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Welcome to this Sunday blog piece where we embark on a captivating journey through the realms of art and technology. As an artist myself, I have always held a deep admiration for the boundless possibilities that new technologies present, while also harboring a healthy dose of skepticism.
Today, I invite you to join me as we explore the latest advances in technology and how they can shape the future of our artistic endeavors. It was back in 2009 when I first penned my thesis on 'immersive design,' delving into the fascinating world of blending art and technology. Now, let us embark on this adventure together, uncovering the transformative potential of emerging technologies and discovering how they can enrich our artistic pursuits.

(The blog will include interviews with both artists and technology professionals)
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SUNDAY 20th August 2023

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Title: Bridging the Gender Gap: Encouraging Tech Engagement Among Female Irish Artists

 

In the evolving world of art, the integration of technology has opened new horizons for creative expression. Yet, a noticeable gender gap persists, especially among female artists in Ireland. Understanding the roots of this gap reveals a mix of historical, societal, and educational factors, all of which must be addressed to encourage diversity and inclusion in this creative intersection.

Here at IMVA we are having an immersive exhibition for Culture Night 2023. We are working with Embassies to suggest artists who might embrace new technologies and the majority of artists brought forward were male. We also conducted a survey with artists about 'technology and art' and most artists who work in the area were also male.

 

The historical dominance of men in both art and technology has inadvertently created an environment that may deter women from entering these fields. Preconceived notions that associate technology with masculinity and art with femininity have discouraged female artists from exploring technological mediums. A shortage of visible female role models in the tech-art space has further hindered women's aspirations in this direction. Moreover, biases ingrained in educational systems have limited girls' exposure to technology-focused disciplines.

However, there are strategies that can help bridge this gap. Initiatives involving education and mentorship can demystify technology, providing hands-on learning experiences that make this field more accessible. Promoting accomplished female artists who have successfully merged technology and art can inspire the next generation. Creating inclusive spaces for collaboration and networking can mitigate feelings of isolation, while working with educational institutions to introduce technology early on can challenge stereotypes and encourage exploration. Advocating for the inclusion of technology-integrated art in formal education ensures equal opportunities for aspiring artists. Additionally, offering dedicated grants and funding for tech-infused projects provides the resources needed for experimentation and innovation.

 

Addressing the gender gap in tech engagement among female Irish artists requires a multi-pronged approach. By dismantling stereotypes, providing support and education, and amplifying the success stories of those who have merged art and technology, a more diverse and inclusive creative landscape can emerge. Embracing technology not only empowers individual artists but also enriches the entire artistic community.

SUNDAY18th June 2023

Irish Artists' Fears and Hopes: How Technology Shapes the Artistic World

Writer: Daithi Magner

Irish artists stand at the intersection of tradition and technology, facing both fears and hopes in the ever-evolving artistic landscape. As technology reshapes the art world, Irish artists are adapting to new possibilities while questioning the future of their craft.

Digital tools and platforms have revolutionized art creation, giving rise to mediums like digital painting, virtual reality, and augmented reality. Irish artists explore these new avenues for creativity, but concerns about authenticity and value arise. They fear that digital replication undermines the uniqueness and worth of their work.

Irish artists also grapple with power imbalances in the digital realm. Online marketplaces and social media platforms offer exposure but raise worries about control and fair compensation. They strive to balance technological exposure with artistic autonomy.

Despite these fears, technology presents opportunities for Irish artists. The internet serves as a global gallery, transcending boundaries and connecting artists with a vast audience. Social media platforms offer direct engagement with fans and new avenues for commissions and exhibitions. Advancements in AI augment artistic vision, fostering new forms of expression.

To navigate this changing landscape, Irish artists must engage in ongoing discussions and collaborations with technologists. By addressing concerns and shaping technology to respect artistic integrity, Irish artists can thrive in the digital age.

