Utilizing digital technologies as an artistic medium opens up unlimited opportunities for creating art. This art provides a way for the viewer as well as the artist to participate in the making of the art, this is unlike any art of the past. Chapter two of Christinane Pauls book, Digital Art, explores using digital technologies as a medium. To label art as “digital art” it must use the digital platform from start to finish. Digital art is unique in that it is participatory, changeable, and dynamic. It uses different elements that combine to make the whole, which include: sound and music, internet art, physical installations, film, video and animation, virtual reality, and software art.
Golan Levin explores combining the visual and auditory aspects of digital art in his 2001 performance of Telesymphony. He used mobile phones with their many different ring tones for his “instruments.” People were invited to a tele-symphony in a music hall, they received tickets with assigned seating after registering their mobile phone numbers at a web kiosk prior to the concert. Because the exact location and tone of each participant’s mobile was known to Levin prior to the performance, he was able to choreograph a diverse selection of music. The performers dialed the phones using custom software and the ringing of the mobiles created the music. The audience became the participants in their own “cellular” space(135). Simultaneously, spotlights shined on the member of the audience whose phone was ringing, these lights were displayed on screens at either side of the stage in a grid like fashion which was likened to a musical “score”, thus adding a visual element as well.
Ringtones of mobile phones that are often considered annoying and embarrassing were transformed into a beautiful symphony with a corresponding light show. The audience became participants in that time and space, they helped create the art.
Telesymphony created its meaning through a computer program that allowed the audience to be a vital element of the art, which is the formal aspect on which digital art is based.