One of the most interesting social phenomena of our times is the transformation of the present-day temple of traditional art – the Museum. Watching this process can be a bit sad, but nonetheless incredibly interesting, as traditional forms and meanings evolve and develop a new reality, which has already received a beautiful name – virtual. For many centuries, mankind has maintained its fire of creativity in the temple of art. It grew and developed, waxed and waned, and, from time to time, required sacrifice. Mankind began from zero in the understanding of aesthetics, progressing in the vast world of art in many different variations and directions.
Unfortunately, at the very moment when painters and sculptors approached the summit of their technical capabilities, public interest in their creations plummeted. As it turns out, the secrets of the Old Masters (composition of colors, varnishes, and other skills) have been unraveled and are available on the Internet. And with good technique and some researching, any capable artist can now reproduce a portrait to mimic the level of a Rembrandt. Where there is no intrigue, there is no uniqueness. Photoshop has greatly reduced the achievements of the Surrealists and the efforts of the abstractionists. New technological materials have made the process of creating sculpture easy, with the result being that mass production and replication has ended the excitement for viewers.
The conceptual art of the 20th century has risen to the pinnacle of what traditional art can achieve. But it is not the cherry on the top of the cake, but rather the contrary. Conceptualization is the addition of the hidden essence of a subject to a work of art. That is, the form of the art has now lost its value, and therefore the skill of the artist is no longer of any significance. After its initial enthusiasm for the “Russian avant-garde” and subsequently, ”American pop art,” the public has become complacent and, from the time of the end of the last century, has lost its trust in the artistic community. Artists are no longer on the cutting edge of progressive society and have become mere showmen.
For several decades, artists were stuck in place while deciding how to apply new technology to the artistic process and, more importantly, debating ideas and new materials. But while they were thinking these things over, the younger generation discovered a computer, which developed these materials in such a way that artistic ideas began flowing like a river. Take for example sculpture. Traditionally, sculpture was always a heavy, massive product made of stone or of some other tremendous material. As a rule, this meant that the embodiment of the idea was immobility. So, what then could be said about dynamic sculptures? Sculptures that weren’t inhibited by the traditional rules? Ferro fluids are new materials, mixtures of liquids with magnetic particles, which allow the formation of independently moving shapes. These can even be manipulated at a distance. How about moving molding on columns? Or a copy of Venus that dances? Yes, it is possible, even to the extent of superficial textures that change from smooth marble to rough velvet.
Another example. The most widespread architectural form for houses is a rigid rectangular of conjoined walls. Consider now kinetic homes. Soon enough, there will be houses that unfold to let in sunlight, turn to avoid the wind; change their number of stories. Housing lots will be able to adapt to the local nature. But even more remarkable will be the houses that blend in with the natural landscape. New technological materials allow for the adaptation of widely curved profiles in architecture. As a result of this form, the traditional understanding of urban development will change completely. The very concept of a city with a central square will be a thing of the past.
The clothing industry is already beginning to address issues more complicated than the length of skirts or the width of trousers. Materials that mimic the skin, warming and cooling, changing color or becoming transparent, that kill bacteria, repel water or block radiation, these are all things destined to become en vogue. And it is unlikely that this clothing will bear any resemblance to today’s designs and fashions. In fact, modifying bodies (from the hips, to eye shape, etc.) seems like it will be very popular as well. Who needs to spend money on a plastic surgeon when a material can provide the illusion you seek?
New technologies are rapidly developing in all directions and pretty soon people will be ready to move completely into virtual reality. First will come the virtual reality of one’s own devising, based on the traditional aesthetic experience of mankind. Everyone will be able to create their own art gallery, create their own music, play in their own theater, have instant access to interesting information, create and change their own image; anything those of our generation can barely even imagine. But this coming transformation of the virtual world will not have even a hint of our aesthetics, since it will be created by artificial intelligence. Which, quite possibly, will not agree with the principles of our traditional aesthetics and will create its own. Somehow or other, we will have to find a way to live in this new world. In either case, the volume of memory of the virtual world will permit the preservation of traditional art museums for the future generations. Curious art lovers will be able to explore them, and amaze their friends with unusual facts at their next party at the virtual bar. With technology in hand, anything may be possible.
Welcome to the future!
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