With the goal of casting a spotlight on the posture of the creative community at this crucial moment in human technological history, we present herein a thematic overview of the 23 articles published in the recent Arts
Special Issues “The Machine as Art (in the 20th Century)” and “The Machine as Artist (for the 21st Century)”. Surprisingly, several of the themes that had been suggested in our two introductory essays as representing shared and positive points of departure—in particular, (a) the visual arts as a longstanding touchstone of human culture, (b) the visual arts (with the example of John James Audubon) as having a unique ability to rally the public to the environmental cause, and (c) computer and robotic proficiency in the arts as leading to a friendlier artificial intelligence—received less than the expected amount of attention. Instead, it was another of the suggested themes (albeit also of a positive and forward-looking nature) around which our authors coalesced, as expressed in the following phrase: the “vast expansion of the creative sphere” which technology has made possible, or in other words, the idea that technology is not only providing new horizons for the professional artist but is also providing new avenues for the non-professional to discover his or her creative potential. In light, furthermore, of the marked enthusiasm for this theme, we suggest in our conclusion the need for a corresponding expansion of the venues available to both professional and non-professional techno-art practitioners.
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