” It’s easy to think of works of art as direct descendents of their maker. We look at “The Starry Night” and we think of van Gogh, hunched over his easel, alone in his room. We go to the opera and think that Natalie Dessay sang a beautiful aria, but don’t necessarily think about the technician working her spotlight.
The thought that artistic geniuses create alone doesn’t just extend to “high art,” either: Beyoncé was responsible for that passionate wonderful show; Spielberg was the one who made that movie great. When we take the mental shortcut of thinking about artists as solitary creators, what we’re doing is putting both the art and the artist on a kind of otherworldly pedestal, distancing them from the rest of us mere mortals. We do the same thing when we think of art as a completely cerebral or imaginative process.
Not so. Artists experience the world through their senses, and produce their art using their hands, their voices, and their bodies. But they are not the only ones involved in their creation. As a collective, we easily assign the most pronounced artists with the credit — just as we would the leader of a company.
But, perhaps we, as a collective are thinking about artists in the wrong way. Think of how physically taxing painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel must have been; think of how many assistants and workmen must have been needed to complete it. Someone, surely, had to get the ceiling there to be painted on in the first place.
These were my thoughts and questions after watching entrepreneur, philanthropist, and part-time miracle worker Mick Ebeling’s incredible TEDTalk, “The invention that unlocked a locked-in artist.” Ebeling describes how he and a team of what he describes as “hackers and programmers and conspiracy theorists and anarchists” programmed a device that allows paralyzed people, to draw using their eyes. Some of the ingredients? A pair of cheap sunglasses from the Venice Beach boardwalk, an LED light, and some copper wire. ”
Read more from Laura Cococcia in her article inspired by the TED Talk below and the idea that more technology makes impossible art possible.