Creativity in the Twenty-First Century: I Sort, Therefore I Am

By Gerald Hushlak and Jennifer Eiserman.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper will examine the ways that digital photography is changing the creative activity of the artist/designer. It proposes that with the evolution of photographs from pictures to information, the role of the artist has moved from that of a maker to that of an organizer. The artist working with digital procedures now sorts, combines and recombines. The analogue photograph was understood to present unequivocal Truth. With the advent of the digital photograph truth becomes a simulacrum. The paper will also examine the implications of “sorting” as an activity that redefines the relationship between the formal visual languages and the signification of information. It will be argued that the digital image, unfettered from western aesthetic traditions, is creating unprecedented processes for visual creation. It concludes with an examination of the practice of one of the co-authors, who uses evolutionary software, to breed photographs with the computer. He thereby establishes a visual vocabulary that no longer operates within the traditional design paradigm defining space, place and form.

Keywords: Digital Photography, Digital Design, Aesthetics of Digital Photography

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.45-56. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.521MB).

Prof. Gerald Hushlak

Professor, Department of Art, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Dr. Jennifer Eiserman

Associate Professor, Department of Art, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I am an associate professor at the University of Calgary. Prior to entering academe, I worked in museums across Canada as a curator and educator. My work, both in museums and at the University has centred around notions of diversity in art. My current research takes two parallel tracks, both centred on identity. The first is an examination of the Western Canadian landscape as it defines and is defined by the identities of those who live there. The second examines the nature of contemporary art made by Canadians of Chinese decent. Both streams of work have caused me to explore alternative forms of dissemination; forms that are authentic to the content of the work, including artist books, online databases, Facebook, etc.


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