The Economist on webcomics

(via Boing Boing)

The typical format for a web comic was established a decade or more ago, says Zach Weiner, the writer of “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal”, or “SMBC” (below). It has not changed much since. Most cartoonists update on a regular basis—daily, or every other day—and run in sequence. “I think that’s purely because that’s what the old newspapers used to do,” says Mr Weiner. But whereas many newspaper comics tried to appeal to as many people as possible, often with lame, fairly universal jokes, online cartoonists are free to be experimental, in both content and form.

The Economist has published an article about the rise of webcomics, and the transformative effect they have had on the medium of comics.  They call the article "Triumph of the nerds," but I'll give the (unnamed) writer the benefit of the doubt that she or he didn't have any control over the headline.

It features a history of comics in Western journalism, the particular qualities of webcomics as compared to traditional newspaper comics, and the ways in which webcomics are opening up a significant method of free speech in oppressive nations or cultures.

That last section contained the most content that I hadn't heard before -- the Western webcomics artists they discussed were people I'm already familiar with, but I'm only passingly familiar with comics as a form of serious political dialogue.

 In China cartoons distributed across weibo, a collection of Twitter-like social networks, have become a powerful way of criticising the communist regime. Pi San, a cartoonist and animator from Beijing, creates carefully coded cartoons as a way of subverting China’s strict web-censorship regime. His most popular character, Kuang Kuang, is a lazy schoolboy at a prison-like institution where dissent is routinely persecuted. The drawings, full of jagged lines and dark colours, are as edgy as the politics. One recent animation, poking fun at China’s censorship of references to Ai Weiwei, a controversial artist, was viewed by a million people within just a few hours of its being posted online.

I think this might be the cartoon they're referring to:

 

(via Wild Dollop Appeared)

David Bowie released a single

David Bowie, rockstar, celebrated his birthday this morning by releasing the single for his first new album in over ten years.  The album is scheduled to come out, according to Wikipedia,on March 12th in the United States,  March 8th in Australia, March 11th everywhere else. The album is called The Next Dayand the single is called "Where are we now?"

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOyDTy9DtHQ]

That's the news.  On to the personal stuff:  This is weird.

I mean, it's not weird for Bowie.  This actually seems pretty tame compared to, like, Ziggy Stardust.   But the last time David Bowie came out with something new was 2003.  I was 14 at the time -- I barely knew what music was.  I certainly didn't know how significant David Bowie was, or how much I was eventually going to like him.

So this is the first time I've ever been around for the actual, present moment of David Bowie, like, happening in real life.  And I'm here for it on the day. I'm a fairly skeptical person, but this is one of those kinds of events that one's brain just refuses not to interpret as significant.

So, yes, I am absolutely buying the new David Bowie album on March 12th.

3D printed record

Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing has posted a video of a record -- it doesn't look like it's actually made of vinyl, but still -- that was printed with a 3D printer, and actually plays.  (Kind of badly.  I mean, I'm really enjoying watching and listening to it, but that's more because I'm amazed at the technology than that it's a particularly faithful replication of the sound.)

I'm waiting for the way when taking a snapshot of a vinyl disc can be the first step toward deriving its audio content, converting that back to a shapefile, and printing out a high-fidelity duplicate.

[Video source] [Instructables page on making 3D printed records]

Cards Against Humanity's surprisingly humane financial decision

Cards Against Humanity, the mildly evil card game, had a Christmas sale, where they released a season-themed booster pack at $pay-what-you-want. After the sales all came through, and they paid for production and expenses, they donated all the profits -- all of them -- to the Wikimedia Foundation, best known for being Wikipedia.

"From the outset we decided we wanted to give all the proceeds to charity and that made it more fun for us," said [co-creator Max] Temkin. "We weren't really worried about the bottom line, we were really able to do it as an experiment and do it in a great way."

After covering an assortment of costs including manufacturing, shipping and development they were left with $70,066.27 in profit, of which every cent was paid to the Wikimedia Foundation.

"We wanted to pick something we thought the users of our game of had heard of and believed in and used and we felt like Wikipedia is pretty unique in terms of having universal appeal," said Temkin. "It's something that helps a lot of people of all different classes and levels of education in different places all around the world … We also support the social mission of Wikipedia."