As the fusion of art and technology becomes inevitable, Irish artists have the power to shape the artistic landscape, inspiring future generations with their creative visions. By embracing technology while preserving artistic authenticity, Irish artists forge a path towards innovation and expression.

SUNDAY 25th June 2023

Immersive Worlds: Will it be a 'thing'? 

Writer: Daithi Magner

Immersive Worlds: Enter a captivating digital realm where artists transcend physical limitations, crafting boundary-pushing art with innovation and imagination. Virtual galleries strive to showcase their creations worldwide, liberating art from geographical constraints. Enhanced accessibility opens a tapestry of visual experiences to diverse global audiences. These virtual galleries create the illusion of three-dimensional art realms. Visitors freely explore artwork from different angles, inviting deeper connections. Interactivity adds engagement, enriching artistic narratives. Immersive worlds offer more than virtual galleries.

Artists embrace emerging technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality, defying conventions and expanding art forms. Virtual reality transports to alternate dimensions, blurring reality's edges. Augmented reality blends physical and digital realms, heightening senses. These mediums empower artists to innovate and expand the artistic landscape. Within immersive worlds, collaboration ignites extraordinary synergies. Diverse backgrounds form vibrant communities, inspiring one another. Ambitious projects push collective creativity, while large-scale installations defy physical limitations.

 

Advocates passionately believe immersive worlds offer unparalleled exploration for artists and enthusiasts. They merge technology and art, transcending limitations. Optimists envision limitless possibilities as technology evolves, believing art can transcend the physical realm. They beckon others to embark on an awe-inspiring journey into immersive worlds.

 

Yet skepticism lingers. Will artists truly overcome limitations or trade one set of constraints for another? Can virtual galleries replicate the magic of physical art spaces? Will emerging technologies become accessible to all artists? Artists and enthusiasts must navigate a landscape of optimism and skepticism. Dreams and doubts collide in this transformative realm, where its true power remains to be seen.

SUNDAY 2nd July 2023

Exploring New Horizons: Traditional Artists Embracing Technology and Immersive 3D Worlds

Writer: Daithi Magner

The world of art is ever-evolving, and traditional artists now explore new creative avenues with technology. Immersive 3D worlds offer a platform for artists to push their traditional mediums further. Integrating traditional skills with digital tools creates exciting opportunities for painters, sculptors, and other artists.

Venturing into technology-based 3D worlds may intimidate traditional artists, but the rewards are substantial. Artists must acquaint themselves with the digital tools and software for creating 3D worlds, like Unity or Unreal Engine. These platforms provide powerful tools for building immersive environments.

Traditional artists can leverage their skills in composition, form, and texture to create 3D models and sculptures in the virtual space. Online tutorials and courses can guide them through 3D modeling and rendering.

Exploring immersive 3D worlds offers the advantage of experimenting with textures and lighting. Artists can manipulate lighting, shadows, and materials to create captivating virtual environments that reflect their unique style.

Collaborating with digital artists and programmers opens doors to exciting possibilities. Merging expertise allows traditional artists to create immersive experiences that blend traditional and digital art forms. This collaboration fosters fresh perspectives, inspires innovation, and leads to groundbreaking artworks.

The decision to venture into technology-based 3D worlds depends on an artist's goals and interests. However, there are compelling reasons to consider this artistic frontier. Immersive 3D worlds enable artists to expand their boundaries, experiment with new techniques and mediums, and reach diverse audiences.

Moreover, embracing technology future-proofs an artist's practice. As technology advances, it intertwines with various aspects of our lives. Being at the forefront of this evolving landscape ensures the longevity and relevance of a traditional artist's creative practice.

 

In conclusion, integrating technology and immersive 3D worlds offers traditional artists endless possibilities. By embracing digital tools, collaborating with digital artists, and exploring immersive platforms, artists can embark on a transformative journey that pushes their boundaries. The decision to venture into this realm depends on an artist's aspirations, but the potential benefits of expanding artistic boundaries, reaching new audiences, seizing collaborative opportunities, and future-proofing their practice make it worth considering.

