on art, science and technology

Posted on 05.11.2010


The affirmation that we live in an information society, namely a social structure where production, diffusion and manipulation of information constitute the propelling core of economic and cultural life, is nowadays strongly present in all the discussions and analyses of the present time.
Within this framework, techno-scientific research and its products are among the carriers of the reconfiguration of the material life of mankind, and they have a profound influence on human beings and their behaviors, relations, health, body, perceptions: in other words, the whole structure of the daily existence. There is a continuous crossing of informational fluxes of several kinds, data to manage and analyze, in the space we are living and interacting in. The landscape in front of us is full of communicating surfaces, screens, and interfaces.
The world of artistic research, which in its history has repeatedly explored the possibilities and implications of technological innovations, finding unexpected languages and functions at the roots of the existing techniques, is nowadays particularly excited by and interested in the multiple connections that are shaping both the human and the artificial realm. Indeed, contemporary art and science are showing a renewed explosive collaboration that surpasses the traditional barriers between the humanities and the sciences, thus preparing a common ground, which is exceptionally fertile for experiments and reflections.
The massive diffusion of the material implementations of computational processes in the ambient we live in, influences the ways artistic research operates to find or create zones of esthetic intensity, realizing a fruitful hybridization with techno-scientific reflections. The issue of the diffusion of information technology in the spaces and artifacts that constitute our world is closely related to the research on interfaces and, generally speaking, to the ways the unperceivable – namely the processes of symbolic elaboration and the fluxes of information are transformed into something that can be perceived and understood by the human user. Experts in human-computer interfaces, cognitive ergonomics, interaction design, have developed sophisticated methods and techniques to produce the surfaces that allow us to cross real and virtual spaces in an integrated way.
This induces an altered vision of our environment, an augmented reality within which we are opened to entirely new modes of experience. The prefigured landscape is not anymore an artificial reality entirely contained within computers, but rather one where computation is ubiquitous and distributed in the material environment, where computation is profoundly connected with the physical reality and is perceivable by all of our senses.
On one hand, technology paradoxically moves towards disappearing, a dimension where the ultimate prosthetic integration between man and machine would be realized (the perfect prosthesis is completely absorbed within the action schemes). On the other hand, the work done by some contemporary artists with significant knowledge and skills in computer science seems to go in another direction. Rather than counting on “transparency”, they prefer stressing on the technological opacity, on the limitations to the possibility of absorbing the machine, on its nature of connector, rather than prosthesis.

Artworks that make resistance, that proposes to unexpected and ambiguous languages, that show the elaborations and information fluxes: software art as the meta-language of code, cybernetics implemented in the realization of “machines célibataires”, data fluxes visualized through living organisms.  It would be extremely interesting to explore artistic forms that, in the crossing with science and technology, are able to free crystallized modes of interaction, to make us see/perceive the code and its functioning, its errors, its coagulation. A dimension where computational processes are not hidden behind functional interfaces, but are offered as the propelling core of the sensible event. A dimension where the machine functioning itself is not hidden, but completely exposed to the connections of the imagination.
Furthermore I strongly believe on multidisciplinary collaborations through their own specific skills and knowledge, making use of technologies such as networks, multimedia, material artifacts, to the aim of finding or tracing territories of rielaboration or intersection of art, science and the information society. The principle that drives my work is on the consideration that creating and promoting platforms of sharing information and knowledge, with a significant perception of the past, is essential for better understanding the present evolution and the future contexts in all aspects of life.

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