Snake or Ladder?

The molecule made it possible to study the most miniature aspects of an element in this world. When we studied the molecule, science assured us that it was further made up of these tiny creatures called atoms. Electrons danced around this central powerhouse called the nucleus. It was just like an iteration of this entire universe. For simplicity we can compare it to The Solar System. The earth along with the planets, resembling electrons, dancing around the huge ball of fire the sun, resembling a nucleus.

Similarly, technology is entwined within itself and within the huge realm of art. The answer to which of these realms gets to be the electron or the nucleus is something that we as humans are striving to decipher. The film “Artistry/Technology” by Tomas Auksas and Pablo Ganguli, picks out excerpts from a few of the world’s best pioneers in the driven motivation for the arts, its depiction, curation and creation. With Virtual Reality and Augmented reality being thought about extensively in the world, according to Marc Quinn (an artist), everyone is becoming like a synapse and these synapses are joining together to form this huge brain where we are leaving the physical world and living in an imagination which is beginning to seem as real as it gets. This has raised a concern among various artists, filmmakers, musicians, architects, innovators and designers. Some believe in safeguarding the sanctity of the traditional styles of creative processes and some having a progressive outlook to the modern day’s anthem that “change is essential”. Jonas Akerlund, an artist who makes music videos and short films, does not encourage the infiltration of technology in his world of creating art. We reconsider walking the direct bridge between our work of art and our mind instead of taking a means of transport like technology to get where we want. MIA, a successful hip hop artist and activist, wants to see the day where there are children born without mobile phones, ipads or computers in their proximity. I agree with her completely. We are born in an age where the accessibility to technology is not a by-product of hardwork or dedication but a mere luxury to the younger generations. Although it has its own perks of being a vast virtual easily accessible library of knowledge, it is depriving people of the physical worlds around them. The latest trending game- “Pokemon GO” was made with an intention for people to go out and experience the world.  The result was a total catastrophe owing to the fact that the game did not inculcate within itself, a simple sense of creative freedom or a desire to blend observation with knowing the surrounding. Large groups of people are found at various parts of the world looking at their bland phone screens rather than breathing or interacting harmoniously with the picturesque and complex environment. “Someone who does not own a smartphone or a computer. That’s art for me.” MIA looks at us with a cool face of subtle satisfaction as she says these words and she goes on to urge people to go “off the grid” and enjoy the concept of privacy. Francesco Vezzoli, an artist and filmmaker, says that it is impossible to create a true work of fine art having the involvement of technology as it may lose its “value” or authenticity.

The moving image is the best example of the incorporation of technology with the arts. When I first watched Steven Spielberg’s ’Duel’ I loved the title sequence where the movie begins with a casual common man riding into the highway. Suspense and terror can be created by versatile cinematography and wise use of interesting camera angles. This was Spielberg’s venture when he was just 19. The whole screenplay he had created were a series of numerous sketches that depicted where he wanted the car and the truck to be. He knew exactly what he was doing and he visualized it seriously by drawing it on paper. This is a perfect example of how the artistic vision of a director coupled with a camera, the technology of making that vision a living possibility, could reproduce such a powerful Hollywood movie. Francis Ford Coppola propagates the fact that as technology changed with the addition of colour, sound and live recording capabilities, the ways of story telling in cinema also evolved.

As knowledge is everywhere, we do our best to grab it and make meaning out of it during the time we have on this lucid realm called earth. The eminent actress, Susan Sarandon, supports the fact that Internet has made it possible for us to replenish our knowledge and create a thirst to know more. We can create and express openly through multiple audio and visual mediums.

With the evolution of technology, the creative processes and the artists also change. David Hockney, an English painter and draughtsman, calls the paint brush or the pencil as the first technology that was ever made. Misconceptions arise with the word “technology” as we are led into thinking about huge automated systems, LED lights and robotic voices reminiscent of “Terminator“, the cyborg movie. We fail to realize at times that these complex machines were made using nuts, bolts, screws and metal. In other words, technology arose from simpler technology and they deserve our unbiased attention. Hockney goes on to say that he loved the drawing feature in the iPhone and spent most of his time making digital art and is eager to purchase the iPad for a bigger digital canvas. Modern day progressive artists are adapting themselves to these, sometimes, abruptly changing platforms and learning from it with rooted respect.

Scott Belsky, an American entrepreneur, describes the whole change as a form of “recycling” creative ideas and methods. We learn from the past, and a few bits leave a good after-taste which, in some intuitive manner, adds flavor to our creative outcomes. Technology becomes the means of “defining time periods” according to Daniel Arsham, a contemporary American artist. Music has been one of the most entertaining and palpable means of expression. Scooter Braun, another entrepreneur in the music industry, states an honest conclusion that the music industry owes its existence to birth of technology. Nikola Tesla, in 1892, created the first design for a radio and through this technology, millions around the world were able to experience culture without having to travel the world. Through the simple language of music.

Space and time have always lived parallel lives describing new entities such as gravity. We have created our own spaces and designed little homes on this earth to live as a self-sustained civilization. These homes have well defined structures and spatial design. We call it architecture in the syntax of human species. The space we live in has a language of its own and “architecture is like frozen music” as Frank Lloyd Wright puts it. An unsaid voice always prevails in the empty hall we sit in or the long corridor we walk in. William Close, an artist and a visionary, tapped into these empty spaces and wanted them to be a part of his “architectural” orchestral installation. The result was the creation of a revolutionary installation and an instrument called the “Earth Harp”. The notes created by this elaborate instrument ensures the surreal possibility of conversation with the earth.

We are living in a world where there are millions of possibilities in the art and science collaboration. Well defined egos from any of these fields will never ensure unrestrained innovation and thought. The whole exercise must be to study the degree of moderation of these egos and to learn from artists and scientists through complementary strokes of magic to head into a new world where art creates technology and technology returns the favor.