Creative disruption- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  In these times, when issues like climate change and AI are some of the biggest disruptions to our world, threatening our very existence, internationally- acclaimed artist Raghava KK, believes art has to be future-facing. This is probably one of the reasons that the artist has invested in a Bengaluru-based youth collective, Under 25.

“I don’t want art to be just a commodity, it has to be a way of life. So how do we achieve these are the questions we’re asking the youngsters through Under 25,” Raghava says about the organisation cofounded by city-based Anto Philip Philips, who also serves as the CEO of Under 25 believes that art has been “put in a box for way too long” and that they’re trying to explore alternate realities where everyone could be a participant rather than mere spectators.

To which Raghava adds, “It’s my job to come up with logical, organised and well-documented experiments to figure out what kind of world we want to live in and how we should realise it.” Early in his career, Raghava, now 42, embraced technology, both to enhance his art and to make a wide contribution to the art world.

Apart from his various disruptive digital art projects over the years — La Petite Mort, a blockchain-based art which set a new record at the Sotheby’s auction a few years ago [$94,000/`77,40,227], Raghava also invested in various companies that have gone onto create tools used by artists around the world. The prime example would be his 1995 investment in Wacom, the go-to graphic tablet manufacturer for digital artists.

Amid an increasing backlash over use of digital tools to create art, Raghava remains adamant that technology is merely a tool for artists to express themselves. So what does he think about the skeptics who question AIgenerated art infringing on digital artists’ existing styles? “Disruptive technology like AIgenerated art and experiments will always have sceptics just like every other invention in history.

Aren’t we already using styles that have already been used for hundreds of years when we use oil paints and brushes?” he questions. “The art world does not understand technology, they’re only looking backwards, and operating with fear not awe. They view technology as almost a deterrent to truth through creativity. I look at it slightly differently, because I feel the consciousness of the artist meets with the friction of a tool to create a certain artefact, and technology is just another tool. Without a tool, there is no art, without a brush, or my hands or whatever else I might use,” he adds.

Raghava believes that the Indian art world is particularly hostile to ‘forward-facing art’, with art galleries in the country ‘still obsessed with modernist art’. “A few years ago, I was asked to do an exhibit with technology by an Indian-based art foundation. I had organised an entire team from London, the US, and Israel to fly to India and create possibly the most disruptive piece in the country’s history – a room full of artworks created by robots. At the last minute, that entire project had to be cancelled because some investors in the art world didn’t think that artworks created using technology were worth being showcased,” he concludes.

Internationally-acclaimed artist Raghava KK, who has invested in Under 25, will lead creative
experiments for the youth collective. With CE, Raghava speaks about his involvement with
youngsters, his tryst with technology, the impact of AI on the art world and more

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