The Next Few Art Forms

An artist friend of mine once said he’d like to invent a color. I think that ambition is present, in one form or another, in a lot of artists. The urge to create something fundamentally new is a powerful one.

It would seem that entertaining that kind of ambition is a fool’s errand. Most of the art we produce and consume bears a strong resemblance to many other works produced over the millenia since art arose.

To some extent, however, we are seeing the birth of new forms of art. When I listen to my game developer buddies wax poetic about designing interactions as first-order artistic constructs, I get a little frisson of wonder.

I had a little dream tonight about an art form that doesn’t quite exist yet, but that probably will soon. In the dream I found myself staring at a page, and as I moved my eyes around it, I could see new accents appearing in response to my attention. As we learn more about the mind and can tie more and more directly into its ebbs and flows, there might be a manifold of art forms awaiting us – art that lives in the mind alone, works whose very definition relies upon an observor’s particular interactions.

To some extent various art forms do this already. Books rely on the imagination of the reader, games upon interaction. But in my dream I felt it was very clear that there might be depths to plumb that these forms can’t touch. They await a new generation of science, engineering, and finally artistry to realize meaning that has never before been possible.

It’s a lovely time to be alive.

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