[NetBehaviour] Digital Woodcut

James Morris james at jwm-art.net
Fri Apr 26 01:43:55 CEST 2013

On 25/04/13 Rob Myers <rob at robmyers.org> wrote:
>Woodcut is an old analogue printmaking technology, in Europe it dates 
>back to the 1400s. A picture or design is carved into a flat block of 
>wood which is then inked and pressed onto a sheet of paper to produce 
>the finished image. At the turn of the 20th Century, woodcut was 
>appropriated by the Expressionists as an authentically direct and 
>traditional medium in which to experiment.
>Bitmaps are way of representing images digitally as a grids of
>discrete values, dating back to the 1960s. Over time, the range of
>colours and the amount of detail that it is possible to display in a
>bitmap has grown from chunky black and white mosaics to hyperreal
>multi-million colour multi-million pixel images.
>In popular culture the upcoming generation will in part define itself 
>culturally by valorizing the dross of its parents' era. This is a 
>process similar to pastoral or to cultural appropriation in high art. 
>The 80s were big in the 2000s, the 60s were big in the 80s, and the
>40s were big in the 60s.
>Part of that process currently is the use of lo-bit aesthetics, 8-bit 
>and 16-bit image and sound aesthetics used to create contemporary art. 
>To those of us who spent a lot of time, money and effort climbing the 
>bit density well for digital art, this can appear a naive exercise in 
>nostalgia for the moment before one was born. Disney's use of lo-bit 
>aesthetics in its film Wreck-It-Ralph might appear to confirm this.
>But stripped of its status signifying function and its need to suffice 
>for practical requirements, lo-bit aesthetics join analogue
>photography and mechanical writing instruments as historical tools
>that are now appreciated for their contingent and historically
>entangled aesthetic properties rather than their efficiency or
>novelty. The blur or jaggedness, the wonkiness or blotching that once
>frustrated the signification of meaning now enables it.
>Like using woodcut in the age of offset lithography.

What is wood?


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