Week 5/Art and Technology overview/Mark Signaigo

As a musician, for me the blending of art and technology has never been a question. I understand and respect the classical aspect of musicianship and performance ability, but also fully understand the technological aspect as well. Technology has made music very much broader than what may first come to mind in the form of Mozart or Beethoven, and the instruments themselves are a science all on their own. Beyond the musicianship itself, the ‘technical’ side has become just as important, if not more so in many popular cases today, in the creation of any musical art. Hip Hop is the most obvious example, though truthfully, no genre of music escapes the need of some level of technology. In regards to the first week’s readings, the idea of two cultures is easily apparent, while the idea of blending the two maybe be harder for many to conceptualize. Music seems to me to be the easiest realm to demonstrate the crossover. It is not possible to understand music today without seeing the equal importance of both sides. There are equal measures of art and science in creating instruments, playing them, and finally recording and polishing a track before completion. In Week 2 we discussed Mathematics, which again is interwoven all throughout music and in all aspects. Understanding Sound Science and Acoustics is absolutely crucial in the production of instruments, Music Theory is essentially math and geometry, and musical production requires knowledge of computer science, waves and sound science. Industrial, mechanical and digital reproduction, from Week 3, also have obvious applications to the world of music. When a painter paints an original painting, it can be kept in a mansion for all to see. A musical performance, on the other hand, is gone once it’s done. The only possible way to preserve it is by reproducing it mechanically or digitally. The idea that such reproduction loses the aura of a work of art cannot apply to music the same way that it would to other forms of art, it is actually almost necessary to keep the art alive. Finally, last week we discussed medicine. While not so tied to music, we have seen the obvious cross-overs between art and science within the medical world, from tattoos to elective surgeries, from body piercings to cutting. Science drives art, it allows the artist new forms, new methods, new possibilities of creation. Many new art forms are often a reaction to technological advancement; partially as a social commentary on the status and direction of the society, but also partly, I feel, because when there is a new medium it is exciting to explore it and test one’s own imagination to see what can be created.
My project follows the thoughts of Weeks 1 through 3 in its intent. As far as bridging the “Two Cultures” is concerned, there is no separating them when it comes to music. I believe it to be the most widely accessible art to be so deeply invested in the science and technology that come with it. Allowing someone the opportunity to express themselves in a creative artistic manner, while at the same time exposing them to the technological possibilities attached is perhaps the single best and easiest way to introduce people to the hybrid that is art and technology. Not to mention interesting a virgin mind in one or both. Again, as stated before, time signatures, beats, and music theory in general are heavily math laden. While not visible, rhythms, harmonics and progressions are all math based. Finally, in regards to digital production and reproduction, the implications of programming music on a website are obvious. Browsers using the site actively would have no way to escape the cross over of art and technology which is perhaps uniquely presented in music.

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