Friday, 15 June 2012

Bookish Bits and Bobs: A Journey Into A Digital World

With Fathers' Day on the approach in several countries, including in Britain and France, the mad scramble is starting for gifts and cards. Having already recommended on Twitter the other week that Richard Hammond's autobiography "On The Edge" would make an excellent choice of present for many a father, I got thinking about other book recommendations. I have already passed on a copy of Paul French's recent release, "Midnight In Peking", to my own father, as it's a superb historical thriller that takes us on an exciting analytical tour of China in a tragic "whodunnit" case that would appeal to many men (and indeed women) for the mystery that surrounds it, going back 100 years to resuscitate the evidence and finally bring justice. For dads who are into Photoshop and new media, there is also a host of literature on this subject, from authors such as Christiane Paul (author of Digital Art) and Susan Tuttle (who penned Digital Expressions in 2010).

But sometimes the best gift is just time with your dad. I know that either of my parents would probably give their right arms to spend time with their own fathers again. And even if your dad isn't into editing photos and creating websites himself, he may well be interested in a more modern age of art nonetheless - and what better way to indulge than visiting a digital art exhibition together this weekend? While America is arguably better equipped for this than us, with our Yankee brothers boasting digital art museums in Los Angeles and Austin to name just a few, there are plenty of options within the UK. The Waterman International Festival of Digital Art, in celebration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, is running until October in Brentford (postcode TW8 0DS), in conjunction with seminars organised by Goldsmiths, University of London. Each installation will only come alive when people interact with it, and the exhibition's aim is to bring together artists from around the world, as well as exploring and questioning audience engagement with digital art. The current exhibition seminar (until July 8) is entitled Granular Graph, and takes an interdisciplinary approach combining art, science, music, and more. 

If it's raining (which, let's face it, it probably is), there are also plenty of online exhibitions, such as Print Fiction, which runs until June 24th, and the UK Crafts Council exhibitions, which can be accessed here. Online galleries are just another logical step in digital art's surprisingly long history; as well as exhibitions that finished in 2012 in locations as diverse as Hanoi, London and Sheffield, there's also evidence of a San Diego show that took place in 2007, and even a San Francisco show that took place in 2001.

If all of this does inspire you - or your dad - to create some digital art of your own, Designboom/INFINITI's International Digital Art Competition should prove a perfect outlet for your talents and interests. Inspired by the theme 'Curved Visions', as a follow-up to their first theme of 'Inspired Performance', the results will be exhibited at various INFINITI Centres across Europe. The winner of the first round was perhaps unsurprisingly from Japan, where digital art has already achieved a cult following. Shinji Nukumi was announced as the winner and awarded the first prize of €10,000 in Marseilles.

Even if it seems daunting, do not panic! It is stressed that participation is open to applicants worldwide, whether you are a professional or student. As long as you are enthusiastic about design, that is the main thing - and to me, that sounds like a great Fathers' Day project to develop your daddy-daughter or father-son relationship throughout the rest of 2012 and beyond.

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