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The Fundamentals of Digital Art

The Fundamentals of Digital Art

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Published by Nicole
The Fundamentals of Digital Art by Richard Colson.
The Fundamentals of Digital Art by Richard Colson.

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Published by: Nicole on Nov 05, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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There may be a tendency for artists to develop working
practices that are not sufficiently outward looking and
a resulting danger may be that they become insular. As
their practice starts to involve increasingly complex
technologies, it is unlikely that an individual artist is
going to have the required level of knowledge to deal
with every aspect of a project. In art schools, students
are asked to look within themselves for their ideas, to
develop independence in creative processes. This is
because they will need enormous self-reliance to be
able to continue as artists once they can no longer rely
on the supporting environment of the college.

The problem is that this independent spirit may prevent
them making connections with an assortment of
professionals who might actually be beneficial in
developing new kinds of approach in their work.

Team meeting

Sodahave been working
for over ten years as a
creative solutions
company. Their portfolio
includes the soda
constructorand a number
of public projects such
as the energy ring at
the Science Museum
in London.

Learning to collaborate

How can digital artists ensure that they are in a
position to capitalise on opportunities that might arise
from collaborating with other specialists? Clare
Cumberlidge (co-director of the General Public
Agency), in her essay on ‘Transdisciplinary Practice’
for a-n magazine, points to four qualities:

1. An ability to listen.
2. An interest in and respect for others.
3. An intense curiosity.
4. An inquiring mind.

Although her particular interest centres on public art
projects, she touches on many of the same issues that
affect other creative initiatives requiring negotiation
with a team. These include the need to clearly define
roles, the need for an agreement on the brief, and the
need to attribute value to each member.

Empowering software

Technology has allowed different creative domains to
meld and has blurred the edges between disciplines.
Technological advances are oblivious to restrictive
work practices and demarcations that prevent the
spread of knowledge. As a result, new channels of
transdisciplinary exchange have opened up. Artists
can discuss ideas with musicians and designers work
regularly with engineers.

New software may seem to empower. However, just
because a computer program can mix sound, it does
not necessarily follow that it should be used by
someone without the relevant experience and training.
The specialist will still have a matchless knowledge of
their particular sphere of practice and developing
skills to negotiate with them will usually secure the
best results.

“I believe that creativity is essentially
transdisciplinary – the unexpected
connections, leaps, oppositions of creative
responses do not respect the barriers and
borderlines of discipline or profession.

Clare Cumberlidge


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Negotiating with specialists

Analysing group dynamics

Social scientists study human behaviour in the context
of the workplace, the home and in leisure situations.
They also examine skill development and learning.
Much of their work is useful in understanding group
dynamics and the factors that come into play in creative
negotiations as well. There are particular roles within a
group structure. These may not necessarily relate to the
kind of expertise that an individual is contributing.

In ‘Principles of Organisational Behaviour’ (2004),
Rhodes and Fincham provide a useful analysis of these
roles that is worth bearing in mind if artists are to
ensure that all contributions from group members are
afforded equal value. They argue that the following roles
can be usually be found in all groups:

The Coordinator:someone with the strongest role in
deciding on the group’s goals and agenda.

The Plant:the ideas person, the person who
originates the thinking on which the group depends
for its direction.

The Implementer:someone who is happier in a more
task-oriented role; focused and particular in scope.

One of the benefits of working in a group with
specialists is that it provides an opportunity to bounce
ideas off colleagues. The downside to this is that
exchanges of this sort can be time-consuming and
result in a lack of decision-making.

Rhodes and Fincham also explore the different stages in
the group’s lifecycle and draw the conclusion that, from
conception through to implementation, group
collaborations will journey through four periods. These

Forming:the period where the group is deciding what
it is trying to achieve and its terms of reference.

Storming:this period is characterised by sharp
disagreements on strategy. It is also a time for
confirming individual roles.

Norming:following on from discussions, the result is
co-operation and agreement.

Performing:allocation of tasks to group members
and work processes are established, tested and

Clare Cumberlidge makes the point that there are often
unexpected connections across disciplinary boundaries
that can result in radical new ways of thinking.
Negotiation of any sort is never easy. There are pitfalls
and problems relating to intellectual property. The lone
creator probably has a more stress-free life but they
may also have missed opportunities to move their
practice into completely different creative territory.

Constructive criticism

Students on the BA
Digital Arts course at
Thames Valley University
discuss progress in their
project work with Axel
Stockburger (d-FUSE)
and Daryl Clifton

1. For more information about
Soda(p.148), see
www.soda.co.uk and to
find out more about their
soda constructorvisit

2. For more information on a-n
magazine(p.148), see www.a-

3. For information about d-Fuse
(p.149), see www.dfuse.com

4. For more information about
OnedotZero(p.149), see

Knowledge Bank



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Job no : 76628 Title : The Fundamentals of Digital Art Client : (AVA)
Scn : #175 Size : 200(w)230(h)mm Co : M3 C0 (All To Spot)__LC
Dept : DTPD/O : 02.07.07 (Job no:76628C1 D/O : 23.07.07 Co: CM11)

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The fundamentals of digital art

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