Posts Tagged ‘Dennis Yeh’

Week3_IndustrialAge,Kinetic Art,Robotics by Dennis Yeh

Monday, January 26th, 2009

In the first two weeks of this course, we have covered how art and technology are intrinsically related.  Without technology, there would be no art, and with no art, people would not express their innovation or emotions, and the creativity necessary for technological advancement would be non-existent.  However, this week’s lectures have given me a new perspective to consider: can technology mean the death of art and humanity?

After reading H.G. Wells’ Time Machine and watching the two film adaptations, I realized that all three versions have something in common: when the protagonist travels into the distant future, he encounters two species that have evolved from homo sapiens: the Eloi and the Morlocks.  The Eloi are weak and feeble creatures that seem to lack curiosity and intelligence, while the Morlocks are beastial creatures that live underground and maintain the machines that keep the Eloi (their food source) alive.  H. G. Wells uses these two species as a metaphor for the division between the working class and the wealthy during the Industrial Revolution.  As the time traveler explores Earth 800,000 years in the future, he makes several observations and hypotheses about how the world ended up this way.  He supposes that the Eloi’s small stature and lack of intelligence are the result of humankind’s previous struggle to transform nature through art and science.  After all of humanity’s problems had been solved, the need for technology and innovation to improve life was no longer necessary.  As a result, they became unimaginative and lost all curiousity about the world.  Without any work to do (presuably with the complete automation of life), they became physically weak and diminutive.  In addition, the protagonist hypothesizes that advances in medical science had become so advanced that all disesases were completely abolished, as no signs of disease are present amongst the Eloi. With no work to do and no hardships to overcome, society becomes non-hierarchical, with no defined leaders or social classes.  With no hardship or inequalities in Earth’s societies, there would be no war and crime.  Art and culture, often driven by problems or as a foundation for revolutionary ideas and new developments slowly disappeared, as eventually there were no conceivable improvements for humanity.  Eventually, the protagonist discovers the Morlocks, and realizes that the wealthy upper class devolved into the Eloi, while the working class, having to deal with manual labor eventually evolved into the cannabalistic Morlocks.


After considering this prediciton of the future, which makes perfect logical sense, I have to ask myself: will our society ever achieve such a future, where our own technological advancement and creativity end up destroying humanity?  It is obvious to me that science is a double-edged sword.  With the advent of cars and other inventions that pollute our environment, we have already invented our way into a “global warming crisis.”  With the invention of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, we have effectively created several methods for wiping ourselves out.  As Albert Einstein once said, “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

-Dennis Yeh

Week1_TwoCultures by Dennis Yeh

Monday, January 12th, 2009

For the entirety of the first week of DESMA 9, we have constantly been told that Art and Technology go hand in hand.  While I had never before considered how two seemingly polar opposites go hand in hand, I realized that this idea is as important as it is true, and the evidence is everywhere.

But first, what exactly is art?  We as humans immerse ourselves in art every day, and often times we never realize it.  We are constantly admiring art in our daily lives: on our way to class, starting out of the window while we daydream in class, and checking out the countless number of possible suitors on our way back to the dorms.  Everything we see, touch, or hear can be considered art.  I consider art to be a form of language, defined by any medium through which emotions and ideas are expressed.  Thus, our opinion of artistic merit depends on us; the viewer.

What would you consider to be art?  Music?  Photography?  Sculptures and other 3D-designs?  These categories are merely labels we assign, and are just three examples of the infinite number of things that we consider “art.”  If something can instill emotion or inspire thoughts and ideas to somebody observing it, I consider it to be art.  What do tailors, furniture makers, and architects have in common?  They are all artists.  A tailor or clothing designer had to conceptualize and design every piece of clothing we wear, a furniture maker had to design and assemble every piece of furniture we use, and an architect had to draft and revise plans for every sidewalk, street, highway, or building that we pass by.

Tempurpedic matress made of "space-age" foam that "remembers" your body's natural sleeping position.

Tempurpedic matress made of "space-age" foam that "remembers" your body's natural sleeping position.

Diagram of a Corinthian Column commonly used in Ancient Greek Architecture.

A diagram of Corinthian-style columns commonly
found in ancient Greek architecture.
And what is technology?  It consists of using science, mathematics, and engineering, and it’s purpose is to increase the efficiency of everyday tasks as well as improving our standards of living.  Technology, like art, constantly surrounds us.  For example, The clothing we wear is rarely made by hand, as they were before advances in technology such as the cotton gin (Made by Eli Whitney in 1794) rendered hand-weaving inefficient.  Today, the clothes we wear are made with advanced processes and innovations that are constantly evolving.  We can trace the timeline of the evolution of textiles:

Hand Loom (8000 BC to 2500 BC)
Ground Loom (2500 BC - 1500s)
Spinning Wheel (500 AD - 1000 AD)
Flying Shuttle (1733 AD; increased loom’s speed and efficiency)
Power Loom (1784 AD)
First Synthetic Dye (1856 AD)
Rayon Discovered (1892 AD)
Polyester mass-produced (1953 AD)
Fiber Reactive Dye Discovered (1954 AD)

In this specific example of textiles, we can observe the trend of how clothing design (art) is affected by innovations in textiles (technology).  That is, art is the innovative use of certain mediums to portray ideas or emotions, while technology creates new mediums to work with.  The innovations in textile processing provide new interesting mediums for artists to work with, as well as reducing the cost of supplies, allowing artists more freedom in their work.  The invention of the internet and the digital camera pathed the way for blogs, which evolved into v-logs with the advent of inexpensive “webcams” and the ever-popular  With respect to music, ancient musical technologies include instruments such as the didgeridoo (Austrailian), Native American Flute (North America), lute (European), or harp.  Over time, with the invention of precision tuning instruments (such as the tuning fork or electronic tuner) as well as many other technological factors, such “ancient” instruments have evolved into “traditional” instruments such as the keyboard, guitar, violin, flute, trombone, baritone, etc.  Now, with our transition to the Digital Age, new inventions such as the synthesizer or digital effects commonly used by guitarists or keyboarders have created new genres of music such as trance, drum and bass, electronica, and techno.  Obviously, technological innovation has greatly changed what we now consider to be music.  Both art and technology constantly evolve and take new forms.  With each invention, there are always artists willing and able to use these inventions as a medium through which to create art, and influence what we consider to be “our culture.”

-Dennis Yeh