Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Art history

Publication Details

Paper given at Object and Identity in the Digital Age:25th. Annual CHArt Conference, London, 12-13 November, 2009.


Men of genius really are doing most when they work least, as they are thinking out ideas and perfecting the conceptions which they will subsequently carry out with their hands.’ (Leonardo da Vinci) There is a romantic notion that regards all forms of Art as emanating from the gods and artists as the mere conduits for this divine inspiration. This research project disavows such notions and instead is predicated on the basis that all artists are skilled practitioners of their craft. Research into the areas of tacit knowledge and visual intelligence indicate that the making of art is an experiential process of conceptual enquiry involving ongoing negotiation between the artist and the form. In short, the creation of art involves a convoluted, complicated artistic process, which operates in confusion and the end result, even when successful, may not be what the artist intended. Artistic process has generally been inferred from historical and circumstantial evidence found in manuscripts, letters, diaries, ledgers, economic records and everyday paraphernalia. These have been living handshakes across historical divides facilitating the cross generational transfer of information. However, hard copy evidence of this nature is becoming more difficult to find as people become increasingly reliant on digital means of communication. Hard copy manuscripts are disappearing to be replaced by fragile digital files that are easily destroyed or rapidly become obsolete. ArtLog is a software programme that attempts to ameliorate this danger. The software facilitates practising artists to reflect on their process and document it, offering the artist an opportunity to tell their own story of their work. In this way, the story of the work is told, provenance established and the contextual framework of the work will be preserved. The software can be used by all artists working in all media. Growing the content of the archive will involve the education of artists as to the importance of maintaining and preserving their personal archives. The project is based in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerring, Co. Monaghan which is Ireland’s premier residential centre for practising artists. Funding for the development of the software was provided by the Arts Council of Ireland. As part of the archival strategy for the Centre, ArtLog will also record the biographical details and the artistic histories of those who stay at the Centre. Over time, these ‘Profiles’ will form a database of modern Irish artists.


Arts Council of Ireland