How have mobile phones and Internet changed contemporary art?

The main aim of this essay is to investigate the impact of technology on contemporary art. In a more detail, this essay will exploref the impact of mobile phones and the Internet on contemporary art. This essay will include theoretical foundation, backed up with examples. Firstly, a brief overview of the art world in the context of a general technology’s impact, will be presented. Following this,, this study will look into the effect of mobile phones and Internet in contemporary artistic creation and perception. Therefore, this essay will focus on the identification of main technological features that have impacted the art movement and the process of its production. The changes in the modern, individual perception of art are going to be investigated as well.
Background of Issue

Recent research suggests that we as human beings and also consumers, live in the information and digitalisation age. Internet and mobile phones have become the main sources of information and, therefore, the primary mediums of communication with other individuals (Burnham, 1970). In the cultural context, the individuals have started to focus more on the innovation acquisition and creation. The main reason behind it is the constantly changing environment, which triggers the changes in the individual perception. In the context of art, the artists have acquired the tools that facilitate the process of art creation (Shanken, 2009). On the other hand, the people have received the ability to share, what they perceive as art via more exposed and facilitated channels, namely, the Internet and mobile phones. Currently, every person may take a photo of a scene, which is perceived to be artistic and share it with others (Huffington Post, 2012). This, in turn, would be claimed as art. The concept of art has lost its complexity, thus becoming more technology – driven and adhering to the new cultural and artistic frameworks and concepts. As a result, it is crucial to identify the pattern and direction of the contemporary art movement in order to define its future implications.
Impact of technology on the Contemporary art
As it has already been estimated, technology, as part of the environmental dynamics has had a large influence on contemporary art. The internet has provided a more facilitated, digital access to a wide amount of information (Shanken, 2009). The individuals have acquired the possibility to access more enhanced amount of information, which affects the creation and production of art. This includes not only the information, itself, but also the new design programs and mobile applications (Huffington Post, 2012).
Emergence of photography
As part of the technological advancement, photography has become a popular form of contemporary art (Janson and Janson, 2004). To date, there are still debates as to if the significance of photography in contemporary art market is reasoned enough. This suggests that the majority of artists state that the emergence of photography as a form of art has anchored an element of shallowness to the whole concept of contemporary art (Janson and Janson, 2004). This shows that any persona can take a camera in order to make a picture, which would be considered as art. These debates have been present, however, to a lesser degree, in times of black and white film photos. At the moment, the majority of academics still tend to criticize the colour photography as it fails to deliver the beauty of the nuances and moments (Phillips, 2006).
Expanding on this subject, there is also a lot of debates over the subject of the mobile phones and mobile applications. Given that photography is quite a popular form of art at the moment, there have been a lot of applications developed for photography sharing. One of the most popular mobile phone applications is Instagram (Huffington Post, 2012). There is a lot of criticism in relation to this application, since it allows the amateurs to take any picture and share it as a form of art by means of the integrated filters. However, on the other hand, mobile applications have increased the exposure of art works of less known artists (Pew Internet and American Life Project Artists Callback Survey, November/December, 2003). This is supported by the findings of the recent survey, which has been maintained among young artists. The results have demonstrated that the majority of the artists have estimated that the Internet has helped them to promote their works, and to increase the amount of networking connections. The minority of the surveyed population has stated that the Internet exposure has hurt them and their reputation (Pew Internet and American Life Project Artists Callback Survey, November/December, 2003).
Change from form to perspective
It is necessary to note that a change has been reported in the concept of art. This implies that, in the Modernism era, the main focus has been placed on the form in the context of art production (Bersson, 2004). Along with the rise in popularity of technology and the Internet, the main focus has shifted towards context. This implies that the originality has been framed within the boundaries of the ability to re – represent already produced art works. This adds the ironic feature to the whole concept of post-modernism art (Bersson, 2004). Content has also become quite valuable in the post-modernist era. This has been driven by the digitalisation of the art, thus placing a large focus on the content of artistic work.
The context of the artworks is intensified in the light of the absence of the actual truths and facts (Prior, 2005). This implies that only the opinions and perspectives matter whereas the truths and facts have become subjective, thus changing along the dynamics of the daily lives. Post-modernists suggest that knowledge is facilitated by means of culture and language (Prior, 2005). Given the fact that the general culture and language are unified by the globalization and digitization, the knowledge is defined by the technology and internationalisation, in the context of art. Additionally, the production of artworks has become more facilitated, therefore, the artists start to be more focused on the content of the artwork in order to deliver value.
Impact on production
Along with the global advancement and the significance of the innovative product solutions, at the moment, the artists have all the necessary tools in order to produce art. However, the importance of handmade paintings has been diminished over the past decade (CNN, 2006). This implies that the paintings have been linked to more aesthetic and esoteric works of art. Photography, on the other hand, has become a true form of art (Bersson, 2004). This implies that the handmade paintings evolved into a computerized form of art, namely photography. The technology, namely PC, Internet and Smartphones have allowed producing and exposing the photographs by the click of the mouse, via specialized applications and programs. The supportive production-related technological appliances still fall into the specializing category, thus being quite expensive (Poole and Ho, 2011). As the result, the majority of artists tend to rent the editing technology in order to produce qualitative pieces of works. In this case, the main focus is placed on the quality and value of the work and this attracts the artists to use more expensive appliances at the high end. Given this desire, the artists still need a specialized knowledge and skills in order to utilize editing applications and technological solutions (Poole and Ho, 2011). Only the minority of artists tend to utilize the computer based programs for the entire art production process. Normally, the artists would make the sketches and then finish them by means of computerized programs, namely for colouring purposes.
