Tag Archive | Arts

Digital Arts

During the year I attended one of Dr. Mike Cosgrove’s lectures on Digital Arts for the Digital Humanities MA. It was an attempt to gain a better understanding of the term digital humanities and gain further understanding and appreciation for this area of academia. They were discussing computing as a flexible tool for the artist, particularly, in relation to the theatre.  It was a fascinating lecture full of passionate and intense debates.

The first debate surrounded the authenticity of a theatrical performance if it is too digitized. The idea that the digital aspect is being used more for commercial aspects than for artistic development; the idea that Broadway is becoming too ‘bright’. The digital age allows for the constant production of new work meaning modern work never falls into the repertoire of classics. Considering my MA has quiet a significant ‘classic’ element, this struck a cord with me. But as we went on further into the discussion of digital in the theatre I began to realize, even the digital age has its roots in the classical. The Greeks were the first institute to use lighting of any kind. They used ‘gas lights’. They were the first to use the idea of ‘sets’ and different ‘sets’. They were even the developers of the first trapdoors.

Greek Theatre

The next debate enveloped to what extent can ‘digital’ change the theatrical performance before it becomes a new genre? If we’re so surrounded by digital does the theatre then HAVE to be digital to be endearing/sustainable? Is it a new ‘genre’ of theatre or is it incorporating a new style into the same theatre? There were many different opinions on this topic but all agreed that the creation of a suspension of disbelief is the ultimate goal regardless of how it is achieved.

As a theatre-goer I had simply attended and enjoyed the experience of a show and had never given too much contemplation to the digital aesthetic of a production. Suffice to say this will no longer be the case.

 Images cited.

Suben, Matthias. Ancient Greek theatre (Segesta). 2012. Photograph. Wikimedia Commons. Web. 11 Feb. 2014.


Sitting in the shadows of week one it is safe to say that the world of academia that I knew in my undergraduate has truly evolved. It has passed through the tunnel of adolescence and emerged a mature, thoughtful and reflective being. It no longer ignores recommended reading or jests at active participation. In actuality, it is beginning to enjoy both.

It is so easy to become lost in the academic world. On the one hand, we are fortunate enough that we have an immense array of options when it comes to pursuing an academic course. While on the other hand, frequently as adolescents we are not guided correctly with regard to this path. In this financial climate there is too often the notion of studying something that will guarantee you a job rather than something that will enrich your mind and benefit you as a person.

While reading Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde this week I began to wonder about the adversity poets, authors or philosophers may have faced in that era, or even the adversity their characters may have faced. I find it difficult to imagine that someone would tell Chaucer that he was foolish to write, that he should go and get a “proper” job. The Arts were given a certain precedence and reverence and those who studied them were considered very fortunate. Chaucer, Dante and Spenser are all men who helped create and shape the English language as we know it, what would the English language be today had they chosen to become lawyers or doctors?

Through the vast time and space between now and then our thought processes regarding the Arts are dramatically different. A career as a poet is considered conventionally as impractical and foolish. Scholars are considered pompous and arrogant and young children who prefer reading books instead of sitting in front of a technicolor box are ridiculed by their peers.

The study of the English language, particularly historical stories, poets and figures such as those mentioned above is as important as studying the historical facts of the environment they lived in. It teaches us about their interests, beliefs and emotions. As I sit here, typing these words into my laptop I often envisage that time; someone soaking vellum in lime in order to prepare it for manuscript, or a monk spending endless hours creating the beautiful pieces of art that we are fortunate enough to have remnants of today. It is impossible to move forward in life without acknowledging the past. Every symbol and syllable we utilize is a result of centuries of evolution and growth. We only exist as we are, as a direct result of what has gone before us.

I leave you with the pertinent words of Marcus Garvey, renowned Jamaican political leader, entrepreneur, publisher and journalist.

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” 

Tree Roots in France


Images Cited

Yale University Art Gallery. Saint-Cloud. Photography. 1924. Eugene Atget. Wikimedia Commons. Web. 29 Sept. 2013