Dart 381 – Week 05
The article “Should One Applaud?” was a fascinating read as it suggests different views on the rise of technology in our culture, especially in the realm of the music industry. The authors, meticulous in their writing, share various examples throughout history that revolutionized the way humans have adapted to new technologies. One example in the article that evidently shows major changes in our cultural values, is the early mechanical instrument known to be the player piano. The earliest tradition of a piano, the pianoforte, was the intimate notion of harmony and producing such beautiful music. It was seen as the most popular form of entertainment in the common household, usually played by women. When the player piano was introduced in the twentieth century, many people did not condone this new advancement in technology. Traditionalists thought that the player piano would essentially kill the beautiful sound of what an artist can produce from a pianoforte and would essentially “lose its distinctiveness, its uniqueness as an experience” (Pinch & Bijsterveld).
Thankfully, there are always optimists in this world. At the time, there were only few who embraced and supported this new technology including European composers, musicians and American music educators. Finally in the twentieth century, electronics were viewed as new opportunities for innovation. New technology did not kill old technology, but simply changed its form. Furthermore, people did not stop playing the piano because of the player piano, they just adapted to the newer advancements. The more days we count ahead, the more our technology is become greater and more innovative. It is a continuous cycle of developing new technologies based on the old.
I certainly think that we should applaud (in certain instances) with these new innovative technologies. The question of “what is art?” always arises when new technologies or a new form of art is being introduced. An example of this is the work of Marcel Duchamp entitled “Fountain” created in 1917. He was an artist known to take already produced/manufactured products and turn them into art. I would applaud to Duchamp because he took a leap-forward in the art horizon and created something completely out-of-the-ordinary that inspired many to follow. A more contemporary artist who also embraces the notion of taking already-existing things and making it his own is the risk-taker known as Girl Talk. Girl Talk is one guy on a stage with a computer who takes existing music, samples it and re-creates that music into something that sounds completely new. I cannot be a hypocrite and say that I do not accept this because as a graphic designer, we all encounter some form of illegalness. If I see an image that I am inspired by from the Internet, I can take that image and change it fifteen times until I can call it my own. Despite the notion of copyright, because that is a whole other ballgame, old and new-found things are going to be remixed no matter which way. Technology will keep evolving and will keep changing our cultural values.