When beginning to learn programming non-instant gratification can be one of the largest brick walls you can hit. Something you thought was so simple in fact doesn’t work, and you’re left struggling to think of a different way to approach the issue. Honestly, this feeling will never fade 10-20 years down the line, any programmer will tell you that, and if they don’t, they’re lying.
Perhaps the most crucial skill you can develop is a hunger and desire to throw everything away and start afresh. It doesn’t matter how long you spent on the mistake if it doesn’t work scrap it and try something new there’s nothing wrong with admitting something you made didn’t turn out correctly – this is good advice for life… In fact, this is what I meant to talk about, a considerable stigma within the digital/computational arts community, the reluctance to publically re-make artwork. There are many valid reasons for not re-making a piece, perhaps it was a commissioned piece, and the money’s run out (we don’t get paid enough as it is); maybe you have developed a hatred for the piece, so much so to just look at it causes a searing headache to manifest (I can name a few like this…). But I see so often artists reluctant to acknowledge the need to remake or even entirely re-do a piece because it’s in dire need of an update. – This isn’t just limited to small artists, by the way. I could name a few MASSIVE art studios who secretly maintain artwork built on video game frameworks built 10+ years ago. Perhaps it’s a historic virtue, where whenever we create artwork we feel upon completion it must sit there and be preserved for life behind bulletproof plexiglass like the Mona Lisa, but digital art really can’t do that. Technology changes; evolves and breaks – it’s near impossible for any piece to maintain its self without some form of maintenance, especially if it’s complicated. Digital art is closer to an annoyingly needy bonsai tree than a historical document.
Look at my work, for example, The Justice Syndicate is currently on its third generation, “jo-jo” and “Webcam Poetry” are almost ready to debut their second, and “Meet The Watsons” has been completely remade for the upcoming Two People on the Road exhibition. Each project needed their keep them functioning, there’s no shame in that – if anything there’s a huge compliment, they’ve survived long enough to require the new incarnations.
By creating the new versions of my work, I’m not lessening their value, and I’m not admitting my art was less than the very best I could do. I’m celebrating the ability to improve upon them, making an already well-received piece feasibly even better. Because that’s the beautiful advantage of Digital Art, it can evolve to become even greater (providing the artist is willing). Perhaps by writing about what I plan to do with my own work, I can encourage a few artists out there to break the stigma and celebrate the ability to refine.
(I’ll detail some of those changes to my prior work in another blog 😉)