Futures Past (Book)

Thirty Years of Arts Computing

In decades past, artists envisioned a future populated by technological wonders such as hovercraft vehicles and voice-operated computers. Today we barely recognize these futuristic landscapes that bear only slight resemblance to an everyday reality. Futures Past considers digital media’s transformative impact on the art world from a perspective of thirty years’ worth of hindsight. Herein a distinguished group of contributors—from researchers and teachers to curators and artists—argue for a more profound understanding of digital culture in the twenty-first century.
This unprecedented volume examines the disparities between earlier visions of the future of digital art and its current state, including frank accounts of promising projects that failed to deliver and assessments of more humble projects that have not only survived, but flourished. Futures Past is a look back at the frenetic history of computerized art that points the way toward a promising future.

Category: Visual Arts

Edition

Eleven contributors to this volume reflect upon the unprecedented ways in which digital media have been transforming art practice, study and education. The authors – researchers, teachers, custodians of art collections and picture libraries, and an artist – cover a wide range of issues, arguing for a more profound understanding of digital culture. With the benefit of hindsight it is now possible to look at futures past and assess the disparities between earlier visions of the future and reality. Frank accounts are given of projects which had promised great advances but failed to deliver, and others that have not only survived but continue to flourish. Another account demonstrates how an individual can make a difference to students’ learning by applying new technologies in a very pragmatic way. One of the most exciting advancements hinted at in this volume are the ways in which communities of interest are developing shared resources and cultivating a richer use of common vocabulary and standards to transmit an abundance of knowledge and experience. A look forward to the Semantic Web promises an even wider sharing of knowledge.
Anna Bentkowska-Kafel is imaging officer for the Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, United Kingdom.
Trish Cashen is a member of the faculty of arts at the Open University, United Kingdom.
Hazel Gardiner is senior project officer at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, Kings College, London, United Kingdom.
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