January 2019

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Art In The Digital Age: Booming or Crashing?

Article Art Digital

How Did It All Start?

Who would have thought that the canvas is one of the oldest mediums of art known to man? The oldest preserved form of expression belongs to cave people, who used to doodle their visions of flesh-eating-lions, their personal belief in God(s) and their concept of family on rocks and in caves that were, thousands of years later, discovered by explorers.

The basic imagery they drew was simple and aimed to portray their understanding of the world around them. After that, more forms of art started to emerge with the discovery of colors and sculpting. At the start of this era, art revolved around the Church and higher class families that wanted to have self or family portraits in their homes. After the Renaissance, artists we know today like Da Vinci and Michelangelo paved their way into the art scene. This was also the period when different forms of art started to emerge including romanticism, realism and impressionism.

And Then Came Modern and Contemporary Art!

The 1800s and the 1900s gave us what we know as modern art with movements such as expressionism and symbolism. As of the 1970’s, we’re now witnessing the era of contemporary art, which is no less confusing, sophisticated or beautiful than any other movement of art known to us. If we were to delve into the history of art right now, you’d end up reading a 15-page thesis analyzing ancient art all the way to contemporary art.

What Happened After the Renaissance?

After the Renaissance, art became desired by many but only few had access to collectable pieces. Despite that, this was the start of the spread of the visual culture; and this is where the digital age comes in play as today. This prompts the question: has the digital age benefited or harmed art?

Today’s Digital Age and Art
Today, it has become easy for artists to upload or digitize their work to gain more exposure; they can even sell their work online. Not only, but more and more digital museums are popping up and more art is being produced digitally. Digital art has expanded and has become just as desirable as traditional forms of art like sculptures, graffiti and classical paintings. On the other hand, many seem to believe that the computer does not do justice in art as it cannot mimic the strokes of a brush; it cannot produce a masterpiece that will make a spectator weep because of its sheer beauty and genuinity. As well, art cannot always be protected online nor can it be as authentic.

…And You?

The ongoing debate arises of whether this digitization of art has been beneficial or harmful to the traditional forms of art; we stand neutral, as we see all forms of art as an expression of thought, mood and subjective beauty. One can’t compare the works of picasso to the works of Murakami for example; the concept, vision and conditions under which the pieces were made all differ. Thus, this remains an open-ended question waiting to be answered by artists, art critics, art lovers and the mass alike. And You?

 

Today’s Weather Forecast: Creative, Don’t You Think?

Weather Creativity Article

Imagine this: it’s an early January morning but it’s pitch-black outside. There isn’t a single white cloud in the sky, only raindrops falling from a greyish background. You squirm around in bed, struggling to leave the warmth of your bed sheets. You strategically think of how many layers you can wear while still being able to function normally. Soon enough, you make it to your office after rushing to beat the nefarious traffic. There, you find yourself making your first cup of coffee and starting with your first task of the day, early on.

From afar, it seems like a romanticized morning in Paris or London or even in Beirut. Up close, it’s nothing but the mere reality of the cruel winter season; the season everyone loves to hate, and hates to love.

You don’t need to imagine the scenario. It happened this morning; in fact, it’s happened every morning since the start of the stormy weather in Lebanon. Despite the cold, gloomy climate, you feel a burst of creativity; a zap of motivation hits you and you sit at your desk to start your work process earlier than usual. Normally, you’d think it’s because you want to finish early so you can leave on time. But according to NYU professor who studies behavioral economics, decision making and marketing, Adam Alter, this sudden surge of creativity is due to the “bad” weather.

It’s pretty common for us to try to keep ourselves busy during dark, winter days. We find things around the house that need to be finalized, we resume hobbies that we haven’t tended to in a while or we simply watch the movie that has been on our “to-watch” list since last year and snuggle up with some hot cocoa. At the office, we brainstorm ideas for pitches and start work on huge projects that we have been delaying for days. For students, it becomes so simple to listen to some music while focusing on calculus or some other subject that they think they’re not good at.

Whichever is the case, we do these things to avoid feeling down in a season that’s known to bring down the toughest of the tough, the season associated with “seasonal mood disorder”.

In Alter’s perspective, “bad” weather opens us up to creativity while “good” weather distracts us. On sunny, summer days, we are too preoccupied by thinking of suntanning on white sand, sipping on our ice-cold beer and taking cold showers to think of the things that really matter. We are too busy daydreaming of where we will be spending our weekends and which ice-cream flavor to get after lunch to care for the deadlines and responsibilities that are now piling on. But in winter, we want to avoid seasonal depression so much that our creative juices get flowing and we produce some of our best work.

 

Humans are biologically predisposed to avoid sadness, and they respond to sad moods by seeking opportunities for mood repair and vigilantly protecting themselves against whatever might be making them sad. In contrast, happiness sends a signal that everything is fine, the environment doesn’t pose an imminent threat, and there’s no need to think deeply and carefully.”

 

Does Alter’s thesis on weather and creativity make sense? I ponder this deeply as I recline in my office chair, listening to this drizzles of rain interrupted by thunder and write this, after having struggled for months to write something decent, or merely just anything.

 

Tala

MAD Community Manager