Coding as art…
It’s amazing how a thoughtful dialogue can fundamentally change your world view and open up new pathways of thought and innovation. In today’s blog I want to reflect on a discussion Jimmy Etheredge (CEO North America — Accenture), Paul Daugherty (Group Chief Executive — Accenture Technology & Chief Technology Officer), and I had with entrepreneur and entertainer will.i.am about technology and art.
On first glance, it wouldn’t seem like these two would necessarily go together. When we talk about technology, words like Cloud computing, coding, and quantum come to mind. For some, those words foster a feeling of intimidation. STEM? Math? Ugh!?! For others, they are the tools of the trade. The tools that allow them to create applications, 3D images, and…music!
What is art?
Art by definition is ‘the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power’. Another variation is: ‘Art is about discovering and creating ingenious ways of problem-solving, integrating principles and presenting information.’
Artists have always used technology as a means to express themselves. In the past, when an artist experimented with their tools, maybe they added a solution to their oils to thin it out or changed the shape of their palette knife to get a better effect on their design. Just the other day when I was cleaning out my office, I found the card of an artist I saw at an art fair probably a decade or more ago. The card had a couple of pictures of his sculptures (I still love them!) and I decided to look him up online. Good news is he’s still creating the sculptures that I love. Even better news is he now incorporates 3D printing in his process. Technology even adds to the experientiality of art. VR enables the artist to present the art in a unique way, but also enables the user to interact with it as well.
Innovation in technology is innovation in the art of creation and it spurs the rapid evolution of human culture, ideas, and strategies. In a recent blog, Michael Simmons says that “digitization has taken extreme competition to a whole other level. Rather than competing against the best in your local area, you’re competing against the best in the world.” The early days of our current technology evolution saw few women and even fewer people of color at the table. This inserts bias into the foundations of our technological future — the same can be said in the world of art. Who takes the competitive field shouldn’t be a factor of race or access, but open to all those with the capability and imagination. Technology, like art, is universal and sees no bias. Amazing creations can and do come from every walk of life.
During our discussion, will.I.am said the following that I think fully encompasses the boundaries of technology and art:
“I can’t sing like John Legend, but I could write songs for John Legend because of this computer that I’ve mastered and this program that I understood. So I’m more a computer programmer than I am a Stevie Wonder pianist, or Miles Davis trumpeter. I play the computer. And that’s what got me into technology: realizing that, hey, I’m writing code, and my tool is Pro Tools.”
What do you think of when you consider the boundaries of technology and art? Is technology a hinderance? An inspiration?