SUNDAY 9th July 2023

Title: Unlocking New Dimensions: Why Arts Organisations Should Capture Art Collections with VR Technology and 3D Files

Writer: Daithi Magner

Introduction:

 

Virtual reality (VR) technology and 3D file capturing have breathed new life into the art world, offering immersive experiences that transcend physical boundaries. This article explores the reasons why arts organizations should embrace VR technology and capture their art collections in 3D files, enabling preservation, accessibility, interactivity, education, and expanded revenue streams.

Preservation and Conservation:

Traditional exhibition and handling methods can subject artworks to wear and damage. By using VR technology to capture art collections in 3D files, organizations can preserve and conserve fragile pieces. High-resolution scans ensure accurate documentation and archiving, safeguarding art for future generations. Furthermore, the digital format protects physical artworks from potential harm, allowing for their safe storage while still providing virtual access to the public.

Enhanced Accessibility and Reach:

VR technology breaks down geographical barriers and enables global access to art collections. By capturing artworks in 3D files, arts organizations can provide virtual exhibitions to a broader audience. This inclusive platform benefits individuals with disabilities, granting them access to art experiences that were previously inaccessible. Virtual exhibitions transcend the limitations of time and space, allowing art enthusiasts from around the world to engage with collections they might not have otherwise encountered.

Immersive and Interactive Experiences:

Capturing art collections in 3D files allows arts organizations to offer immersive and interactive experiences. Virtual galleries can be designed to replicate the atmosphere of physical spaces, providing visitors with a sense of presence and exploration. Users can navigate through virtual exhibitions, closely examine artworks, and even interact with curated digital displays. This heightened level of engagement fosters a deeper connection between the audience and the art, creating memorable and meaningful experiences.

Educational and Curatorial Advancements:

Integrating VR technology and 3D files offers educational and curatorial opportunities. Educational institutions can utilize these digital assets to develop immersive learning experiences, enabling students to study and analyze artworks in unprecedented ways. Curators can experiment with innovative exhibition designs, presenting art in unique contexts. Virtual platforms facilitate collaborations with artists, historians, and experts from various fields, enriching the interpretation and understanding of art.

Expanded Revenue Streams:

Arts organizations face financial challenges, and VR technology provides opportunities for generating additional revenue. Virtual exhibitions can be monetized through ticket sales or subscription models, offering a consistent income stream. Furthermore, organizations can capitalize on their digital assets by creating merchandise, virtual tours, or licensing opportunities. These avenues expand the reach of art collections and attract new audiences, contributing to the financial sustainability of arts organizations.

Conclusion:

 

By capturing art collections with VR technology and 3D files, arts organizations can preserve, make art accessible, provide immersive experiences, advance education and curation, and explore new revenue streams. These organizations have an unprecedented opportunity to shape the future of art appreciation, creating a more inclusive, interactive, and extraordinary art world for global audiences.

 

SUNDAY 16th July 2023

Title: Interview with Arts Office Limerick for an upcoming Newspaper Article.

Writer: Daithi Magner asking Aoife O'Connell questions.

1. How do you perceive the impact of technology, such as online galleries in the art world? Do you see it as a positive or negative influence, and why?

 

Online galleries are a fantastic way of reaching much broader audiences. The convenience of being able to engage with art from anywhere at any time opens up opportunities for more people to access art. There are limitations to the digital presentation of non-digital artworks that are only experienced in person. For example, the size of an artwork relative to yourself is part of how we experience it and that isn’t experienced when an artwork is reproduced online or even in print. We walk around sculptures, or look closely at paint textures, or stand in the centre of installations, but we need to physically be there. So, I see both pros and cons to online galleries and interactions. 

2. In what ways do you think technology has changed the creation, presentation, and consumption of art? Are there any specific examples or trends that you find particularly intriguing or concerning?