(Bracketed notes mine, unbracketed the Guardian's)

I still haven't gotten the chance to play Cards Against Humanity, and I'm still not totally sure I like its hipster-awful ethos, but I absolutely approve of this decision.

Womens Menswear

This IndieGoGo campaign has already met their funding goal, but they deserve more money -- specifically, the money that comes from people patronizing their business. Krezubach 10 is a clothing label that makes menswear cut to fit women's bodies.  From their IndieGoGo page:

We don't like to say we make women's shirts, because that makes us sound like a lot of other labels who take a button up shirt, feminize it with girly colours  and patterns and maybe even add some frilly bits then still have the nerve to call it 'man style.'

That's not us.

Our shirts are designed to be straight up what you'd expect to find in the men's department; Primary colours, geometric patterns, no frills.

This is awesome -- I can't personally shop with them, being male-bodied, but I know a lot of female-bodied people who have wished they could find mens clothes that fit them.

Here's a link to their IndieGoGo campaign, for information, and here's their Facebook page, for future updates.  I will continue to update as I hear of new information about their progress.

Prettiest metiorite ever

(via Boing Boing) If I had a $200,000/month art budget, I know exactly what my next purchase would be.  This is the Gibeon Mask, an  iron meteorite that was discovered in 1992.

In some TV show or movie I watched once, which peripherally featured an art gallery employee, that employee said something to the effect of, "You should never buy a piece of art unless you feel you absolutely have to have it."  I've thought about that a lot since, and it figured heavily into my aesthetic sense.  (Not that I don't buy things I feel like I could live without.  But it's something I usually have in mind.)

If I could afford this meteorite, I would absolutely want to buy it.  I'm not confident that I'd be willing to call it art, but it's definitely a beautiful object, and it's something I would appreciate having in my home, every day.

Unfortunately, it's estimated to sell at auction between $140,000 and $160,000.  So, that's a price range I'm never, ever going to be able to match.

That comic I mentioned that one time

So there's this comic I referenced in a post a month or two ago.  I can't remember what the post was about.  I think I was talking about depression.  Anyway, I referenced this comic that said something about thinking about all the embarrassing things that had ever happened to me, all at once -- because I was talking about how all of a sudden I realized that wasn't normal, and was probably indicative of some emotional problems that I should be working through. Anyway, I found the comic.  Here it is, via its original source.

I am bad at doing things sometimes (Fahrenheit 451)

The Nerdfighter Summer Book Club Book this summer was Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury.  I never got around to finishing reading it.  I kinda only barely started.  I kept meaning to, the way that, for years now, I've been meaning to read this book.  But I didn't get around to it. Now, I've just watched John Green's commentary on it.  (I'm not worried about spoilers.) Here it is. 

John talks about a hard-to-describe omnipresent pain that's ambiently floating around for us to experience whenever we're not doing something else.  He talks about the increasingly inescapable presence of distractions as a defense mechanism developed by society to avoid facing that angst.[1. I'm calling it angst, because that's what I think it is, but John never used that word.]

I don't know what the world was like before these distractions were available everywhere.  I wasn't there -- pretty much no one was that I have access to.  I mean, I'd argue that pretty-much-everpresent distraction has been available in some form for all of human history.  Before smartphones, there were cell phones.  Before cell phones, there were radios.  Before radios, there were books, and before those, there were stories.  You have to go back very far before you couldn't memorize enough things to say back to yourself that you've always got access to some sort of distraction.

John points out that he's changed his mind about books being a special way to access that clarity, that escape from distraction, that engagement.  I think he's right, but I also suspect that the increasingly potent information field we live in has increased not only the capacity for distraction, but our need for it.

[notice]Informational update:[2. This update is separated because I don't want to break the train of thought that it's in the middle of.]  The Flynn Effect describes the fact that, in developed countries, the intelligence of citizens appears to rise over time.  There are a number of proposed explanations for this, but I believe it's because over time societies get better at thinking in a way that is useful for living in a developed society, but less useful for surviving in a tribal or feudal society.[/notice]

The more technology we have, and the better we get at acclimating people to the developed world, the easier it is for people to tap into that sense of angst that we might not need to feel otherwise.  There's so much happening around all of us, it's impossible for individuals to avoid being presented with a hundred contradictions a day.  I think the angst that John is describing is the angst of doublethink, being faced with multiple contradictory narratives.  We don't want to examine this because it hurts, and because, ultimately, there's no satisfying answer to the problem.

