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Philosophers Panel: Clashes between Civilizations

Maria Poprzecka

Gutenberg versus Microsoft

Graphic art – from primitive woodcut blocks through increasingly diverse and sophisticated techniques – has always been printed. The print has been either convex, as in woodcut, or concave, as in copper engraving, or else flat, as in lithography – yet it has always been print. The technological procedure of printing and copying is natural to graphic art. That technology originated at the dawn of the Age of Gutenberg; it developed and flourished within it. The emergence of graphic techniques, as argued by Mieczyslaw Porebski, had influenced transformation of the structure and function of visual arts. Graphic art is more than just another technique, a separate kind or genre of art: being at the time a kind of mass or democratic model of what art communicates.

Will the predicted twilight of the Age of Gutenberg – the age of print that is now being displaced by digital technologies – also bring the twilight of graphic art, or printmaking? “The Clash of Civilizations", as invoked in the theme of the Graphic Arts Triennial IMPRINT 2008, can be understood in a different way than that made current by Samuel Huntington’s famous book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. There is also a clash between the civilization of print and the civilization of the computer, introducing – to paraphrase Huntington – a new shape of the visual order. This raises a number of questions. Is “computer graphics" just another technique or a splinter of some more fundamental transformations of visuality around us? And, is “printmaking" just a closed chapter in the history of art, albeit beautiful and noble? Should we defend tradition and traditional workshop skills? Or perhaps, alluding to the notion of “imprint", we might become open to any activity that leaves an imprint, an impression or a mark. And see the origins of graphic art not in xylographic blocks, but instead, in mysterious hand prints on Paleolithic cave walls, which makes it one of the original human actions and needs?

Prezydent Miasta Stołecznego Warszawy Minister Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego Prezydecja 2011 Fundacja "Stypendia i Nagrody im. Tadeusza Kulisiewicza" Akademia Sztuk Pięknych w Warszawie Mazowsze serce Polski Zakochaj się w Warszawie Zamek Królewski w Warszawie Pałac w Jabłonnie Fundacja im. Mariusza Kazany Mistrerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych