What’s ‘digital’?

Far be it for us to start defining, but lots of people have asked.

We’re sticking with good old Wikipedia: Digital art is a general term for a range of artistic works and practices that use digital technology as an essential part of the creative and/or presentation process.’ (Wikipedia)

And posting links to a series of articles, videos, examples and illustrations that we hope might help you get your own handle on the term. Do email us with anything else you think we should include (email joverrent (at) mac.com).

Arts Council England fund a number of organisations working in digital, stating: Digital technologies enable artists to connect with audiences in new ways, bringing them into a closer relationship with the arts and creating new ways for them to take part. They also support the development of new business models, new networks and new forms of creativity.

National portfolio organisations with a role promoting digital innovation include: Furtherfield, B3, Blast Theory, Redeye, Axis, Impressions Gallery, Phoenix Arts, Somerset Film and Video, Knowle West Media Centre, Threshold Studios, Nottingham Media Centre (Broadway) and Berwick Film and Media Festival.

In addition, media or cross-artform organisations are a key part of the infrastructure for the development, production and distribution of this kind of practice and these include FACT, Lighthouse, Cornerhouse, and Watershed, in Bristol.

ished logo, text reads creative collaborations, new ideas, emerging technologies and talent developmentWatershed is the home of iSHED and the Pervasive Media Studio, where they play with all things digital and quite a lot that’s not. They have many resources you can delve into; maybe start with this article by Victoria Tillotson, iSHED Producer which gives an accessible overview. And as she says, “Try not to get hung up on digital, it’s experience that matters.” Their about page also gives links to loads of useful content.

green and white square logo, text reads Digital R&D Fund for the ArtsNESTA and Arts Council England have a specific Research and Development fund for digital work – you can see what they funded as their pilot projects, and in their first round of grants. You can also watch video’s and listen to audio from the recent Digital R&D Forum they ran in Manchester, or check out their resources page, focusing on knowledge networks and copyright and intellectual property rights.

A solid image created from a series of still poses of Mat Fraser kick boxing - you see a grey avatar in these positions, showing his fluid movement

Still of Mat Fraser from Motion Disabled by Simon Mckeown

There is a ‘creative case’ essay on Digitising Disability by Jo Verrent focusing on the work of artists such as Ju Gosling, Simon McKeown and Merce Cunningham, as well as where on Grand Theft Auto you can steal a wheelchair. (Creative Case is Arts Council England’s re-imagining of diversity and equality, setting out how these areas can and should enrich the arts for all society).