Raymond Alvarez:  Can you imagine the world if Mozart was unable to record his music? How tragic that would be to lose something that belongs to all generations.

Fortunately, his music survived to our day and has been masterfully reprised and recorded in different formats. I wonder, though, if we are not aware of or have forgotten the lesson of preserving Mozart’s music and the great trove of art and knowledge of civilization. A few have not.

When I first met Thomas Frey he told me the Davinci Institute was working on a rather interesting legacy project. I was curious, but my thought was about what seemed more important to me at the time. So, I asked him. Would it make money?

He explained that preserving the printed word was important to our legacy. If anyone were to learn anything of us or from us, it probably wouldn’t occur if machines ultimately caused the printed word to vanish. Why, I asked was print more important than the machines? Tom said something like: Archives of newspapers, magazines and books have preserved our civilization’s great legacy but may disappear if future generations don’t know how to extract information from computer chips. Unlike the Rosetta Stone that revealed the words hidden in the ancient hieroglyphics of the Egyptians, the computer disk and computer chip are not so impressive by themselves. Someone will have to have a computer to learn what’s on those chips. Our civilization’s Rosetta Stone may not even catch notice.

For everything programmers have done for our culture in recent decades, they haven’t written on anything yet that could be permanent. Those were my thoughts some years ago. I haven’t’ changed my mind. But what strikes me today is the rise of new technologies that might change that. Before long, we may have something akin to the Star Trek Enterprise’s replicator. Investors are already throwing their high risk money at 3D printing, hoping that the technology is indeed a world changer. The remarkable thing is it may be that.

What I find fascinating about 3D printing is its ability to translate digital information into machine parts, bicycles – and art. I don’t know if anyone is committing print to these stone tablets, but it’s bound to happen. I also find it a bit interesting to ask which came first? Technology or art?

Tens of thousands of years ago, a hunting group thought it proper tribute to tell future generations of the great hunters of their time. Their handprints or drawings of bison and deer would forever adorn cave walls to remind future generations of who they were. We revere legacy as we should for a great gift. Paintings and the written word carried across a vast sea of time are striking. Someone took the time to tell us about something very important.

My personal art exists largely inside a computer these days. It’s a rather frightening thought but I’ll share it. If a solar flare or some other devastating disaster were to befall us, that art might not survive. Stone sculptures, paintings, and the like will. I’m about to graduate from the Davinci Coders class. One of things I plan to do is go about translating digital information to stone – using that recently acquired knowledge, of course.

By Raymond Alvarez
Ascending Art | N e x t w a v e
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