The Progression Of The Medium Change Between The Painting With The Digital Image

1830 words - 7 pages

The Progression of the Medium Change between the Painting with the Digital Image

Albert Borgmann, in his Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life, devises the “device paradigm” as an illustration of the pattern into which the stuff that defines technological existence falls. Even though Borgmann writes his book in 1984, it is of value to examine the paradigm in context of current developments of technological society. It becomes a question of whether the device paradigm is still applicable to the current technological setting, or if it is truer now than even before. It is thus taken into consideration in light of the specific instance of the thing, as Borgmann uses it, that is a painting prior to the modern period. The specific thing of a painting is contrasted to the technological device of a digital image. The progression of the medium change between the painting to the digital image will be examined as well as the skill it takes to produce them. Availability of these is observed, along with the consequence of such a metamorphosis in the essence of the thing and device.

First, however, Borgmann states the thing as a pretechnological object in the Heideggerian sense. The thing gathers the fourfold, being earth, sky, mortals, and divinity. Thus it is something which reveals the world in all its aspects. In this case, a painting of the medieval times is one which is created by a master. The master has undergone a lifetime of training under another master, and the business of the arts is under the guild system. A single painting would take many weeks to complete, and all instruments in its creation are known instinctively to the master. The pigments are hand ground and prepared, as are the brushes and the canvas. All these materials are obtained either by gathering them in the wild, or from others in the community. This activity requires a social engagement with those in the community. But it also requires social engagement in that all works are commissioned by the community, which are almost exclusively for the church. Thus, a single painting brings about engagement with the community and with the materials it is made of. Moreover, the fact that the painting itself is of religious nature requires the master to understand the character of the times, and his choice of composition and subject matter are reflective of this. But more importantly, such a work requires a devotion to the divine itself, and it is fueled by a desire to please the divine—aside from the community—as if it were an offering. And so the painting is a thing, in that it reflects earth in the pigment, twigs, and animal hair that are taken from the earth. The painting reflects the sky as it is seen in the light of the heavens, and inevitably using light in the composition. It also reflects mortals and divinity by, not only depicting people or divinity or both, but also in its involvement with the people of the community and the inspiration taken...

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