Article Post on 21 June 2016

Digitalisation and robotics in art

Connected with art, digitalisation and robotics, are present, namely within the  so called « robotic art » and the « digital art ».

Robotic Art - Robotics began to be applied to art around the 1960s with the first computers and software programmes. French artist Jean Tinguely (1925-1991) was a pioneer of meta-mechanics or kinetic art in the Dada tradition, and created a self-destroying sculpture entitled Homage to New York (1960). Nicolas Schöffer’s kinetic work CYSP 1 (Cybernetic Spatiodynamic Sculpture) (1958) was one of the first interactive artworks that used sensors and electronic analogue components, providing a bridge between kinetic and robotic art1.

Digital Art - Digital art2 is a term and a practice that has been prevalent in the museums and contemporary art sectors since the 1960s.
In its broadest extant sense, digital art refers to art that relies on computer-based digital encoding, or on the electronic storage and processing of information in different formats—graphic or plastic such as text, numbers, images (fixed or moving), sounds. The ways in which art-making can incorporate computer-based digital encoding are extremely diverse3. Digital art is based on the use of computerized digital images as the primary medium of expression in the visual and performing arts and uses new media, including graphic design, digital animation, motion graphics, 3D visualization, game and interactive media design, music and sound design, video production,  web design, photography, and other fields.

A specific software allows to govern the structure and the access to the digital art work as well as its interactivity and its distribution « off line » or by any digital network, whatever is the support of distribution or of reception. The technical measures of protection which apply to them allow to authorize the exclusive access in a unique way or a limited number of authorisations.

Digital art is more and more present in art exhibitions4. In the past, some sales of digital art works failed because the potential collectors did not know exactly what they were going to buy and questions arised regarding the material support, the exclusivity on the art work, the exploitation rights…

In order to prepare the evolution of digital art in the next future, Luxembourg needs to legiferate. The purpose of the reform would consist in setting up a regime allowing to create more confidence for the collectors and to value the exceptional asset that is the data center of the Luxembourg Freeport, which gathers in the same place the technical tools and, after such a reform, the legal and fiscal tools for the creation, the preservation and the sale of digital art works.

The digital art works could be endowed with a digital index card which would define the main characteristics of the digital art work: description of the author and/or the co-authors of the art work, the editors, the date, the number of copies constituting the original, the rights of exploitation,  distribution, reproduction and sale, the nature of the medium and the right or not to adapt the work to the technical constraints of new digital media to insure the sustainability. Every digital art work would so be endowed with a digital index card, a « ID card », which would detail its characteristics and would be worth certificate of authenticity.

Such a card would allow the market players – professionals and collectors – to know the exact nature of their rights on the digital art works, so contributing to have the  market more confident and to favor the development of digital art.

By adopting such a legislation, the Luxembourg would be the first European State to be equipped with a specific regulation on digital art, so asserting its role as pioneer on this matter.

1 See
2 See this short film commissioned by the British Council and produced by Dezeen : What is Digital Art? And why should we pay attention to it
3 The Philosophy of Digital Art, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
4 See Rhy Art Fair Basel 2016 and the International Digital Art Biennial (BIAN) which will take place in Montreal from June 3 to July 3, 2016.

This article is available in the June edition of the Agefi Luxembourg.

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