The Digital Divine: Ideal Form in an Alpha-numeric Age

By David L. Tucker.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In an era of postmodern digital branding, classical ideals of truth and beauty once revered by the ancient Greeks and later so eloquently championed by the likes of Keats and Blake, now might appear as forlorn and forgotten as Ozymandias lying deserted and abandoned in the desert of antediluvian dreams. The notion that universal truth can be found in a Grecian Urn no longer resonates with audiences conditioned as consumers to see art as commodity and classical beauty as the raw material of millennial marketers. Yet despite the backlash against classical aesthetics and culture’s march toward a more inclusive, non-elitist understanding of art (Foster 66), there remains ample evidence that ideal beauty’s influence is still very much alive and well and reflected in contemporary digital culture. Not unlike classical civilization, digital culture continues to employ mathematical Golden Rules to produce virtual gods in our own image, achieving in cyberspace what Blake once characterized as “representations of spiritual existences, of gods immortal…embodied and organized in solid marble.”
This paper will explore classical Greek archetypes of order, balance and harmony as reflected in contemporary digital media culture, arguing that in an age when art has become synonymous with branding, ideal beauty not only plays a central role in its promulgation but—most significantly—as digital culture merges body and computer chip through motion capture technology, touch-sensitive screen art, Second Life, gaming and ultimately bio-engineering, increasingly, ideal beauty becomes the norm, endowing even the frailest of mortals with god-like characteristics.

Keywords: Digital, Classical, Beauty

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.37-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 599.058KB).

Prof. David L. Tucker

Chair, Radio and Television Arts, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

David Tucker holds a terminal degree in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts and an Honours BFA in Film. He is also a Gemini Award-winning filmmaker. As past Chair of Radio & Television Arts at Ryerson, David spearheaded the development of its first graduate program in Media Production. Before joining Ryerson, David served as the Associate Dean of Media at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, where he helped to launch Sheridan’s Centre for Animation & Emerging Technology. A frequent contributor to CBC-TV’s The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, David has also written, produced and directed a MOW, created arts specials, won numerous international awards including a Gracie and a Prix Leonardo and had work screened at Hot Docs. A member of the Documentary Organization of Canada, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and the Writer’s Guild of Canada, David was recently an associate producer on the feature-length documentary, Force of Nature, premiered at TIFF 2010. David teaches documentary and media aesthetics at the graduate and undergraduate level in RTA and Image Arts. He has presented numerous papers on media aesthetics at international conferences and been published in academic journals including at the Sorbonne in Paris.

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