What is Electronic Art?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Electronic art admits of no single definition. It is created in a variety of media and with the electronic aspect being interpreted in a variety of ways, including closed camera feedback, digital origins, digital processing, robotics, electronic devices controlled by people’s movements, and other types of technology. Much of it invites or even relies on participant interaction.

Users are represented by avatars in the Second Life game.
Users are represented by avatars in the Second Life game.

Creations in virtual reality programs, such as Second Life®, are one form of art that is considered to be electronic art. Second Life® is a digital world in which people interact using a digital persona called an avatar. A creation done for and used in Second Life® is both digitally created and digitally transmitted. When used in the Second Life® environment, others who are also in the environment can meet, talk to, and connect with the avatar, so the creation is an interactive form of electronic art. Avatars in this, and other, virtual realities are created by people all over the world, who are able to interact with each other despite enormous distances between them.

Electronic art can include the use of computer programs to create 3D environments and images.
Electronic art can include the use of computer programs to create 3D environments and images.

Electronic music is another example of electronic art. There are many types of electronic music, but one type of electronic music is created with an electronic instrument called the theremin. The theremin is played by hand movements interacting with the instrument and controlling pitch and volume by altering the electromagnetic fields of two antennas. It was invented by Lev Theremin in the USSR in the 1920s, and continued in development for a number of years thereafter.

In 2009, one award in the Prix Ars Electronica — an international electronic arts competition — went to Eduardo Kac, along with his partners at the Department of Horticultural Science and the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul. Kac received the Hybrid Art award for his work called “Natural History of the Enigma” in which he transplanted a gene from his own DNA into a petunia, resulting in an “Edunia,” which is accompanied by a sculpture, photographs, and a print suite. The electronics come in, for example, in the use of 3D imaging used to in the conceptualization of the sculpture based on the proteins and molecules of the flower.

The term electronic art could also be applied to television broadcasts, podcasts, videos, movies with CGI (computer-generated images) or other computer effects, and other art forms. Online video games are another interactive form of electronic art. It is highly likely that new forms of electronic art will continue to be invented.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to EasyTechJunkie about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments


second life is a cesspool it is not safe for anyone to ever be there. there is so much sexual depravity its morally and ethically corrupt and corrupting others. it ruins families, it ruins friendships, it ruins lives.

they cater to all sorts of dark dangerous unsafe fetishes and kinks and you are not allowed to ever disagree with any of the groups that sever that depravity up. that if you don't like it just walk away. to shut up, to not say anything about it. to just accept it. tolerate it, normalize it, validate it. excuse it.

there are sims and groups that cater to abuse, snuff, vore, mutilation, forced slavery, murder, rape and that is the light stuff. It goes far darker the more you look for it.

the company that runs SecondLife linden lab research does nothing to protect any of its residents from these nefarious and dangerous people and their behaviors.

they allow blackmail, extortion, intimidation, hacking of people's accounts and computers, hookers, prostitutes, whores, escorts with no regulations at all, and much worse.

they cater to the emotionally unstable and give them god-like powers in the groups and sims they run. whey they can kick or ban you on a whim, preventing you from being able to return to that area or group again. just because they decided to for no reason other than that.

they allow mental and emotional and psychological abuse through the use of hypnosis and other forms of head and mind games like gaslighting and love-bombing and deceptive and manipulate behaviors and the perpetuation of lies and false information.

they cater to narcissists and misogynists and the delusional and megalomaniacal and diabolical, who use their skill to take advantage over those who are lacking in understanding of the dangers within SL.

the adult areas are even worse with its BDSM that does not even follow real-life BDSM practices in the slightest. safewords are allowed to be blocked or punished for using or told its cheating to use them for any reason. limits are ignored and pushed and broken by the fake dominants and masters. the false information that is passed around about what a good submissive will do and allow is totally false. most groups perpetuate false information and disinformation to make the subs or slaves or pets be more docile or helpless or powerless and more compliant and obedient and more biddable and useable and abusable.

the BDSM collars they have allow you to be permanently locked in them or have the safeword function blocked or disabled, where the only way to get out of a situation is to log out of the client.

there are many people there who believe and claim and try to make others accept and believe that no one can be hurt there, that its all just fake and roleplay that you can just log out or walk away, that no harm can be done at all. which is simply not true.

they have a system called rlv that can allow others to force you to do things against your will or against your consent, and linden labs totally allow this and do nothing to anyone who abuses it. it can allow your chat to be blocked, your inventory to be blocked, your ability to see names be blocked, the ability to see the name of where you are to be blocked, your ability to see to be blocked, and many other things.

there are people who will say logging out of this rlv system is cheating or being untrustworthy or disrespectful or unfaithful or unloyal and will shame others for doing so. some sim owners will ban you from their sim because it's cheating to use a safeword in their eyes. they will try and brainwash you into believing that logging out of rlv is bad/cheating and you should be ashamed of yourself for doing so. that you just have to allow or accept or tolerate or agree or consent or permit or validate or excuse whatever they want to do to you through the rlv system; that you have no rights or say in it at all. that once you turn it on you cannot ever turn it off for any reason at all or you are worthless and trash and garbage and weak and cowardly

the egotism is astounding in sl, it is downright disgusting. it is not a safe place for any adult, man or woman, or legal age teenager.

speaking of legal they allow a lot of illegal behaviors and activities and because it is virtual that they are suddenly normalized and ok to do. that if you don't agree, turn the other cheek or just ignore it or let it be. you're not allowed to say anything negative about it at all. it just roleplays, it is just fake, it's not real, so it doesn't matter.


@pastanaga - I'm interested to see what the next generation comes up with when they get to the point where they are innovating with these tools. There's only so much we can do since we didn't grow up with them and can't see all the possibilities the way they will be able to (much like a native speaker will always have the edge over a person who speaks it as a second language).

I'm particularly interested in how electronic arts are going to end up mimicking our senses as time goes on. We're already at a very exciting point with visuals, with several different advanced augmented reality and 3D technologies being introduced in the next decade or so.

But haptic technology will be the next big thing, I think, where we will be able to experience digital space through touch. I can only imagine what artists will be able to do with technology that can make people feel like they are touching something rather than just looking at it or hearing it.


@croydon - I am constantly thrilled by the creations that I see on my social media feeds, particularly Tumblr, as they are almost always some kind of electronic art. My favorite thing is that a lot of the time they are just purely done for the love of the art rather than for money or prestige.

The things that artists can do with digital art software these days is just amazing. Combining it with traditional mediums is also very cool.


Some of the more incredible examples of electronic art I've seen have been made with the game Minecraft. There's actually a small movie made up of still frames drawn with the blocks in the game. And people have recreated everything from fictional castles to real countries in miniature.

The thing I like most about it is that it's such a collaborative medium, as is electronic art in general.

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