Technically Artistic | Breakthrough Funding

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Technically Artistic

Where does technology and art divide?

In the wake of a self-named AI called Benjamin surprising the world by writing song lyrics and a screenplay akin to what Sarah Kane may have penned, I find myself questioning whether art and engineering are happy bedfellows. 

Benjamin’s screenplay and lyrics have been interpreted by human artists and the results are actually rather watchable. Does that make Benjamin an artist or a tool for artistic use? What about the people who programmed him? Creatives or tools?

It’s not just Benjamin though, there’s been a recent surge in technology joining forces with the art world. The focus on tech for the sake of art has seen us watching light up drones doing synchronised dancing to traditional musical instruments, Bjork using 360° virtual reality technology to create a film enhancing her music and epic, beautiful moving pictures have been dominating unusual surfaces all over the world with projection mapping.

Now, even Google wants in on the action and are designing an AI that will be able to both paint and write music.

Despite this apparent surge in tech/art collaborations (let’s call it Tart), it’s not a new phenomenon. Art & technology have been getting together for ages, with people creating technology like drawing machines that is specifically designed to make art. Or sometimes a piece of engineering is so beautiful that it can be considered art in itself; like a bespoke, brass coffee machine or BMW’s shape shifting car. Do you remember way back in 2001 when the Turner Prize was won by an artist who had literally set up lights on a timer so they just turned themselves on and off intermittently? That’s straight up technology masquerading as art. What would Edison say? 

So what separates the two?

I believe even the most logical of technicians are artists really. If you are creating something that makes a connection with people, or view the world differently to others and can actually see the beauty in creating a functioning circuit system, you are technically an artist.

If you think this is you, we’d love to hear from you about your next wild creation, so give us a call on 0800 772 0800, and we’ll see if we can make help you on your quest to be the Andy Warhol of programming or pothole solutions.

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