Art, technology, innovation and consciousness

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Following on from this morning’s thoughts on Being, I would like to flow gently into an exhibition I visited today which focuses on the technological revolutions which “which invented us”.

The exhibition walks us through the history of innovation as seen through the eyes of artists. While it was tempting to recall the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, who felt that technology was the natural outcome of a philosophy which emphasised correctness more than on allowing “Being to be” as Wachterhauser phrased it, thus culminating in nihilism, I myself just wandered around, paying occasional attention to the reaction to these works of art.

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

The exhibition plays with our senses, and invites us to see with new ways. I saw what the artist had located immediately in these innocuous closed-circuit televisions. Can you see what is there?

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

I really loved this henge of search-lights, or maybe they were stage lights.

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

It was only when they were switched on and started to whirr and rumble that I realised they were in fact cement-mixers. I was clearly seeing-as, and not paying enough sensory attention to what was right in front of me.

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

There was one exhibit which really impacted on my experience as a whole, and that was this musical device which merged the synthetic with the organic.

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

It is a mechanical device with tiny hammers and strings, making a slightly doleful beat of rhythmically resonating plunks and boings, which hooked up to a large sound system filling the whole auditorium.

This really was an atmospheric piece of music, minimalistically repetitive in the extremely, and it led me to worry about the impact of the customer experience, not of the visitors like me, but on the many security guards who were positioned throughout the exhibition.

I imagined them there all day, every day, for the two months of the exhibition. It is one thing for an artist to conceive of their art, but I did wonder if this particular artist had taken into account the impact of those having to work there. If I had been a curator, I would have positioned this like the other musical piece, inside a room of its own.

It’s interesting isn’t it. The music which is chosen to fill the auditorium impacts on the experience of every piece of art as a whole, and for me it was impossible to find inspiration while being immersed in such downbeat mechanical music. This is something that none of the other artists would ever have conceived while creating their own works, and it just goes to show the impact of the creative direction of the curators on our experience of the art and technology.

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