Electronic art is a form of art that makes use of electronic media. More broadly, it refers to technology and/or electronic media. It is related to information art, new media art, video art, digital art, interactive art, internet art, and electronic music. It is considered an outgrowth of conceptual art and systems art.
The term electronic art is almost synonymous to computer art and digital art. The latter two terms, and especially the term computer-generated art are mostly used for visual artworks generated by computers. However, electronic art has a much broader connotation, referring to artworks that include any type of electronic component, such as works in music, dance, architecture and performance. It is an interdisciplinary field and so artists often collaborate with scientists and engineers when creating their works. The art historian of experimental new media art Edward A. Shanken, is documenting current and past experimental art with a focus on the fusing of art, science, and technology. Along with virtual historians Frank Popper and Dominique Moulon in France.
There are many different forms of Electronic art. Such forms range from interactive dance, music, and even drama. New technology, primarily computer systems and computer technology, have enabled a new class of interactive art.
Electronic art is often, but not always, interactive. Artists make use of technologies like the Internet, computer networks, robotics, wearable technology, digital painting, wireless technology and immersive virtual reality. As the technologies used to deliver works of electronic art become obsolete, electronic art faces serious issues around the challenge to preserve artwork beyond the time of its contemporary production. Currently, research projects are underway to improve the preservation and documentation of the fragile electronic arts heritage.
Electronic media are media that use electronics or electromechanical audience to access the content. This is in contrast to static media (mainly print media), which today are most often created electronically, but do not require electronics to be accessed by the end user in the printed form. The primary electronic media sources familiar to the general public are video recordings, audio recordings, multimedia presentations, slide presentations and online content. Most new media are in the form of digital media. However, electronic media may be in either analogue electronics data or digital electronic data format.
Electronic media are ubiquitous in most of the developed world. Electronic media devices have found their way into all parts of modern life. The term is relevant to media ecology for studying its impact compared to printed media and broadening the scope of understanding media beyond a simplistic aspect of media such as one delivery platform (e.g. the World Wide Web) aside from many other options. The term is also relevant to professional career development regarding related skill set.
Electronic art installations are generally computer-based and frequently rely on sensors, which gauge things such as temperature, motion, proximity, and other meteorological phenomena that the maker has programmed in order to elicit responses based on participant action. In Electronic artworks, both the audience and the machine work together in dialogue in order to produce a completely unique artwork for each audience to observe. However, not all observers visualize the same picture. Because it is interactive art, each observer makes their own interpretation of the artwork and it may be completely different than another observer’s views.
Electronic art constitutes a broad field of activity and incorporates many forms. Some resemble video installations, particularly large scale works involving projections and live video capture. By using projection techniques that enhance an audiences impression of sensory envelopment, many digital installations attempt to create immersive environments. Others go even further and attempt to facilitate a complete immersion in virtual realms. This type of installation is generally site-specific, scalable, and without fixed dimensionality, meaning it can be reconfigured to accommodate different presentation spaces.
The trend has continued to the present day with modern nightclubs worldwidem the genre has found commercial and cultural significance in the United States and North America, thanks to the wildly popular big room house/EDM sound that has been incorporated into U.S. pop music and the rise of large-scale commercial raves such as Electric Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland (festival) and Ultra Music Festival.
Electronic art became a large phenomenon due to the advent of computer based interactivity in the 1990s. Along with this came a new kind of art-experience. Audience and machine were now able to more easily work together in dialogue in order to produce a unique artwork for each audience. In the late 1990s, museums and galleries began increasingly incorporating the art form in their shows, some even dedicating entire exhibitions to it. This continues today and is only expanding due to increased communications through digital media.
As computer technology has become more accessible and Electronic art software has advanced, interacting with music production technology is now possible using means that bear no relationship to traditional musical performance practices.
Artists can now also individuate their production practice by creating personalized software synthesizers, effects modules, and various composition environments. Devices that once existed exclusively in the hardware domain can easily have virtual counterparts.
A hybrid emerging discipline drawing on the combined interests of specific artists in the last 10–15 years. Disciplinary boundaries have blurred, and significant number of artist and interactive designers have joined electronic artists in the creation of new, custom-designed interfaces and evolutions in techniques for obtaining user input (such as dog vision, alternative sensors, voice analysis, etc.); forms and tools for information display (such as video projection, lasers, robotic and mechatronic actuators, led lighting etc.); modes for human-human and human-machine communication (through the Internet and other telecommunications networks); and to the development of social contexts for interactive systems.
Electronic art festivals:
International Symposium for Electronic Art (ISEA), organized annually since 1988, international
Ars Electronica Symposium, organized yearly since 1979 by Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria
Dutch Electronic Art Festival (DEAF), organized yearly since 1994 by V2 Institute for the Unstable Media in Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Electronic Language International Festival (FILE) organized yearly since 2000 in São Paulo, Brazil
The Prix Ars Electronica, a major yearly award for several categories of electronic art