Codes are the new brushes and paints.

“When you are in there, you have a world of possibilities”, Mr Vranakis said.
They have tried to give birth to a source of inspiration for everybody. “It empowers the brain power of the community”.

Digital Revolution is the name of the engaging exhibition which has taken place at the Barbican Centre – from the 3 July to the 14 September 2014.

The artists commissioned for the exhibition were three.
Zach Lieberman created Play the World, a keyboard where the piano keys were connected not to simple notes, but to the radio stations of different countries in the world.

Karsten Schmidt developed Co(de)Factory, that is essentially a 3d printer to materially create your ideas: the person involved manipulates its raw concept and afterwards he can see the real creation of it.

Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet were the duo which gave birth to the Wishing Wall, a cone where the desire of the observer turned into a butterfly, with its own features – that is, different butterflies made of their own codes.

In February, DevArt launched a global initiative to look for a fourth interactive artist. The reward was a commission from Google, in association with the Barbican.
Les MĂ©tamorphoses de Mr. Kalia, by Cyril and BĂ©atrice, won the competition. The artists were supported by Google Developer and the Barbican to develop their project into a digital installation.

Along with this exhibition, the Barbican opened its doors also to the inexpert but extremely creative artists of tomorrow: the children.
Young Creators is a programme which made the kids interactive and let them learn about coding in a playful and easy way. The workshops, which had the commissioned artists as teacher, tried to carry on the original idea: inspire the other people.

The aim of Art should be to empower the people who admire it.
Creativity is the element which prompt our lives.
In the current and more frenetic world, these two concepts should get along with a third ingredient: Technology.

Steve Vranakis, with the DevArt team and the Barbican Centre, has made a try. The purpose, as Vranakis said, is easy and challenging at the same time: to “take ordinary people and give them extraordinary abilities”.

Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti