Increasingly as new technologies expand our horizons, one field that continues to celebrate technology as a core part of the human experience is art. Recently I was amazed at an exhibition I went to at the Hayward Gallery in London. The whole art exhibition felt like it could have been an assembly of props from blockbuster sci-fi films, like a live special effects show. As an artist and gadget fanboy I’m always quite quick to get excited by the places where science, technology and art overlap, and it’s exciting to see more and more artists embrace these points of overlap. Having just graduated recently while trying to take my mind off the cliché that is the dull transition from carefree art student to working ‘cog in the system’, I’ve tried to look at a few contemporary artists for inspiration. Two in particular really managed to catch my attention, exciting both my inner tech geek and artist.
Raitanen’s portraits are vibrant celebrations of colour, biology, the natural and through his choice of medium, the manmade as well. This amazing photographer takes a unique approach to blurring science, technology and art into exciting visual displays with his unique photographic series titled ‘Bacteriograms’. The breath-taking images in this series are born from bacteria samples from his own body, overlayed onto surfaces with light sensors and allowed to grow and spread over photographic film. Like a science fiction mad genius his portraits are quite literally grown from his own body. His photographic portraits could just as easily feel at home in an art gallery as they could in a science lab and it’s well worth giving his work a look at here: www.erno-erik.com/bacteriograms/bacteriograms.html if you don’t ever get to see it live in full bodied view.
Over the past couple of month 3D printers have been cropping up more and more in the news; from the announcement that Maplin’s stores are to sell the first ever 3D printer for domestic home use, to NASA pushing funding into a project of 3D printing to create nutritious controlled portions of food for astronauts, and even us here on the planet below. 3D printing is definitely a hot topic in the field of technology, but increasingly it is also becoming a hot topic in the field of contemporary art. Eyal Gever has recently been making headlines with his use of 3D printing in his art practice, combining this relatively new field previously restricted to the world of industrial design with his own artistic visions. Gever uses computer animation and virtual design software to design intense and abstract forms, and then uses 3D printers to give his creative ideas physical substance. Ranging from the elegantly simple and fluid to dramatic explosions of debris and aggressive colour the photos and videos on his site here www.eyalgever.com/Installations barely do his work justice.
Both these artists utilise the technologies now available to us in amazingly creative ways. But perhaps what’s most interesting is that looking further ahead into the future, with the constantly growing volume of creative tools we have easily available to us, is the question will this type of creativity eventually become the everyday play of us all?
After all, less than two decades ago the often self absorbed and tacky clichéd looking snapshots made popular and commonplace by now everyday software such as Instagram could only have been produced by the most forward thinking and skilled of artists such as these. Maybe in the not too distant future we’ll all be able to casually share artistic views of our microbiology or translate our abstract ideas into detailed sculptures with the precision of machines. And maybe beneath the initial visual wonder, that’s really the most exciting part of looking at art like this altogether.