Week 3: Technology and Art

The realm of the 21st century entails a world that is technologically driven. If you think about the time when our parents were growing up, they were thoroughly deprived of so much of what we find to be completely natural—and even necessary—to our modern existences. Cell phones give us the ability to stay effortlessly ‘connected’ 24/7 to our communities, iPods allow us to carry around hundreds (even thousands) of songs right in the palm of our hand, and the internet has given us the limitless power of knowledge in which one can ‘wikipedia’ just about any meticulous subject matter and be quasi-experts on them with a click of a finger. It is clear that technology has made a large contribution to art as well, as it allowed a fuse of man and machine, causing a whole new reality to emerge—one that blurs the lines of what art itself is. Technology became a gateway into other peoples’ lives and works, and thus our art reflects that. With mass reproduction made easy, an individual’s artwork becomes easily accessible, affecting and inspiring more people than ever before. This causes a cycle of intertexuality in which one person’s art can be a part of another person’s art, which can become a part of another person’s art (and so on). This gives way to the notion that the ‘purity’ and ‘originality’ of an artwork diminishes somewhere within this cycle, especially when it becomes impossible to even pinpoint the origin. Technology hence is the catalyst of the blurring of all lines and things (which makes for a very complicated humanity). Modern art has always been about man’s reactions to the changing world, and now more than ever this becomes relevant.

The clip I want to share with you is of Banksy’s newest art exhibit, the “The Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill”. Banksy is a famous British contemporary artist who first became known for his defiantly political graffiti art. He is known only as “Banksy” and remains anonymous otherwise.

This exhibit, which was disguised as a hole-in-the-wall pet store in New York City, is an exhibition of some of his unique animatronic creations. It includes a rabbit pensively applying make-up on her(?)self, little chicken McNuggets sipping in on barbeque sauce, and fish sticks swimming around a in a fishbowl. It sounds more than absurd. It appears to be a commentary of our technological world, and perhaps our perceptions on living and non-living things. The technological advances have allowed us so many things, has empowered us in so many ways, but in a sense it is causing us to be more and more detached from the world of natural and human things. Technology can help in many ways but can also do damage to our psyche, and the way in which we percieve the living world. But the use technology to make a point about the living? That to me is kind of enlightening. These little creatures that reside in the pet store are so realistic in their own way, they seem alive. It is an interesting juxtaposition that Banksy created: using the available technology, he created something ‘living’ out of the ‘nonliving’. The clip below is of a leopard perched on a tree…or is it?

Banksy Village Pet Store & Grill - Leopard

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