Saturday, April 30, 2005
The problem with technology in art
Manual Input Sessions by Golan Levin and Zachary Lieberman (I've recently written about Levin's other projects) is another one of these brilliant inventions that seem the beginning of something beautiful. We discover the technology, it is new, fresh, and has great potential. But it's not quite it yet. The video at the above link shows a study for an actual performance, that apparently is to last about 30 minutes (there is a short note about it here). Still, what we see in digital format is from a performance at the Whitney Biennial in 2004. Which means - we are to take it seriously.
The problem is - I don't. As many, many other brilliant technological inventions, it seems a tool for something else, a first step, a basis to be used elsewhere. Maybe it's because of my theater /performance background, or my appreciation of films - but I often want to include a work like this into a bigger universe. And here is my complaint: the artists whhich work in new media often develop the technology, then present it, and then abandon it, moving on to another project. The other project, of course, usually integrates the technical discoveries of the first one. But it doesn't use it in a (aesthetically, artistically...) more ambitious development. On the other hand, other artists will rarely profit from these discoveries using them as part of their projects. Question of copyright? I don't think so. There seems to be a fear (I hope I'm wrong) of staying with a given invention and working "sideways", to try and explore the various ways it can be used. Could it be that because the artists working "on the cutting edge of technology" are closer to the technological tradition than to the artistic one?
One of the objectives of this blog is to inspire. I love discovering new ways of looking at things - and then using them, consciously or not, to my own means. I am convinced that the artist should take advantage of the discoveries other artists make - and take the time to work sideways, also using other works as tools to present things in a different light
or give them a different twist
(by the way, I discovered two pretty sites about Marcel Duchamp - a simple but pretty one here and an informative one here)
I sincerely hope Golan Levin's work keeps surprizing us. Not only because his new program reacts to drawn images - but because of where it will allow him to travel. And us, to hitch-hike along.