I'm quite bad at fighting this resistance.  That's particularly problematic for me because I want to make a career out of the answers that you get when you think deeply about hard questions[3. There are a lot of attempts at defining what art is, and I don't want to try and make a case for one right now.  But I do think that thinking deeply about hard questions is a prerequisite for the kind of art I want to do.].  It's hard to write a story that exposes a difficult question when you don't have an answer to provide for it.  It's harder work than I've been able to manage so far.

About the ads before the movie I just watched

I just saw the Dark Knight Rises (again) and I have a bit to say about that, which will come in the next post.  But first, I want to talk about some of the commercials that were on beforehand. The first one was for the second season of a TV show, called Homeland.  The premise of the show seems to be that there's a US senator (or something) who went into politics because, when he was a prisoner of war in Iraq, he got turned into a sleeper agent.

I'm not going to deny the existence of people who pursue politics for subversive reasons. But the premise of this show seems aggressively Islamaphobic. Worse, because it looks like a really good show -- good actors, complex psychology, all that fun stuff. But it hangs its plot on pumping up xenophobia and racism.

The second one is a remake of Red Dawn. I never saw the original of this movie, but as I understand it, the Russians conquer America but then a bunch of small-town jocks fight them off.  The trailer for the remake was unclear, but I wouldn't be surprised if the bad guys in this version turn out to be Muslims.

Watching the trailers before the movie, it felt like Hollywood had cut a deal with the Republican party: you break the internet so we can extort our customers, and we'll drum up another decade of post-9/11 Jingoist racism.

There were also some good trailers, though.  Killing Them Softly looks super-violent, but not the especially toxic kind that dehumanizes the victims.  And, apparently, Christopher Nolan is working with 300 and Watchmen director Zac Snyder to create next year's Superman movie, Man Of Steel.  So, that's awesome.

My first album

I just remembered a story from my childhood. The first time I bought an album -- a CD, which was at the time the primary format -- I was terrified.

It wasn't the first time I spent money, but it was probably my biggest purchase to date -- certainly my biggest purchase of something I wasn't sure I'd like.  It was a Beatles CD.  I knew I liked the Beatles because I liked their greatest hits album.  But I was scared that the greatest hits might be their only good songs.  I found an album that had a song from the Greatest Hits, A Hard Day's Night, and, very nervously, paid fifteen dollars for it.

I was thinking about piracy earlier, and I was thinking about this.  I was thinking that if I'd had the choice, I would never have bought an album I hadn't first listened to online.  I was thinking that the fifteen dollars I had when I was twelve-ish could have been a much less scary investment, and that now, I'm older and fifteen dollars isn't so scary.

This isn't a very coherent argument.  I don't think I'm making a dramatic point here.  But I've written before (almost a year ago) about the ways that I've felt awkward about music all my life, and the fear of disappointment over the relatively huge investment fifteen dollars was when I was twelve might have fed into that.

So I got Instagram

My partner and I were exploring the various options for smartphone apps last night, and after a series of random downloads, I ended up getting Instagram.

I've been thinking a bit about that decision.  I don't have anything against Instagram, but I'm pretty sure the only reason I didn't get it before now is that I'm aware of the substantial negative reaction to it online.  I've been thinking about that because I feel a little guilty for, not actively rejecting it, but sort of dismissing it.

I figured I should try to know what I was talking about, so I googled "Instagram sucks" and read the first article that showed up.  It's called Why Instagram Sucks, by Ryan Pinkard.

Instagram is bad for photography and bad for art.

I will admit—I’m a college-level photography student, I use Instagram recreationally and I was quickly charmed by its accessible allure. As a consequence of my generation’s nostalgia, I like old, flawed images to a degree I can’t quite explain. I understand the success of the app entirely, and still find amazement in how it can improve a lackluster cellphone image to my tastes.

So what’s my issue?

People have called Instagram a democratizing force, empowering anyone to be creative. I have a problem with this—I don’t think it works. Throwing a filter over an otherwise everyday image is not creative, it’s borderline lazy. A hypersaturated picture of your breakfast cereal is still a picture of your breakfast.

This section (and some lines from the following section -- "Whether you tweet it or Instagram it, no one really cares what you had for breakfast. And given this social media aspect, is art also supposed to be a popularity contest where the “likes” determine the image’s success?") helped me figure out why people dislike it, and why those people are wrong.

