It was 1972 and my college dance majors needed a music teacher. Electronically generated tones on quarter inch tape was a growing craze and they wanted to learn to make their own dance scores. One candidate for the job said he’d only teach electronic music to students who passed his regular music test. I hired him. Students resigned themselves to his rigor. It was still music’s Jurassic age.
The world of digital opens doors to “composers” who need only learn a computer program like ACID, which supplies millions of sounds to be “painted” on staffs, listened to, fiddled with, and recorded directly onto CDs, complete with copyright notices. I use it myself in a mental state that flips between wonder and despair. My “music” serves its purpose—rap or dance class or video accompaniment, not noticeably worse than the tracks, bands, and grooves disgorged daily on the media, most with as much individuality as herrings in a school. And yet, if someone never exposed to music but with the talent of a Mozart got hold of ACID, might not something come into existence that would never otherwise have emerged?
So I’m waiting for the same kind of computer program for visual art, way beyond Photoshop or Corel Draw. Center screen is a “canvas,” on which you can drag thousands of image elements: sunsets, clouds, mountains, skies, animals, trees, flowers, houses, machines, body parts -- eyebrows to toenails. There’s “style” and “influence" sheets to help you make something romantic, art deco, primitive, abstract expressionist, or influenced by Rembrandt, Picasso, Klee, Mondrian, Kandinsky, etc. Always on sale are add-ons with new content, styles, and influences.
To “create” your own original work, you drag elements onto the canvas where you can change colors, shapes, textures, etc., and manipulate them like a supercharged Photoshop. And if you have a microgram of talent, you can use the “pencil tool” or "paintbrush" to draw or paint something yourself. When you’ve come up with a finished work, you print it out in glorious color, sign it, frame it, put it on the wall, or send it to your gallery to be bought by wealthy art collectors.
Sic transit gloria mundi.