Futurology: Art World Embraces the Internet

November 14, 2014
U.S. News and World Report
link to original article

Futurology: Art World Embraces the Internet
By Lindsey Cook

The increasing real-time connections available through the Internet meant musicians in Athens, Georgia could collaborate with musicians in Java, Indonesia, for a project by Kai Riedl, a musician himself and the founder of the SLINGSHOT Festival.

“Something the Internet has done is really foster translocal creativity between two places,” he says. “We are able to work with dozens of people we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise because we are able to collaborate online with tracks. People are able to work in their own pockets of time and not be a slave to real-time or time zones or geographic constraints, and I think that has just transformed everything.”

Unlike television or phones, the Internet allows for collaboration visually and sonically, that can happen in real-time or can be left and picked up later, which is particularly important for artists attempting to collaborate across time zones.

“It’s starting to challenge what the notion of art is,” Riedl says. “People are able to brush up against such a variety of music, art, technology, whatever it may be, that their personal library of what is possible is being completely expanded. With that comes an explosion of work and an explosion of quality.”

With the explosion of art, some have become overloaded and look for experiences that are more singular than scrolling through Instagram, watching the never ending YouTube or streaming Spotify radio. Too many stimuli may be one reason people are turning back to vinyl, which is experiencing a resurgence of popularity.

Whatever new technologies are coming that we can’t predict, it’s safe to say artists will be on the forefront. By 2025, the spread of gigabit Internet connections will bring authentic collaboration between artists and wannabe artists. Like health and education, art will benefit from video experiences that allow real-time, buffer-free interactions that feel as if participants are in the same room.

“There’s been this vision of the Internet for the past 10 years where a drummer in France can play at the same time as someone in Athens, Georgia, and they could be working together in real-time,” Riedl says. “When those speeds increase and you’re able to do that … It’s already expanded what a band is, but once you are able to collaborate in high quality sound in real-time, I think you’ll see another level of musical expression. And it’s getting close.”

Kai Riedl was an ICE Graduate Research Assistant.