The short answer is that it's elitist.  The long answer is that it's a particularly toxic kind of elitism that's simultaneously anti-amateur and anti-intellectual.  It's anti-amateur for obvious reasons -- people of limited skill or training are still able to make certain kinds of pictures very well using Instagram that would otherwise require a certain amount of expertise, or at least of having been a certain age and in a certain place (and have owned certain things, and have known better how to use them, and have kept them.)

It's also anti-intellectual, for two reasons.  One, critics presume that the content on Instagram isn't worth serious contemplation.  "No one really cares what you had for breakfast."  John Green criticized this style of dismissal in a Swoodilypoopers video called Why I Like Art:

A frequent criticism of contemporary art is that it isn't really art because 'I could do that' misses the really vital fact that that's something that you say when you aren't paying attention[... .]  That's something you say when you're trying to [dismiss] something intellectually, and [not] think hard.

(To be absolutely clear, John Green was defending professional contemporary art, not Instagram, and I don't know for certain that he would agree with this application of his argument.)

Instagram may not consist of people spending weeks or months of time composing pictures.  It does, however, consist of pictures people choose to take for reasons that are important to them.  You may disagree -- you may think that some photos reflect values you think are wrong.  I think Ayn Rand's philosophy is irrational and insane.  But I don't reject the Fountainhead by claiming it's not art.

Two, it argues for art as a sort of walled garden arena.  Something you have to earn your way into.  I don't know if Ryan Pinkard believes this, but I've heard a lot of artists quote Picasso's line, "Every child is an artist.  The problem is to remain an artist once we grow up."

Media like Instagram let more people than ever before express their sense of art.  It lets more people than ever remain artists.  You certainly don't have to try to consume all the art on Instagram -- it would be impossible, it's impossible to consume all of any media now -- but dismissing it as not-art, sub-art, anti-artistic or degrading is misanthropic, anti-intellectual and elitist.

Ryan Pinkard ultimately recants the premise of his article, so I guess he's not that bad.  It seems like he just found a niche for an angry rant, and found a way to write it then create plausible deniability for himself.

 

the RGB Colorspace Atlas

(via Silliestlovesongs on tumblr)

This book, by artist Tauba Auerbach, contains every color producible by combining red, green and blue.    In theory, at least.  I'm not sure whether it's strictly accurate.  Still, it's an incredibly beautiful book, and I want one.

I've pretty much always believed that books are extraordinary items, but the categories of books that are extraordinary not for the stories in them but for the physical qualities of the books themselves is a lot bigger than I realized.  There's the Google Dictionary, which, instead of definitions, contains the first Google image search result for every word.  And there are books like House of Leaves, which requires the book's form to tell the story it contains.

I'm not any good at predicting the future, but my guess is that the transition towards ebooks and cheap publishing is going to free up a lot more space for a broader selection of kinds of art -- of books that depend more on their book-ness, and stories of broader selection and style.

Silencing wildlife

Bernie Krause, a musician and naturalist, has for the last 40 years been leaving microphones in various habitats, making recordings of the wildlife.  He's recently released a book, The Great Animal Orchestra, quoted in the Guardian:

"A great silence is spreading over the natural world even as the sound of man is becoming deafening," he writes in a new book, The Great Animal Orchestra. "Little by little the vast orchestra of life, the chorus of the natural world, is in the process of being quietened. There has been a massive decrease in the density and diversity of key vocal creatures, both large and small. The sense of desolation extends beyond mere silence.

"If you listen to a damaged soundscape … the community [of life] has been altered, and organisms have been destroyed, lost their habitat or been left to re-establish their places in the spectrum. As a result, some voices are gone entirely, while others aggressively compete to establish a new place in the increasingly disjointed chorus."

The article is fascinating, and sad.  I'm not a huge fan of nature, personally, but this approach -- showing, tangibly, the holes in the soundscape that human intervention leaves -- makes it easy to relate to preservation activists.  It's genuinely tragic to hear the world losing its songs.

I'd also like to add that this is yet another argument in favor of retreating, as a species, into massive supercities, and letting the rest of the world return to wilderness.

