Remember back when vinyl wasn't a choice? When it took at least an hour to see those photos you snapped? When you couldn't just print out an object? Technology has changed, well, everything. That includes art. While you may miss the physicality of a Polaroid, a memory card can hold thousands of images. And while MP3 compression costs you something in quality, nobody's hauling a turntable on their morning run. But the changes of technology are more than mere convenience. There are things artists can do now that were impossible before. Interaction and visualization that no previous audience has ever been given. That's what Digital Revolution at London's Barbican Centre is all about.
It's a collection of art that demonstrates just how much has changed. That starts with the Digital Archeology gallery, tracing an unbroken line from the first Pong machines to Microsoft's Kinect, which can track your movements from across the room -- no controller needed. That power is harnessed for The Treachery of Sanctuary by Chris Milk, which transforms visitors into angelic silhouettes. We gave Google some love yesterday, and they get more today for their DevArt project that brings developers and artists together to make several of the works in the Barbican's exhibit. Like Wishing Wall, that turns your whispered dreams into a flight of ethereal butterflies. You couldn't have done that five years ago, let alone 20. While technology continues marching forward at a dizzying pace, at least it's leaving us some incredible art along the way.