Art On Disc

Many years ago I was discussing with a painter the longevity of paintings. It was at the same time I was being introduced to the Book Arts and learning how the Book of Kells was dug out of a bog in Ireland and its illuminations still resound throughout Europe after a thousand years. And we both came to the same instant conclusion, that no piece of art anywhere in the world will last forever. That when the Earth crashes into the sun the art we know will have long since decayed.

So we contented ourselves with the idea that everything would be made into holograms and people would venture into space and have their favourite painting on their wall in electronic form, or piece of sculpture and that though original manuscripts might be dust, the teaching of music and reading would mean they could still read Hugo and play Mendelssohn.

And would that change anything? If you cannot touch a painting or a piece of sculpture do you lose something? If you can see the writing of the author but never feel the paper is something lost? Well yes something is, but whether that is important or not is a mute point as most of these things are cordoned off from the public even today.

Perhaps the truth lies in the fact that we will always know, as long as we care to remember, that all these works of art existed. Perhaps the wistfulness in only having hologramatic copies will itself be a new expression of feeling for our decedents.

2 comments On Art On Disc

  • If hologramatic copies serve as an expression of feeling for those who come after us, I feel great sorrow for them. They will never know the texture of paint on canvas, the smell of old paper, the feel of contoured marble. Gone will be any true appreciation of the effort and will of great minds; lost will be the reverence, majesty, and awe commanded by the physical actuality of great works.

  • Hello Anne,

    I don’t think we ever meant (and I certainly do not now) that all art will become holgrammatic. I think many people will still paint and sculpt and any of the new things that come along.
    But what we have created does not last and those who have gone before the artists in the distant future, their work will vanish. Unless they find new ways to regenerate tired paint and worn paper and eroded stone.

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