Forms, by Alexei Shulgin

forms, by Alexei Shulgin

While this may look simplistic, even “primitive” by digital art standards, it’s actually very complex and even quite profound. Which may be a bit much for a Sunday morning, but bear with me…

First of all, there’s nothing obvious to click on, right? Some rectangles that don’t look particularly button-ish. But go ahead and click on any one of them anyway. You get sucked into a maze of images and forms. None of them are particularly stunning on their own, but after a few clicks I discovered a couple of surprising things:

One, is there anything less creative than a computer form or check box? And yet here we have the empty and lifeless rectangles and dots taking on character, morphing into shapes, and almost becoming “life-like”. Which probably says more about us, the viewer, than the work or even the artist.

snapshot of Forms by Alexei Shulgin

And two, it is so representative of the horizontal way we have of surfing the web. A click here, a link there, and suddenly we’re looking at 10 ways to know if your relationship is working, whereas what we started reading about was online publishing.

This got me thinking about a fascinating MOOC I’m taking from Edinburgh University on “E-learning and Digital Cultures“, in which we’re looking at is technology neutral, or does it control us? Technology gave us the way to navigate horizontally, and encourages us to do so. Is that encouragement influencing us? If technology influences us, then it’s not neutral. And if it’s not neutral, then we really do need to be careful.

Like I said, a bit much for a Sunday morning, so I think I’ll go and make some low-tech scones for breakfast.

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