“The increasing digitalization of our culture has consequences for art.” Not a very strong opening for a press release for the show ‘Deep Screen – Art in Digital Culture’at the Stedelijk Museum CS in Amsterdam. It actually made me yawn with utter boredom instead of filling me with energizing anticipation of information to come. It also made me doubt whether or not to go see it. When a show is promoted with one of the most commonplace clichés, what does that say about the quality of what’s to see? Will it provide me with anything new and exciting, or just more annoyance?
The Deep Screen hosts works by some ‘big names’, such as Geert Mul or internet-art pioneers JODI , as well as artist who I had not yet heard of like Meiya Lin -part of her video can be seen on youtube (below)- and Marnix de Nijs & Edwin van der Heide (a video of their installation ‘Spatial Sounds’ can be seen above). The works of the more senior artists seems to have focused on the digitalization itself. What does that digitalization mean for our culture? The younger ones, some of which will barely have a memory left of a non-digitalized society. used the technology as a given. for them it’s just another way to express themselves of their message and a medium for their art. In most reviews I’ve read, the journalist seems to feel that the second form is the superior one. They suffer from the ‘been there, done that’ syndrome. As if everyone is already aware of every aspect and finesse that is influenced by this digitalization after the ‘The Matrix’ trilogy. However, I feel that there is still a lot to be said for art that takes a step back and makes us aware of what this digitalization really means for our culture, but also for other matters such as world politics and science. In that sense, the digital medium means a bit more than a painting and makes for far more interesting research into the medium.
A more interesting question is, does digital art still have a place in a museum? Isn’t; the most interesting digital art to be found outside of museum and gallery walls? What does the SMCS building add to seeing an animation instead of watching it online somewhere? That question, unfortunately, still remains unanswered by Deep Screen.