Abandoned clocks

Cory Doctorow posted a link on Boing Boing today -- his post was titled "Crononauta: stylized photos of Brazil's abandoned public clocks." It's about a beautiful series by Diego Kuffer, whose work can be seen here.  I couldn't find any English information about it, except the bit Doctorow quoted, so here's that:

Brazilian artist Diego Kuffer writes, " I have a new series of photos called 'Chrononaut'. It's about how experience shapes the way we perceive the world and reality. Also, it pictures public clocks in Sao Paulo that are abandoned, because it isn't allowed anymore to post ads in public spaces, as part of a law that forbids this kind of visual pollution."

I love the idea of public digital clocks.  They suggest a sort of unifying inevitability that I find really surreal and compelling.  If I were designing a city, I'd put digital clocks all over the place -- the ability to sync up the time, everywhere in the city, rather than leaving everyone in the place to rely on their own, disconnected, uncertain devices, commands the power to suggest that, even in the digital, abstract space, in the city everyone is sharing the same world.

It's also less Orwellian than some of the other icons of government presence everywhere.  CCTV cameras or police are terrifyingly oppressive.  Ads everywhere can be even more isolating.  People recede into their own bubbles, their own attention avenues, scanning over the ads that aren't targeted to them and being sucked into the reinforcement cycles of inferiority that the ones that do are designed to create.  (I love that, apparently, Sao Paulo has laws against public ads -- especially, that they call it "Visual pollution.")

The fact that they display the time also resists the sense that the government is controlling reality by fiat.  They may be distributing it, but a government wouldn't be in charge of the public clocks.  Everyone is subservient to the time, and no amount of money or power can put you above that.

The pictures, by the way, are gorgeous.

 

The next several years of Joss Whedon

Variety.com posted today about Joss Whedon's statement, that there will be a Doctor Horrible sequel going into production "within the next year."  In the article, they outline the next few years of Whedon's planned work.  So, here's the upcoming Whedon:

  • On October 9, the original Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog will be aired on TV for the first time on the CW.
  • Dr Horrible 2 will go into production some time in 2013.
  • Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, who worked with Joss on Doctor Horrible, have been recruited to help him write a TV series about S.H.I.E.L.D., which, unfortunately, will not be officially in the same continuity as the movies.
  • The Avengers 2, which Joss is writing, will be released in May 2015.
  • As far as I know, Firefly is not coming back.

There used to be Olympic art

Here's something we should bring back:

The Olympics used to have art.  Well, they still do.  Apparently, the Olympics have an art exhibition every year, which is all that remains of what was once the Olympic art categories of Architecture, Literature, Music, Painting and Sculpture.

These events were ended because the artists were considered 'too professional' to compete, because apparently the Olympics is for amateurs.  You know, those amateurs who go to college on scholarships for their amateur sport, the ones who spend their whole lives training to be the best in the world at that one thing they're amateurs at.

There are several reasons why Olympic art events would be great:

  • It would broaden our understanding and appreciation of other cultures worldwide, promoting unity around the world.
  • It would help raise the public assumption of legitimacy of art, the way Olympic sport events raise the public assumption of the legitimacy of sports.
  • Can you imagine some of the awesome new events we could have?
    • The 24-hour comics event
    • The photoshop event
    • Literature categories for poetry, flash fiction, short story, and novellas
    • The architecture section could involve designing parts of the stadium

According to Wikipedia's article, attempts to reinstate the Art categories have been unsuccessful.  The Olympics (while distinctly European in a lot of ways) is one of the few attempts we have going for a world culture, and its rejection of art says unpleasant things about that world culture.

ThinkProgress: Romney says he'll kill arts funding

ThinkProgress has a post up, called Mitt Romney And The Fundamental Unseriousness Of Cutting Arts Funding.  The most disturbing thing in it to me was that he's stated that he plans on cutting all arts funding if he gets elected, which is just a kind of creepy thing for a government to do.  But Alyssa Rosenberg explains why, apart from that, it's just a sleazy, evasive argument:

Talking about cutting arts funding is a diversionary tactic, both in terms of the amount of money that would actually be saved by doing so, and in terms of a philosophical discussion about what the proper funding of government is. The arts are an easy thing to toss to the crowd because you can cherry-pick an example of something that was funded by the NEA or NEH that will sound silly to someone, even if it has tremendous value in terms of preserving folklife traditions or ensuring access to arts and culture to rural communities. Arts funding is a way at getting at an interesting question. Should the government perform functions only that we believe shouldn’t be allowed to be controlled by private interests, like control, regulation, and deployment of the armed forces? Or should it step into voids left by private enterprise and personal charity when there are important functions that don’t appear to be supported by the market? That’s a real conversation, and scapegoating arts funding is a way of avoiding it.

