Yesterday (25/1/2011) I took part in a panel discussion entitled “New Digital Tools, New Media Art and Design“, at the Design Museum Helsinki, organized by Media Lab Helsinki, as part of the Avoin 140 exhibition celebrating the 140 years of TaiK / School of Art and Design. The remaining participants were other members of the Media Lab staff: Koray Tahiroglu, Markku Reunanen, Rasmus Vuori, Till Bovermann.
My presentation centered around the development of my latest project, AV Clash, as an example of an art work on the threshold of becoming a tool. I also mentioned Reactable and Tenori-on as projects in the frontier between art work and tool.
In my presentation, I asked the following question:
- What makes a digital project an art work or a tool?
And provided some tentative answers:
- Number of possible variations over the initial set of materials
- Feeling of self-expression / creativity for users
- Possibilities for re-distribution / re-deployment of final result
- Appropriate (or lack of?) copyright framing
In the discussion that followed, this and other questions were debated, such as:
- Do tools influence your creativity and the outcome of your work?
- Does making your own tools give you an edge as an artist?
- Is developing tools taking away valuable time from making art?
- Are open source tools preferable to commercial tools?
- What is the importance of communities around a certain tool?
- What makes a certain type of tool better than another?
- Do certain tools create work with a validity period?
- Do digital matters have a distinctive essence?