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The immense technological development over the past centuries have significantly changed the media and purposes of art regarding its efficiency in reaching massive audiences and its user-friendliness among other aspects. From a historical perspective, in the event that a new medium reaches critical mass, it tends to displace the existing media to some extent (Randle 1). For instance, the emergence of the television in the art industry during the 1940s and 1950s drew the attention of advertisers and consumers away from the radio industry. The first major change in the art industry occurred during the 19th century following the development of steam and electricity as the two ‘motive powers’ (Buescher 1). Such developments led to the upstart of the telegraph, photograph, and phonograph.
Subsequently, in the 20th century cinematography emerged as an upgrade of photography with other significant developments such as the onset of printing. Besides, Guglielmo Marconi was able to interact light and electromagnetic waves to transmit wireless messages (History of Technology 14). It is during the 21st century that smart phones, tablets IPads and other forms of media communication have been highly adopted. These advances in technology allow users to easily access the media while communicating through social networks such as Skype and Facebook among others. In this regard, the technological advances that have occurred with time, have changed the media and purposes of art in major ways through the gradual development of a variety of new models and the increased emphasis on efficiency.
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Technological Advances Occurring During the 19th Century
The technological advances of the 19th century in the art and media industries were based on the use of magazines. According to Randle (3), by the year 1825, there were approximately 100 magazines being published. Within a span of 25 years, this figure had grown to more than 600 magazines with other titles having come and gone in between this period. Mostly, the production of magazines was considered a form of leisure as they solely relied on the wealth of the publishers and subscription revenues. At first, money was not the motivation behind the production of these magazines as they seldom contained advertisements.
On the other hand, the economic boom recorded after the post-civil war influenced the increase of number of magazines published at a significant rate. Randle also claims that it was towards the end of this century that publishers began to realize that not only could magazines showcase ideas but also merchandize. The revelation was influenced by the evolution of brand names as well as the mass production of consumer products. On this note, new products began to appear in profusion. Subsequently, major advertisers invested huge amounts of money into the popular magazines. Such a mass medium would then be associated with four-color printing in addition to the black and white photography. Despite the competition from books and newspapers, magazines took a new direction offering a unique model that did not require reading (Randle 3). As such, magazines transformed the art industry during the 19th century by through the use of linear forms of drawings and photographs which did not require reading.
Technological Advances Occurring During the 20th Century
The 20th century was characterized by major technological advances including the development of motion pictures, television video, and sound recordings among other innovations. Such advances significantly transformed the art industry by developing cinematography thereby promoting music, spoken word, and other forms of arts that require presentation. Cinematography became widely adopted after the end of the First World War (History of Technology 12). Furthermore, the art industry would be significantly transformed through the use of electromagnetic signals. With a few decades of constant striking of the light and electromagnetic waves, messages delivered through art would then be received and transmitted as codes through wireless platforms.
Subsequently, scientists also developed the thermionic valve which would be used to rectify an altered electromagnetic wave. The thermionic valve emerged from the innovation of the carbon-filament electric bulb. At around 1883, Edison discovered the presence of a current between the plate and filament. This discovery was subsequently enhanced when Fleming discovered that a telephone receiver could be connected as a third terminal which rectifies the current and is known as the diode.
With the development of the diode and later on the triode, signals would then be amplified thereby leading to the widespread adoption of the live-voice broadcasting. Eventually, the radio receivers and other equipment were massively produced. Such an increased rate of production of the live-voice broadcasting platforms relatively transformed the presentation of performing arts. Through the radios, artists would reach huge numbers of audiences. In another context, the television was also developed during this century as a medium of mass communication. As a result, the entertainment industry from artistic creations would then be presented across various networks despite the diverse geographic locations. In this case, the 20th century was based on the development of various platforms for presenting arts.
Technological Advances Occurring During the 21st Century
Since the technological advances are a gradual improvement and the innovation of other sophisticated forms of technology. Initially, the introduction of computers was associated with a vast array of benefits which occurred both directly and indirectly to the magazine industry. Due to the increased socioeconomic status of the people, printers became highly utilized leading to the increased use of computers. In the 21st century, the magazine industry has been faced by a mass communications medium known as the World Wide Web (Randle 8). Such a platform is characterized with the interpersonal aspects while offering most of the benefits provided by the television and radio.
The internet also outshines magazines in terms of advertising revenues and consumer time. Such characteristics and advantages of the internet have revolutionized the art industry by providing a more efficient medium of presentation while also increasing the amount of revenue collected from the arts. On this note, the purpose of art has been raised to greater heights through not only being a form of expression but also a career for most of the participants. Through the internet, artists are in a position to earn a living from their works which, in turn, raising their living standards and the global economy as a whole. Thus, the internet is the current technological advancement that is revolutionizing the media industry and art purposes by incorporating the human touch.
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Evidently, it is through the technological advances that the world of art and media generally has been gradually revolutionized over the past centuries. From the use of magazines to motion pictures, to the radio, and then the internet, the technological advances have led to the increased appreciation of art by enabling effective delivery of the intended message while making the industry more revenue-based. Therefore, it is necessary that stakeholders continue advancing technology to make the media and art industries more efficient in meeting the required objectives.
- Buescher, John. “Innovation and Technology in the 19th Century”. Teaching History.
- History of Technology. “The 20th Century”. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d.
- Randle, Quint. “A Historical Overview of the Effects of New Mass Media Introductions on Magazine Publishing During the 20th Century”. First Monday, vol. 6, no. 9, 2001, pp. 1-9.