How can art (as we currently know it) stay relevant by adopting new digital technologies?
Back in 2008 the smartphone app Shazam entered the marketplace, much to the relief of many avid music lovers who just wanted to know the name of that song playing. It’s 2016, enter Magnus – ‘Shazam for art’. Up and running in New York, London and Berlin the app works by taking a picture of a flat artwork which links to a database of information about the artist, the materials used to create the piece, the history and the price tag. The app also displays a map of artworks, which acts as a city art guide for users.
From improving the transparency of art to rethinking the idea of the artist altogether. Last month Google introduced an artificial intelligence capable of creating music, images, video and text and just last week the AI released its first ever piece of music – a 90 second piano melody. Project Magenta, in a nutshell is a computerised neural network that through exposure to different melodies, distinguishes patterns of musical notes, with which it uses to form entirely new tunes.
Notably, both Magnus and Project Magenta were in essence developed as tools to help the creative community produce and sell their work. However, what’s really interesting is how these technologies work by evolving databases and building communities. This isn’t digital technology for digital technologies sake, but rather tools, which allow people to engage and consume differently and as a result, opens the door to a creative art world that hasn’t always been accessible to everyone – regardless of whether you’re making it or buying it. Google's AI also proves that it's becoming harder and harder to tell the difference between the consumer, the creator and the medium.