And the profound unseriousness of going after spending by targeting programs with small budgets and without constituencies that are perceived to be powerful (or as is the case with Amtrak, something else Romney has proposed cutting funding for, with constituencies it’s politically valuable to rope-a-dope with) is really something that Republican politicians should be held accountable for.

I'm pretty seriously sketched out by the idea of Romney winning the coming election, and I'm seeing more reasons for that every day.

Manpain

Through a series of variously depressing links about sexism I explored today, I came across this music video, for a song called "The Price," and its associated vid notes.  You have to download it. The video focuses on the tragic moments of pain in the story arcs of male heroic characters, generally featuring the death or injury of female characters they have a relationship with.  I found myself thinking back frequently to one of my favorite articles, How to be a fan of problematic things.

Liking problematic things doesn’t make you an asshole. In fact, you can like really problematic things and still be not only a good person, but a good social justice activist (TM)! After all, most texts have some problematic elements in them, because they’re produced by humans, who are well-known to be imperfect. But it can be surprisingly difficult to own up to the problematic things in the media you like, particularly when you feel strongly about it, as many fans do. We need to find a way to enjoy the media we like without hurting other people and marginalised groups.

Seriously, that article is awesome.  Check it out.

The vidder's notes about the Price video go into massive detail about the way in which male characters are portrayed as uniquely capable of experiencing deep emotion, and as the primary (often only) touchstone for audience empathy -- specifically, about certain kinds of pain: people close to them die or go through something traumatic, which is painful for them, far more than the original victim; they have ridiculous amounts of power, and that makes them feel awful all the time; women they love are killed (often off-camera) and the man is totally sad about it and stuff.

This article is full of lightbulbs about really problematic things in popular media, so if you tend to feel defensive about stuff you like, I really recommend reading How to be a fan of problematic things first.  Then, come back for such features which I was embarrassed to have not previously noticed as:

Uneasy rests the head that wears the crown! &c. This manpain flavour is also known as "white man's burden" – the sadness that comes because having power and privilege is hard work. This category is actually owned by the Doctor, because no character has ever had so much white man's burden as he has – and he's just so LONELY there at the top. "The Lonely God," seriously.

That one was hard to swallow.  I really like Doctor Who.  Or,

[O]n Leverage, Nate lost a son to cancer. Which has never happened to ANYONE ELSE. But his pain is so great and overwhelming, so huge, that even his wife, who lost exactly the same son in exactly the same way, cannot understand, cannot feel as deeply as he does, cannot be as destroyed by it.

I did notice that one, but it seems even worse when put in the context of the rest of these examples.

There are loads of other examples in there, and the writer wraps it up with a bunch of links to TV Tropes, which are also worth checking out.

A whole new kind of 3D image

(via Boing Boing) Some of technological advancement is stuff like confirming the existence of the Higgs Boson, studying the fabric that gives particles mass and making huge leaps in the most basic levels of understanding -- or, getting a vehicle the size of a Mini Cooper to land on the surface of another planet intact and send high-resolution photos.

But sometimes, technology is some people figuring out clever uses for old knowledge, maybe noticing that we can do something now just because we have refined enough tools, that we always could have imagined, but didn't.

These may be less awe-inspiring, but I think they're way cooler to learn about -- perhaps only because I can wrap my head around the whole of their implications (maybe), but mostly just because they're so damn clever.

Scientists at the University of California: Santa Cruz have figured out how to print a 2D(ish) picture that looks 3D, but not the 3D we're used to -- this kind of image reflects light as though it were a 3D object in the paper.

I don't know how to describe what this does, because I've never seen anything like it.  In the realm of image creation, it's basically a totally new thing, and that's one of the coolest things that technology gives us.

Right now, the technology is at about the level of dot-matrix printers, which is so out-of-date we don't even generally use it for receipts anymore, but I can only barely imagine what it will be like to look at one of these pictures in five years of improving technology, and then in five more years of price dropping.  I want a Van Gogh print that responds to light like you're looking at the actual shape of the oil paint sticking off the canvas.  And I really want some of the art made specifically for this medium.

Here's the video about it.  Watch it.  They manage to successfully explain what they're doing.