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Do you suppose that when the Cave People were painting images of mega-fauna on the walls they were wringing their hairy hands, wondering if there was anything new in the art world? It seems to be a perpetual problem with which artists wrestle. For the last 20 years or so, the ability to instantly replicate and share art on the Internet has added another wrinkle to the problem, one which #Artoffline intends to wrestle. Your enjoyment of the discussion depends on your ability to listen without prejudice to the artists and other arty thinkers, as well as your previous level of engagement with this particular topic. As a painter, I found myself alternately irritated and engaged by this documentary, one which may be getting to the subject a little late in the game, but which also presents plenty of legitimate food for thought.
The central conceit is this question; is the Internet good for capital 'A' Art? The conclusion, I think, is that there are no easy answers. How easy is it to steal art, when once it goes online it becomes de facto public property? (As an aside and an example you can find some of my 3D fractal art designs for sale online as shower curtains, with the putative proceeds going to someone in India, I believe.) How easy is it to get entirely the wrong idea about an art piece when digital scalability can make the minuscule Mona Lisa as large as a projection TV screen, or a wall-sized mural reduced to an iPhone screen? Does the notion of having a physical art object even make sense anymore?
Despite the ruminations of many current critics and practitioners, the genie is out of the bottle. This leads to another central conceit tackled here; either what do we do about it, or how do we as creators or consumers of art, adapt? Ultimately, there are no answers, which is something infuriating to people who 'don't get' art. (The fact that art has no answers has made people crazy for centuries.) Nonetheless, #Artoffline certainly presents a nice handful of newly invigorated ways to think about and look at art, which is never bad.
#Artoffline can feel like navel-gazing to novitiates and artists alike, (most examples of 'talking about art' do) but a little bit of patience and willingness to accept the quirkiness of artists reveals plenty of engaging thoughts to chew on. Art-lovers and the like will find this worth a watch, and should be comfortable if they choose to Rent It. (Spoiler Alert: Having an actual, physical piece of art will always make sense.)
Our copy of #Artoffline is of the 'Print On Demand' variety of manufacture, and certainly displays an acceptable level of detail in its 16 x 9 ratio picture. Colors appear true to life, and little in the way of compression artifacts or other authoring defects can be found. While at times the image isn't very crisp, this is overall an average and sturdy presentation.
The stereo audio presentation is also OK, with music faring especially well, due to a wide dynamic range. Some of the interview subjects are quieter than others, which can be difficult, but that's my only real complaint.
No extras other than the Theatrical Trailer are presented.
#Artoffline , an hour-long documentary about the relevance of art in the digital, Internet age, can feel like navel-gazing to novitiates and artists alike, (most examples of 'talking about art' do) but a little bit of patience and willingness to accept the quirkiness of artists reveals plenty of engaging thoughts to chew on. Art-lovers and the like will find this worth a watch, and should be comfortable if they choose to Rent It. (Spoiler Alert: Having an actual, physical piece of art will always make sense.)
- Kurt Dahlke