Bridging the Divide: E-society or Ecosystem? An Analysis through Digital-Media Art
More than buzzwords, the “digital divide” and “e-society” have come to represent a growing problem and an unstoppable tendency in our world. Their definition isn’t static. Both problem and tendency are constantly evolving, shifting scope and bringing more variables to the table. If the digital divide was once a question that concerned mainly governments, its scope has evolved and the decisions that influence its evolution are no longer centralised. In this article I use the digital-media art paradigm to present a model I believe will provide possible insights to answer the question of “how to effectively bridge the divide”, as well as come to represent the future thriving b-society (blended-society) where the digital divide will mutate and evolve, increasingly requiring attention and solutions lest it will threaten the depth and scope of the very e/b-society that feeds it. Why art? In the words of the poet (Oppenheim, 1911) “Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes; Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!”. Art-as-roses evolves according to periods and social contexts, it becomes a model of sociability, relating artists, audience, medium and technology. Departing from the natural sciences model of ecosystem, where several entities reach a balance in order to thrive as a collective, I believe that there should be a similar balance among virtual and material key players, on and offline, for the e/b-society to prosper, and what is happening in the digital-media art world is very significant.