Artifact #6- Art, Technology, and Games

Topic: Art, Technology, and Games

  

Course Objectives:

-Examine the role of technology as a force for cultural mainenance and change

-Discuss the validity of art created with the aid of machines

Artifact: Art and Technology Research:

For this assignment, we were to research the topic Art and Technology. We then had to find two articles that discussed the issues raised by the reading. Then we were to write one page about each article.

Article 1: Rush, Michael (2006, January 6). Virtual Reality Art: Beyond Technology. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/06/arts/06iht-rush.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2

The article by Michael Rush discusses the way in which this virtual world has grown so much that it is almost difficult to distinguish it from the real world. And people are counting on this, especially producers of entertainment. The article discusses the popularity of online role-playing games and chat rooms, both a virtual reality that seem to be better than the real thing. It has taken over the old-fashioned goggles and joystick virtual world once popular in the 1990’s.

Virtual reality is now relatively cheap, it is available to artists for around 3000 dollars. Software to create this kind of art can also be free when bought received from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Here, researchers have created a portable virtual reality set-up that was created specifically for artists. This being said, University of Illinois has been the force behind the Canvas. In 1992, the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment was created on this campus. It resembled the Imax or 3-D movies, but was better. Within this six walled cube created by putting on a pair of active stereo glasses, your body is engaged and your perception and sense of balance are challenged. The Canvas is similar, yet at a fraction of the cost.  This has interested many people, including multimedia artist, musician, and programmer Rose Marshack and novelist Rick Powers. They are taking this opportunity to make new art from hardware, and plan to create a 3-D emotional travelogue through the 20th Century.

 While artists are not generally interested in mimicking the real, they are interested in altering perception. The article expresses the belief that the seductions of virtual reality should be resisted until truly masterly art can emerge from it. Virtual reality affords incomparable access to light, space, sound, sensation, perception, visualization and disruption, all ingredients in contemporary art. The secret is in the concepts, the technology is just waiting to be freed.

In the article, Computer Graphics: Effects of Origins, Jones also discusses the intersection of the art world and the scientific world. She says, “Both scientific and artistic sources rely on culturally embedded patterns of reality represented by varying degrees of abstraction in symbolic and material culture” (Jones, 59). This is very similar to the discussion of the art world and the virtual world in the New York Times article. Jones also discusses the high price of technology, which she says creates tension in artists who want to use this technology. In Rush’s article, he mentions, “While cellphones with all the whistles cost as little as $99, virtual reality environments could set you back about $1.5 million” (Rush, 1) Both articles hold that it is not always simple to obtain the technology you need.

One difference in the articles is that Rush states that artists are not generally interested in mimicking the real, but instead are interested in altering perception. This seems to differ from Jones who says that many artists are interested in imitating the appearance, message, and techniques of other contemporary art forms. Whatever the artists intention is, it is clear to see that the growing popularity of technology will allow them to create virtually anything in their vision.

Article 2: Perlman, Stacy. (2005, April 18). The Art of Mobile Technology. Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/business/globe/articles/2005/04/18/the_art_of_mobile_technology/?page=2

This article discusses the expansion of mobile technology into a more creative sphere. Cell phone uses are growing steadily and new public space art projects are using these and other mobile devices as a means to explore new ways of communicating. Yellow Arrow, for example, is an art project in New York City. Passerby’s can take a yellow sticker and place it in the shape of an arrow around the city, stating that they have something to say about the location they are placing it at. Each arrow has a unique code that can be sent as a text message so that others can read the message left. Yellowarrow.net was created to explore the hidden details of cities and to give everyone a chance to have a mini-billboard. It allows people to convey what they think is an important spot, and relationships can be established through this.

Projects such as this have adopted the cell phone so that people can view the city through the eyes of other citizens. Murmur is another project based in Canada that is similar to Yellow Arrow. When people spot the murmur sign (which is shaped like a big ear), they call a phone number, type in the signs code, and can hear a story about the location they are standing at. Through this, Shawn Micallef, the creative director of murmur, says that spaces will be changed into places. Once a narrative is told about the space, it will become a place. The Yellow Arrow project has become huge, with over 2,000 yellow arrows registered all over the world, from countries like Europe, Germany, and Norway. Now cell phones not only allow you to text, make phone calls, or play games, but they allow you to learn something about the city you may never have noticed.

In her article, Beverly Jones discusses how technology has been brought to a higher level through art. She says, “Theorists in the arts and humanities may assist scientist, engineers and technicians in directing the development of new technologies toward cultural goals before technological ones” (Jones, 52). This has a lot to do with the other article in which many cultural goals are being fulfilled through technology. Phones are not just being used in technological aspects anymore. Rather, they are being used for people to understand where they live better, or where they are visiting. It gives people a large historical context as well as cultural context as they learn about different people’s experiences in a certain location. In the article, John O’Niell, who has had a diverse career in the art world believes, “art was important not in itself but only as it affected people” (Jones, 56). I believe that this new technology will have a large effect on people, and hopefully help people to relate to others as well as their city.

Reflection:

When I think of technology, I automatically think computers, cell phones, and the internet. These are the things I use every day and through these examples, technology is prominent in my life. Up until this assignment, I didn’t think about the effects technology has had on art, cultural maintenance, and change.

Through reading the article by Michael Rush, I learned about new art that is going to stem from hardware. Art has all to do with the viewer’s perceptions, and now artists are able to alter perception of the viewer using this technology. Rush states in the article, “Virtual reality affords incomparable access to light, space, sound, sensation, perception, visualization and disruption, all ingredients in contemporary art”. The technological advances will allow many advances in art as well. Art created with the aid of technology should be considered completely valid, which is discussed in the last objective for this unit. Technology is opening many new doors to art and creativity and that should be respected.

Another objective that I explored was to examine the role of technology as a force for cultural maintenance and change. I wasn’t quite sure what this meant until I read the article by Stacy Perlman. She discussed a new art project called Yellow Arrow. In this project, people in New York City can take a yellow sticker and place it in a location that means something to them. Each arrow has a code on it and this code can be sent as a text message so that other people can read the message that the first person left. This allows people to explore different aspects of the city through other’s eyes. Through this, relationships can be established. Yellow Arrow is now in use all over the world.

This project really showed me the potential impact that technology could have on the larger cultural society as well as individuals. People are now able to relate to other people in their city as well as the actual city they live in. I feel that through projects like these, we will be able to cross so many borders and begin to understand one another better. Through projects like these, we could make a change in the way we think about each other and the world.

Learning goals for the future:

First of all, I really would like to become involved with the Yellow Arrow Project in hopes of learning more about the city in which I live as well as other cities I am interested in. I read about a lot of really cool artistic things evolving through technology so I would like to research them more in depth. I would like to learn about upcoming advances and see how we should expect art to change in the future through technology.

Bibliography:

Jones, B. J. (1990). Computer Graphics: Effects of Origins. LEONARDO: Digital Image – Digital Cinema Supplemental Issue, pp. 21-30.

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