The computer has been promoted as a revolutionary artistic medium, yet the points of continuity with older artforms have proved important during its fifty year gestation. The most significant continuity, at least in the wider context of computer graphics, is the adoption of projective geometry into 3D graphics software and the consequent push towards “realistic” imagery. The disparaging attitude of many artists towards the achievements of simulation and graphical realism in the design sphere has prematurely closed off an area to artistic experiment. Part of the reason why contemporary art is tentative and anaemic is because it fears visual richness, unless it is underscored by some ironic twist or (often vapid) sociological concern.
A second point of contact between digital and pre-digital art was the conscious emulation of Constructivist and Abstract forms during the 1960s. Perhaps a Constructivist influence may also be discerned in the widespread use of photomontage, although that is more a consequence of current graphics software. In a sense, all digital imaging points back to Moholy-Nagy’s prescient use of indirect techniques for producing art.