I like to think of the absolute beginning of art as the piles of sticks, entwined branches, mud scratchings and markings to show our passage through the land (be it an icy tundra or windy plain). That pattern that wasn’t natural and caught the eye and let other ‘human’ beings know of your wanderings… “I was here”, “This is our hunting area”, “No decent pokemon here, mate”.
We have looked back and found 500,000 year old zig zag etchings on clam shells. The artist in question was Homo Erectus, using a HB shark’s tooth pencil. These etchings were thought of as being “artistic”. It can be hard defining artistic expression versus random markings or just plain practical designs. There are many early signs of art in caves from handprints to animals looong extinct (like the megafauna species ‘Genyornis’, painting discovered in Arnhem Land, Australia).
Art (I believe) went from signs of passage and territorial markings, to rituals and pre-written language communication. When we settled down and started to farm, the art would have shifted more towards religious content and rituals of crop growth and making favourable weather conditions.
Art goes onto encompass architecture, dance, sculpture, music, painting, poetry, photography and graphic arts, fashion, cooking, film, video, computer art, performance, advertising, animation, television and video-games. It has existed to educate, communicate and indicate. A practical tool. It has also been used as therapy, to deepen our understanding of things and assist us to form our world-view, as well as creating a window into our past and dining cultures around the world.
This rambling blog is quite timely (by the time I got around to finishing it) the office is poised to embark on a new chapter of art and expression here at The Box… we have built a seriously exciting Virtual Reality suite. Technological Toys by themselves are not the exciting part. It’s creating real world uses for it that have previously not been possible (or even dreamed of — outside of a sci-fi novel).
There are a myriad of ways this technology can be used to boost not only art as entertainment but as a business and communication tool. It’s all about using the technology as a vessel for a great idea, still using those timeless skills of story-telling and engagement that they used in those caves many moons ago… watch this space…