Is Technology Re-educating our Art?

Are we changing our technology to art or our art to technology? In Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print, J.D. Bolter introduces the concept of emerging technology in writing. Bolter explores both the path of the technological tools used in the writing and more importantly, the technology beyond the modern conventions of writing. Technology will educate the machine, and the machine will then influence the art.

Bolter quoted McLuhan “the invention of typography…provided the first uniformly repeatable commodity,”  which placed greater appreciation of the physical product of the book. In streamlining technology, we then create a clearer message to our reader. In the technology of writing the transfer from an oral technology to create a written or linguistic culture. The conventions of writing have developed dependant upon the writers experiences of the written word. This rings true when you consider for example the connection, between writers and the texts they read. Ask 2 writers in the same genre to list their favorite writers and they will have taken inspiration from the same writers, some of that is location, some of that is the timing. I know I feel like Rowan’s Writing arts department is Walt Whitman obsessed- which is both because of the degree of saturation of his work in the literary world but more importantly, the location, it is part of our cultural identity to connect with Whitman.

What concerns me most about the technology of writing is not that there will be a change in the technologies employed in writing but rather the technical change in the artistry of writing. I have seen with different teachers the exposure to their particular aesthetic has shaped and molded my aesthetic. What concerns me is that as the technologies change my writing may change and lose artistry. In oral traditions for example, the sound of words play a more important part in the presentation of material as opposed to in scientific writing there is a convention of precision being more important.

If our writing is changing to employ new technology are we also changing our individuality? If for example we are employing the new technology of writing in shortened form- “Lol” how long before we actually think ‘Lol” and stop actually laughing? If we change the words we use to use modern social/technology conventions are we changing the emotion behind them. Bolter says “ We can identify an interaction between technical qualities and social constructions– an interaction so intimate that is hard to see where technology ends and social begins.” We must choose carefully the technologies and the conventions we chose, as an artist, we must learn them all and then decide how to shape them into art.

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