Art, Privilege, Democracy

Art was traditionally made for the ruling classes. Actually, that’s not true, but high art was by definition made for the ruling classes. Access to high art technology was limited to high art, so rich colours, perspectival mathematics, or computing machinery were off-limits for the plebs.

There’s the possibility of breaking or reaffirming this divide now.

A hacker/maker/participatory culture could render high art genuinely obsolete by distributing the knowledge to produce the tools and ideology to make high art in any home. This could be empowering, but it could also destroy the critical potential of art.

Or alternatively, getting access to high-end technology, paintboxes or clusters, could reaffirm or produce a new high aesthetic. This could be used to critical ends, or could end up as simply demo art, sales apologia for widgets.

Which path, and which risks, one takes depends on ones ideology. But sitting on commodity computer technology fiddling with the same software as everyone else doesn’t cut it either way.

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