What Technology Trends Are Impacting Your Discipline?

Roughly once a month, we pose questions to artists about their work and lives. We recently asked a group of artists, What technological trends are having the greatest impact on art in your discipline (for better or for worse)?

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Timothy Kadish, visual artist
The Pixel. Digital photography and related technologies are having a profound effect on the 2 dimensional visual arts. I am referring to accessibility. The ability to readily adjust, manipulate, morph, and break down an image is affecting how the visual artist interacts with the formal and conceptual properties of a picture. Pixels are the “Legos” of our visual worlds and anyone can play.

Daniel Kornrumpf, fiber artist and painter
Using images that I’ve sourced from online profiles, I make embroidered portraits by hand stitching and overlapping different colored threads to create the illusion of form as well as a visceral, painterly texture. There are computer programs now that can use sophisticated sewing machines to create intricate, multi colored, embroidered images. You may have seen an example recently if you’ve been in a store that develops photos. They’ll have a blanket hanging on the wall, stitched with an image, typically a family portrait as a relatively inexpensive product, allowing you to create a blanket or pillow that can be stitched to include any image you want. There is a certain kitschy aesthetic to them but it is clear they are not made by hand. This is not a new “problem” for artists. The industrial revolution made is a lot easier and more affordable to make a lot of products from furniture to clothing, but there are still craftsman and designers today that make handmade, one of kind pieces. I believe it to be a more productive mindset to think of innovation as new opportunities and not as competition or hindrances.

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Amy Archambault, installation artist
As an installation artist and sculptor, my work embodies the physical. It is an extension of my body and the space that I inhabit. I am interested in raw materials that fuse together the visual language of architecture and the physicality of athletic culture. Current trends in technology have influenced my field as some artists now employ diverse forms of new media into a given structural form. My work has utilized these tools minimally while striving to retain a raw and direct format. Suspensions (2011) explores the activation of multiple spaces that were void of human intervention. Each performance or survey of a given structure was documented using a Go-Pro HERO camera. This form of documentation yielded a raw “home-made” quality that could be shifted between surveillance and directly attached to the subject. I have continued to use this approach in more recent work. While new media continues to expand into the realm of installation, I am still most concerned with the materials themselves and their physical properties. My work takes me back to my childhood and what it is like to “touch” something for the first time. It allows the viewer to have a haptic experience and consider all the properties before them; color, texture, form, scale, dimension. Beyond the integration of video, sound (new media), installation art, I believe, will continue to be driven by physical experience.

Shane Savage-Rumbaugh, visual artist and animator
Today virtually anyone can affordably create animations. Photoshop lets artists try design permutations with unprecedented efficacy. Robotics, drawing programs, 3-d modeling tools, and Maker Bots promise a world of seamless, effortless craft. Material can be digitized and reworked. Screen glitches and pixilation are part of visual parlance, and high-tech terminology has permeated speech. Information is immediate and super abundant.

This is good because ideas find fresh embodiment and can be shared globally in real time. Inspired artists with insight, energy, and grit see technological leaps as new challenges, and as opportunities for surprises. Such individuals aren’t common, however. I think it’s a problem when people are convinced by the power of machines that making interesting art is easier than it inevitably turns out to be.

As an artist and as a teacher, I’ve tried to cultivate fluency in simple, ancient tools (charcoal, ink) believing that this enables one to more creatively exploit complex, new tools. It’s analogous to conditioning for athletes. This strategy has been succeeding, and I make animations with digital photographs of my drawings. New media has made this possible, and thus stretched me artistically.

That said, until we’re transformed by bionics, Nano-technology, and the omniscient connectivity of the Internet into something we no longer recognize as us – I’ll put faith in a need for the primal urgency of art wrought plainly by our own hands, bodies, and voices.
 
Installation artist Amy Archambault had a solo exhibition, Live-work, at 17 Cox Gallery this Winter. Watch a stop motion animation of the exhibition installation.

Timothy Kadish is exhibiting visual art in a dual show with Warner Friedman at Clark Gallery in Lincoln, MA (6/10-7/12, opening reception 6/14, 4-6 PM).

Daniel Kornrumpf is a fiber artist and painter.

Animator and visual artist Shane Savage-Rumbaugh will be doing a residency at The IdeaX factory in Springfield MO this summer.

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