 

Technology has regularly been utilised in art, and I don’t think it is a new phenomenon. It is debated as to whether or not the 17th century painter, Johannes Vermeer, used a camera obscura to create his works. Photography as an art form was questioned due to the use of technology, and now we are in a time of AI art being submitted to RHA Annual Exhibition and David Lester Mooney’s “Throwback Selfie #Magdalene” making headlines due to it being an AI- generated image.

 

Sculptor Eilis O’ Connell’s exhibition “Six Works – Augmented Reality” took place in Wilton Park three years ago. This exhibition, while requiring the person to physically be in Wilton Park – the art works were experienced on site through the use of an app. The app would allow visitors to the park to see the sculptures in situ through their smartphone, but the sculptures themselves were not in the park.

 

I believe artists are engaging and exploring different technologies all the time but it can bring up questions on authorship or reproduction, for example.

 

3. As an arts professional, how do you personally navigate the integration of technology into your own artistic practice or curatorial work? Are there any specific tools or platforms (FB-Insta etc)you find valuable, or any challenges you have encountered in embracing technology in the context of art?

 

Personally, I use Instagram quite a bit. It can be a great tool for visual art as it’s visual based. I follow many artists and galleries on it and can see works and exhibitions that I wouldn’t otherwise. During lockdown, artist, Aideen Barry screened moving image works by students from LSAD, among others, in a remote field in Tipperary. Field Test screened student films on a 16 x 9 foot screen and then live streamed them on Instagram. Barry, and the animals in the area, were the only physical audience. It was great that from the comfort of my couch, I could watch these screenings in a remote field in Tipperary.

SUNDAY 23rd July 2023

Title: Podcast Link

This week I'll put a link to a podcast I was listening to. When I listen to tech podcasts I always try and think how it can help/hinder artists. This man Yuval Noah Harari is very interesting. His comments on AI are mind opening!

https://open.spotify.com/episode/4cDwZmBR7pbGsEM4dVmCl2?si=LZ9dq4TuSXuAndg8No-4Gw

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SUNDAY 30th July 2023

SUNDAY 30th July 2023

I had a conversation with a Berlin gallery owner recently, discussing the art NFT 'Stuff.' My familiarity comes from having held an NFT exhibition in Berlin in 2021, during the peak of the True NFT trend. I believe digital image ownership will likely become more prevalent in the future. I've compiled reasons for both the appeal and criticism of NFTs.

FOR:

  1. Empowerment of Artists: NFTs provide a new revenue stream for artists, enabling them to directly sell their digital creations without intermediaries. This can lead to greater financial independence and recognition for artists who may have struggled to gain visibility through traditional channels.

  2. Digital Ownership and Scarcity: NFTs use blockchain technology to establish unique ownership and provenance for digital assets. This creates a sense of scarcity in the digital realm, allowing collectors to own and trade exclusive digital items, which was previously challenging to achieve.

  3. Global Accessibility: NFTs enable artists to reach a global audience without the limitations of physical distribution. This democratizes art consumption and allows enthusiasts from around the world to support and engage with artists they admire.

  4. Smart Contracts and Royalties: NFTs can include smart contracts that automatically distribute royalties to artists whenever their work is resold. This provides ongoing income to artists and helps establish a more equitable relationship between creators and collectors.

  5. Innovation in Artistic Expression: NFTs open up new avenues for artistic experimentation and expression. Artists can create interactive, dynamic, and multimedia-rich experiences that go beyond traditional static art forms, pushing the boundaries of creativity.

AGAINST:

  1. Lack of Tangibility and Authenticity: NFTs represent digital ownership, which some individuals might find less tangible and authentic compared to physical artworks. They may fear that the emotional connection to the art is diminished in a digital format.

  2. Environmental Concerns: The energy consumption associated with blockchain technology used for NFTs, particularly on networks like Ethereum, has raised concerns about the environmental impact and carbon footprint of NFT transactions.

