I decided to switch my college major from Computer Science (C Sc) to an Information Science, Technology and Arts (ISTA) Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in the summer of 2010. I was a bit disillusioned at my ability, or lack thereof, in the Computer Science courses, and was very interested when the recently established School of Information Science, Technology and Art (SISTA) announced it would be offering both BA and Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees. I had been with computers and applications related to my former employment in the military and civilian realms for quite a few years, and I was intrigued by the concept of how information was processed, disseminated and retrieved for quite some time. One of the things that keyed me off as this program being different was the addition of to last word of SISTA and ISTA, Arts. In my youth, I also had an interest in Theatre Arts (which, by the way, is my minor). As far back as I can recall, science and art had always seemed to be mutually exclusive. One might use a computer to generate a piece of art, but as I have come to learn that information, science and art may not always be enmeshed, they are not exclusive of each other.
I ended up taking just about every ISTA course available the fall semester, but one proved to be one of my favorites at the University of Arizona (UA); ISTA 301, Computing and the Arts. I expected the course to be focused on how computers influenced or generated art, but came to learn much more. Yes, there was a bit about computers and computer art, but the class ended up being more about the “concepts” of computing and how they have influenced art. There was also quite a bit of presentation and discussion on the idea and perception of “art” itself.
When people think of the definition of art, many things may come to mind: paintings, sculpture, photography, theatre, music, dance, literature, and perhaps other forms or sub-forms. Some common thoughts are that art has an aesthetic quality, or it conveys the emotions of the artist at the time the artist creates a piece. Another common opinion is that art is a highly subjective idea, and I believe it is. In my opinion, Leo Tolstoy communicated the greatest concept of art when he suggested that “art lifts man from his personal life into the universal life.” To me, this suggests that while art can be a very personal thing, subjective, it ties all man together through some universal thread, objective. This notion also implies that art is a thread common to all peoples that is not merely aesthetic, although it often possesses this quality, but it conveys and ties all man together through emotions, intellect and perhaps some spiritual medium. To my knowledge, no other being possesses the ability to create and appreciate art in its many forms, except perhaps God. Animals have been said to “create art”, but I believe this is not the case, as other animals receive nothing intrinsic from a piece created by another animal, even of the same species. Though each of us may have subjective thoughts on what is or is not art, but generally, we agree that on some level true art expresses some feeling or thought to another human being, and that fact shows man’s art joins all mankind together to varying degrees.
Through this blog, I will attempt to provide further thoughts and perhaps some insight into various examples of art as it relates to the concept of “Computing and the Arts.”