Is Computer-assisted Technology Killing Arts Designs?


There is one unchanging feature about technology.  In a continuous process, the technology becomes ever smaller, faster, and cheaper. One of the examples lies in the jewelry industry.  The jewelry designers are rethinking their manufacturing practices, using state of the art computer software programs for designs that they would have done by hand previously. The reason why traditional methods are left behind is these computer-assisted designs can be produced faster and cause a proliferation in the market.

Though the technology of Computer-assisted design (CAD) sounds familiar to most people, it is very unique for designers to apply the CAD technology to the production of art pieces and enhance their market values. In this field, CAD describes the process of creating a technical drawing with the use of computer software, which could assist in the creation, modification, analysis or optimization of a design. There are options such as “Emerald Builder,” “Cluster Builder,” “Bezel Builder” and additional palette tools to construct jewelry features onto an evolving, three-dimensional design. After rendering an intricate piece of virtual jewelry, the software can also display how it would look in different materials, such as silver, gold or platinum, with rubies, or sapphires or garnets. Even when using CAD or Matrix programs, the designer can add handmade touches at any point in the process, so that each piece is unique, or slightly irregular, or possesses a rough, or human, look and feel.

This may sound like computers, or at least computer programmers are taking over the art design world. But the traditionalists still don’t give up. While CAD can offer structural advantage to some pieces, the designer needs to know how to set and place various bits, whether using CAD or working by hand, so the art piece does not fall apart. As for jewelry’s charm, much of that is the result of an artist’s imagination and original design, which may or may not be enhanced by a computer screen, depending how fanciful or practical the piece may be.

Technology can make all of this happen. It will facilitate the production and the relentless march of computer-assisted technology could drive down the value of the art pieces because there is more supply than demand in the market. As the art and content becomes less and less commercially and economically viable, it can support fewer artists. As this happens, talented artists will enter other pursuits and endeavors with the original arts’ nostalgia. They keep thinking a question.

Are arts dying? Is technology killing them?

Barbara Becker, in her research paper of “On the Relationship between Art and Technology in Contemporary Music” gives her point. She said, “Certain preconceptions need to be dropped in order to allow for a creative use of technology in art today. The artist should not any longer be regarded as the sole source of artistic ideas but may appear as a mediator in the attempt to articulate them aesthetically. This leads to a different approach towards technology and appears to be the prerequisite for its creative potential to become accessible.” The technological possibilities could be explored in a playing manner in order to guarantee that they can be integrated into the artists' expressive repertoire. Becker thinks this way of employing technology may result into a richness of nuances and a diversity that is in clear opposition to the technological habit of mind ruling our present culture.