  3. Speculative Bubble: The rapid fluctuations in the value of certain NFTs can create fears of a speculative bubble, where prices are driven more by market trends and speculation rather than the inherent artistic value of the work.

  4. Copyright and Intellectual Property Issues: The digital nature of NFTs raises concerns about copyright enforcement and potential unauthorized duplication of digital artworks, leading to fears of intellectual property theft.

  5. Exclusivity and Inequity: The affordability and accessibility of NFTs vary widely, potentially creating a divide between those who can afford to participate in the NFT market and those who cannot. This can lead to fears of perpetuating exclusivity and inequity in the art world.

Time will tell us how art is collected in the future!

SUNDAY 6th August 2023

Initially, I saw David Hockney's venture into technology as a departure from his traditional art, almost a "cop out." A decade later, I've come to accept that digital tools are just another means of expression. They don't diminish his artistry; instead, they offer new avenues for creativity and presentation. Hockney's embrace of technology is a testament to his adaptability and willingness to explore art's evolving landscape.

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SUNDAY 13th August 2023

Exploring the Canvas of Imagination: The Future of Virtual Reality for Irish Artists and Art Enthusiasts

In recent years, the world of art has undergone a digital revolution, and now, with the rapid advancement of technology, the boundaries of creativity are expanding even further. Enter the realm of Virtual Reality (VR) goggles, a groundbreaking innovation that promises to transform the way Irish artists create and people experience art. While filled with inventive potential and exciting prospects, this futuristic journey into the art world is not without its share of skepticism.

The Inventive Potential:

Virtual Reality goggles have the potential to be a game-changer for Irish artists. Imagine stepping inside a digital canvas where your imagination knows no bounds. Artists can now sculpt, paint, and compose in three-dimensional spaces, allowing for a deeper engagement with their creative process. For painters, this means the ability to virtually wield brushes and colors in the air, crafting ethereal landscapes that were once confined to the limitations of traditional media. Sculptors can shape their masterpieces from thin air, bringing their visions to life in ways previously thought impossible. Musicians can create immersive soundscapes, enveloping the audience in a symphony of innovation.

VR goggles can also revolutionize the way art is exhibited and experienced. Imagine a gallery where viewers from Dublin to Cork can explore an artist's studio, witness their process, and interact with their works from the comfort of their homes. Virtual exhibitions could bring art to rural areas that lack physical galleries, democratizing access to culture across the country. Viewers could step into a painting, walk through the corridors of history, and become active participants in the artistic narrative.

The Skepticism:

However, amid the excitement, a note of skepticism arises. Critics question whether the immersive experience of VR can truly replace the tangible and emotional connection formed in physical spaces. The warmth of sunlight filtering through a real gallery's windows, the creaking floorboards beneath one's feet – these sensory aspects of art appreciation may be irreplaceable in the virtual realm. Moreover, concerns about the digital divide persist. While VR technology offers an exciting avenue for the art world, it's essential to consider accessibility and inclusivity. Not all artists or art enthusiasts might have access to the necessary equipment to fully engage with this new frontier.

A Balance of Promise and Caution:

In navigating this uncharted territory, it's vital to strike a balance between the promise of innovation and the caution of preserving the essence of art. VR goggles can undoubtedly empower Irish artists to explore uncharted avenues, enabling them to blend creativity and technology in remarkable ways. The virtual art experience could expand horizons, fostering collaborations and dialogues that transcend geographical boundaries.

However, the fervor for progress should be tempered with an awareness of the limitations and potential drawbacks. As VR goggles emerge on the art scene, Irish artists and viewers alike must engage in an ongoing conversation about how technology intersects with tradition, and how innovation can coexist with the timeless power of physical art encounters.

In conclusion, the future of Virtual Reality goggles for Irish artists and art enthusiasts is one of exciting potential and necessary skepticism. As we embrace this innovative leap into the digital landscape, let's remember to tread thoughtfully, holding on to the essence of art while exploring the vast canvas that technology unfurls before us.

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