Even though, it has been suggested that the production of art via PC-based programs is more facilitated, it is well arguable. This suggests that a number of artists claim that the process of art production still, requires the same amount of skills while utilizing specialized computer programs, as in the hand-made art production (Poole and Ho, 2011). The only difference applies to the specifics of the required techniques and abilities, however, not to the degree.
There is a high concern over the security and privacy of the shared creative content. Even though, Pew Internet and American Life Project Artists Callback Survey, (2003) demonstrated that the artists have not experienced any negative consequences of high visibility of their works over Internet, there is still high risk associated with this. Recent research suggests that the privacy and security are regarded to be the main issues that may arise on the Internet (Kim et al., 2004). However, these are attributed to the degree of the perceived security in relation to interactive platform. This implies that older users of computer – based programs do not perceive Internet-based platform as highly risky in terms of privacy and security.
Therefore, the studies suggest that the increase in confidence in utilizing the Internet is correlated to the less perceived risk in relation to the possibility of the private content share.
Impact on Perception of Art
It has been estimated that, after the Modernism era, the line between the high art and popular art has become more unclear. This implies that the concepts of popular and high types of art have become mixed up as the result of a large impact of technology, globalization, and ideas (Bertozzi and Jenkins, 2007). This has started with the rise in popularity of Andy Warhol’s art works (CNN, 2006). Modern art is defined by the ability of the artists to become popular in small, niche groups, rather than on a more global scale. This suggests that art has become more scattered, however, also more unified in terms of categorization. This implies that there are a lot of different types of artworks and movements; however, there is no clear focus on any of those movements (Bertozzi, 2007). Contemporary art is defined by the ability to express the views and opinions with others. And this is easier to do in the modern age of interactive, social media. Therefore, people have a more enhanced access to the artworks, which results in the emergence of inspiration to produce art. It has been stated that the whole social networking share platform increases the chance for plagiarism. It is especially intensified since in the modern age, the majority of artists, tend to transform and re-produce the current media content (Bertozzi and Jenkins, 2007). These actions are linked to the features of plagiarism. However, this should be regarded more as evolution of art, rather than plagiarism. In details, this suggests that the artists utilize the raw materials, which are found in the existing artworks, in order to re-produce the new creations (Bertozzi and Jenkins, 2007). For example, the fact that jazz music has evolved from creative improvisations of the popular music melodies proves this suggestion. This implies that it has not been labelled as plagiarism. Therefore, the main question arises as to how people should perceive the modern digital art – shallow and/or the evolution of the post-modernism art movement. It is suggested by a number of academics that, in general, digital communication is regarded to be shallow (Chomsky in Salon, 2011). It is mainly associated with the need to put the thought in a short sentence so that it would fit in 140 characters on Twitter. This may be assumed to be shallow since shortening modifications are made in order to share the thought on Twitter. These modifications tend to include the utilization of urban language and abbreviations, which result in the shallowness of the language (Chomsky in Salon, 2011) The same applies to art, where the individual may take any picture of any object and share it with others whilst claiming that it is an artwork. On the other hand, post – modernism art movement is defined by the ability to share the views and perceptions of the ways one sees the world, which is innovative by definition. This suggests that different people view the world differently. On the other hand, the picture that is shared via social networking website may be just need to practice the skills in the production of the artworks, in order to grow as an artist. And in this evolution, some people might find the new art movement, that may be appreciated. Additionally, as it turns out, the artworks have to be either aesthetic or deliver some message to the people. As Pablo Picasso once stated, – “Art is a lie that makes you realize the truth” (Gardner and Kleiner, 2010, p.699). Therefore, the content is highly crucial in the context of the ability to tell the truth. This, in turn, expands individual perception and their way of thinking (Costache, 2000). As the result, if the artwork reaches the person and its cognition than it has been worth producing.
This paper was designed in order to demonstrate the exploration of the role of mobile phones and Internet in art perception and production. It has been estimated that recently, the technological advancement has driven the majority of the population to utilize the Internet and mobile phones for communication purposes. This has also affected the art industry. This implies that the artists have started to utilize digitalised tools for art production. This has been perceived as a facilitated way to produce art. However, it has been further stated that the utilization of the specialized computer based equipment requires highly developed skills. Another problem with the technological integration in art production has been attributed to the ability of to make the work artistic by means of mobile applications. This adds the element of shallowness to the actual art production and further perception. As with the digital communication, the majority of critics tend to perceive it as being a not serious form of art. However, given the general shift from the form to the context and content, this may be regarded as the evolution of art, in general. This implies that people do not focus entirely on the significance form in the artworks; however, they tend to acknowledge the message it has to deliver. This is directly interrelated with the key aim to share the perspective of the world and situations with others. In general, it has been found out that the majority of artists tend to benefit from the integration of technology. It has been estimated that the main benefit is attributed to the ability to generate and expand the networking connections by means of social networking. Furthermore, the Internet is a medium that allows reaching more customers thus adding exposure to the artist and his works.
Bersson R. (2004). Responding to art: form, content, and context, p.67, McGraw – Hill: USA
Bertozzi H., Jenkins V. (2007). 7 Artistic Expression in the Age of Participatory Culture: How and Why Young People Create. Routledge: UK. Available: (Accessed on 21st Nov. 2012)
Burnham, J. (1970). The Aesthetics of Intelligent Systems. On the Future of Art, p.119, New York: Viking
Chomsky in Salon. (2012). Why Chomsky is wrong about Twitter. Available: (Accessed on 21st Nov. 2012)
Costache I. (2000). “The Truth in Painting” Or in TextThe Dialogue Between Studio Art and Theory in Education. Available: (Accessed on 21st Nov. 2012)
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