Tommaso Durante

Describe your field. Why are you interested in Computer Art/ Computer Graphics and what (event, need, idea, hope, obstacle) caused your involvement? Summarize your line of development (the essence of your input to the field) in relation to concurrent technology.

I am a professional visual artist. I create paintings, sculpture-installations and artist books. I approached the Computer Art merely for intellectual curiosity and for the pleasure to expand my aesthetic sensitivity. For the past seven years I have been using also the computer to create my artworks. I initially started with an integrated digital painting process (by painting on paper and then elaborating the work by computer and developing it on big scale as installations and ink-jet printing artworks) and subsequently I developed projects entirely in digital media.

Does the computer allow you to think visually about some topic or process in new ways? How has this influenced your work? Describe your ultimate accomplishment.

Yes, it does, even if it is only a tool of choice and sometimes it helps me to extend my perception-rapresentation of the artistic reality.My visual thinking is still generated by the creative process that is not originated from specific computer stimulations. To me, as an artist, the computer is only a techno-medium: a tool to explore the complexity of today’s life, a tool that allows me to control and to use various other tools and techniques too, in a more complex, integrated and extensive way. I believe that art is always somethingh related to languages not directly to life. As Roland Barthes wrote in the late 80’s  “…No art as a metaphor for key transformations in the field of technological change, but technology as a critical probe of coming transictions in the field of art.”

Has the field of computer art and graphics progressed in the ways that you expected? What has surprised you? What do you like about its progress and what do you wish had happened differently? What do you think the future holds for visual computing in science/art? Please make some predictions or wish lists for the near- and long-term future.

According to Walter Benjamin’s reflection, with the progress of computer art and graphics we are definitely out of the “Aura” and may be that it is a good thing because art is widening the frontiers of its fruition. In the Western culture of the Reinassance, the artist contributed to create the universal iconography of Christian imagination. Today, in the same Western culture, the artist is still contributing, by the digital art, to the reinvention of the human being concept through different lifestyles and by re-thinking new survival strategies.The latest developments of computer science in the artistic field was absolutely astonishing and I was aware that things were working in that direction. What highly surprised me was the speed and the integration of the various operative systems. I consider as extremely positive the opportunity offered by computer to allow a wider diffusion of creativity. In the current digital life-style the truth is a moving target and this is a risky side-effect of the computer ‘interiorization’. At the same time I feel also worried for the perspective of a flattening of the production, particularly when a strong humanistic culture is missing if not re-invented. This latter one remains the only one premise to generate different and new ideas. I foresee further significant developments of visual computing mainly in very narrow and highly specialized directions, aiming to meet the needs of extremely exacting areas of utilizations.

Describe your dream environment for enhancing your project ideas. What are your preferred tools for creating and how do they work? What tools (hardware/software) you have used initially had the strongest impact on your work?

My dream environment is the Apple (MAC) computer and Photoshop, Illustrator, QuarkXPress, InDesign, Acrobat. My favourite tools are the filters and the Virtual printer (Acrobat). The same tools had also the strongest impact on my work at the very beginning, even if initially they were less varied and powerful than today. Probably the preference of these tools is also due to my approach to the computer as a visual artist.

Describe how you think specific advancements in technology, (such as wireframe, hidden line removal, scanner, laser, HTML, Java applets, or any other advancement), determined the way the approaches to creating art/graphics evolved?

The re-evolution of Art graphics and the continuous development is a great challenge for everyone. The artists above all. However, the technomysticism of dialectical immaterialism pervading our lifestyles recall in my memory the Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s sentence in the wonderful book/movie “The Leopard”: “Everything transforms as long as nothing changes”. From the brush to the mouse. All the progresses surely influenced the creativity by improving the average qualitative level of communication. Even if it is extremely interesting to work with new tools, I can also foresee the risk of standardization that in the near future they imply. In such a context the single artist, its personality and the way in which the artist is able to use the system will be more and more significant.

How would you characterize the milestones (every ten years) in the development of computer technology? Which ones were most influential in art/graphics?
Which persons would you indicate as the pioneers in the particular areas/stages in which decade?