Quote Originally Posted by Rafal Lukawiecki View Post
First of all, many thanks to all for sharing, so openly, your different perspectives on what is art, art of photography, fine art, and photographic art. I am learning a lot about how fluid those ideas are, and I have a feeling that the concept might be a temporal one. I would like to ask you to humour me, please, and to follow a thought experiment, and to share your observations, if you would be so kind.

Imagine that it is year 2112. Photography uses artificial intelligence technology, and images, flat, or multidimensional, or fully spatial, can be perfect representations of what was seen, with an optional multitude of applied corrections etc, all done within a matter of seconds, by commonly available, inexpensive equipment. Output is holography-like projected into space, or onto surfaces, and it is easy to make it indistinguishable from the real object, except, perhaps, when one wants to scale the image. You can even touch the projections, they are as soft or rough, as the original object was, unless one applied a creative manipulation, naturally. There are no "computers" as they were known in 2012: everyone just speaks, or simply thinks up their wishes, into the nearest Intelligent Thinking Cloud (ITC) Wish Receptor, and answers are given, things are purchased, actions happen, as required. No one uses old-fashioned "keyboards", of course.

There is a group of "old school" photographers. They use an ancient technology, that requires the use of rare equipment that has not been produced for 70 years, but which can be restored by dedicated people. They are called "inkjet printers". Image making process requires hours of using a "keyboard", and a thing called a "mouse", that takes some 5-10 years to master the movement of, not to mention years spent learning the art of visualising on the "screen" what the "print" will look like, because the colours never really match each other, or your wishes, anyway. Sometimes, you have to go back to the beginning, make changes, and repeat—you cannot just wish your idea into a Wish Receptor, because "computers" fundamentally do not understand human wishes, and they lack such receptors. You also need to make "ink" from rare, often toxic, chemicals, that are difficult to source, very expensive due to the scarcity of some of the precious ingredients, and, needless to say, requiring plenty of skill, just like the making of "paper" requires, which has nothing in common with that Bioquantic ITC Holopaper that materialises in front of you, as needed, unless the Cloud is in a temporarily bad mood, every Monday morning.

Above all, creation of an image, beautiful, but so old-fashioned, and with that retro "digital" look, counting perhaps as few as 800 megapixels, requires hours spent in front of a "screen", using a "computer", which breaks often, runs "software" that is often annoying, hangs up, is very unintuitive to use, relies on oddest ideas called "layers", and lots of numbers that always say 255... After spending hours tiring their minds, developing hand injuries, and shortening their lives from breathing toxic "ink" fumes, these amazing individuals, through the hard work of their hands and minds, create sometimes beautiful objects, which they call "traditional inkjet photographs". One has to admire their dedication, in the era of everything being made automatically, with no human intervention, by the ITC. In fact, to some art historians, these individuals, who can manually operate "computers", are reminiscent of 20th century photographers, who also created art by hand, by operating a primitive, but very satisfying to use objects, in labs, which they called "darkrooms".

However, there is a discussion just going on, on the APUG-Thought-Sharing-Collective, to decide if images produced using the ITC can be called fine art. It seems, that, unlike those who used computers in the past, people of today, who do everything by means of thinking an idea into the Cloud, cannot be equalled to the artisans and craftsmen of the long forgotten era.

Are the ITC photographers creating fine art, or just decorative products? Is fine art so abstract as to be always separable from its medium, or is the medium a holistic part of what makes art?

As in the words of the great, Neil Peart...RUSH, 2112!

..'The massive grey walls of the Temples rise from the heart of every Federation city. I
Have always been awed by them, to think that every single facet of every life is regulated
And directed from within! Our books, our music, our work and play are all looked after by
The benevolent wisdom of the priests...'

We've taken care of everything
The words you hear, the songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes
It's one for all and all for one
We work together, common sons
Never need to wonder how or why

We are the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx
Our great computers fill the hallowed halls
We are the Priests, of the Temples of Syrinx
All the gifts of life are held within our walls

Look around at this world we've made
Equality our stock in trade
Come and join the Brotherhood of Man
Oh, what a nice, contented world
Let the banners be unfurled
Hold the Red Star proudly high in hand

We are the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx
Our great computers fill the hallowed halls
We are the Priests, of the Temples of Syrinx
All the gifts of life are held within our walls

[III. Discovery]

'... Behind my beloved waterfall, in the little room that was hidden beneath the cave, I
Found it. I brushed away the dust of the years, and picked it up, holding it reverently in
My hands. I had no idea what it might be, but it was beautiful...'

'... I learned to lay my fingers across the wires, and to turn the keys to make them sound
Differently. As I struck the wires with my other hand, I produced my first harmonious sounds
And soon my own music! How different it could be from the music of the Temples! I can't wait
To tell the priests about it!...'

What can this strange device be?
When I touch it, it gives forth a sound
It's got wires that vibrate and give music
What can this thing be that I found?

See how it sings like a sad heart
And joyously screams out it's pain
Sounds that build high like a mountain
Or notes that fall gently like rain

I can't wait to share this new wonder
The people will all see it's light
Let them all make their own music
The Priests praise my name on this night

[IV. Presentation]

'... In the sudden silence as I finished playing, I looked up to a circle of grim,
Expressionless faces. Father Brown rose to his feet, and his somnolent voice echoed
Throughout the silent Temple Hall...'
'... Instead of the grateful joy that I expected, they were words of quiet rejection!
Instead of praise, sullen dismissal. I watched in shock and horror as Father Brown ground
My precious instrument to splinters beneath his feet...'

I know it's most unusual
To come before you so
But I've found an ancient miracle
I thought that you should know
Listen to my music
And hear what it can do
There's something here as strong as life
I know that it will reach you

Yes, we know, it's nothing new
It's just a waste of time
We have no need for ancient ways
The world is doing fine
Another toy will help destroy
The elder race of man
Forget about your silly whim
It doesn't fit the plan

I can't believe you're saying
These things just can't be true
Our world could use this beauty
Just think what we might do
Listen to my music
And hear what it can do
There's something here as strong as life
I know that it will reach you

Don't annoy us further!
We have our work to do
Just think about the average
What use have they for you?
Another toy will help destroy
The elder race of man
Forget about your silly whim
It doesn't fit the Plan!