Ryan Spencer Reed

Ryan Spencer Reed

During my lifetime, the continuing evolution of electronics and many other processes leads me to believe that technology changes everything. In my public safety experiences, I have noticed that as we learn and produce new things, our standard of living changes, new terminology appears, there are new types of cyber-crime and more creative criminals; This results in new laws to address the evolution of crime and criminality. Technology has touched everything and everyone in some way (even those who avoid it). Technology has also changed art in so many ways. What exactly is “art” anyway? It really depends on who you ask.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy devotes almost 15 pages to the definition of art. These definitions discuss “traditional”, “historical”, “conventional”, “functional” and “contemporary” definitions as well as ideologies and their influence on defining art (“Art,” 2012).  There are as many definitions for art as there are criminological theories. Defining things that change and evolve is like trying to hit a moving target, difficult at best.

Immanuel Kant is cited frequently in Criminal Justice for his theories. Kant’s definition of art is: “a kind of representation that is purposive in itself and, though without an end, nevertheless promotes the cultivation of the mental powers for sociable communication” (Kant, Critique of Judgment, Guyer translation, section 44). I define art as a single or multi-media conglomeration or representation that elicits an emotional response from the creator and the viewer.

Since the inception of ArtPrize in 2009 it has been the goal to use technology in order to draw a younger audience to the arts. In the 2009 press release for ArtPrize, Rick Devos said, “It’s time to reboot the conversation between artists and the public. ArtPrize will be a celebration of art, design, and innovation that will bring artists and the public together like never before” (ArtPrize, 2009).  The ArtPrize 2013 Annual Report also describes technology used for the event, and reports that, “ARTPRIZE HAS GIVEN GRAND RAPIDS FAR-REACHING BENEFITS INCLUDING ENRICHING ITS CULTURE, BUILDING AWARENESS OF THE REGION, AND BOOSTING ITS SOCIAL CAPITAL” (ArtPrize, 2013, p.18).

ArtPrize uses its website, along with mobile apps in order for the public to receive information, vote on their favorites, and voice their opinions and experiences on social media platforms (Smith, 2010, September 28). Volunteers at The Hub can monitor real-time social media streams (Smith, 2010, September 28). This gives ArtPrize staff information regarding what the public likes and does not like about their experience, which is useful for planning the next year’s ArtPrize (Smith, 2010, September 28).

Mlive reports that in 2014 ArtPrize released a whole new set of techno tools; “New tools include a feature to create lists of art to see, a feature to create a route to view them, and the ability to share both with others. Also new is an updated interactive map to help visitors explore more of the city of Grand Rapids beyond ArtPrize during the event…” (Kaczmarczyk, 2014, September 4). These tools aim to facilitate a more interactive experience with attendees and help them to find quickly art they want to see. Comcast is a technology sponsor for the event, providing voting “kiosks” and “roving mobile voting stations” this is helpful to those who do not use or have access to mobile apps (Kaczmarczyk, 2014, September 4).

Not only is technology playing a larger role in this community event, it is also playing a larger role in the actual art entries. Many artists have integrated various types of technology into their works. Some are statements about political or economic issues; others are just unique and interesting. Technology changes everything, even art.


ArtPrize. (2013). Curiosity rewarded. ArtPrize 2013 Annual Report. Retrieved from

ArtPrize Media Kit (2009) Retrieved from

Kaczmarczyk, J. (2014, September 4). ArtPrize 2014: New tech tools will change how you experience the sixth event in Grand Rapids. MLive. Retrieved from

Kant, Immanuel, 2000, Critique of the Power of Judgment, trans. Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

MARK W SMITH FREE,PRESS TECHNOLOGY. (2010, Sep 28). Click on ArtPrize. Detroit Free Press Retrieved from

The Definition of Art. (2012). In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Retrieved from

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