Week 5- Art expression through technology- Gindy Nagabayashi

Throughout history from the drawings of cavemen to mathematically correct artworks of Leonardo Da Vinci to present day technology inspired art and vice versa, indicates that this expression through art is an innate part of people. With the advances of technology, new art forms emerge.

Seattle Public Library at night

Seattle Public Library at night

The Seattle Public library designed by Joshua Prince-Ramus is the perfect example of modern art and technology. “The building is divided into eight horizontal layers, each varying in size to fit its function.  A structural steel and glass skin unifies the multifaceted form and defines the public spaces in-between.” This abstract design challenges the idea of how a building should be. Not like the regular box shaped building, this design allows maximal sunlight indoors as well as a seemingly gravity defying design. It is due to the significant advances of building materials after the industrial age and innovative technologies that buildings like the Seattle Public Library are possible.

As described by a visitor, “From the outside, especially at night, the library is like something large and alien in the city. Climb up Madison Street, and the cantilevered top of the facade seems to float high above you. But move further up the hill and the library’s sloping wall comes slowly into view.” The multifaceted design and artistic beauty of the architecture that is visually awe-inspiring has helped increase both tourism and library checkouts.

One criticism I have for the building, although I have not visited, is the isolationism of the concrete ceilings. There seems to be a lack of color from the pictures I have observed of the library. The emphasis on sleek design gave way to a more artistic interior. This children’s area for example is lacking in whimsy and color. If I were to design the area I would create a design reflective of a child’s imagination gone wild, with a rainbow of color exploding from the area. From the angle of the photo the area is actually lacking.

Seattle Library Living Room

Seattle Library "Living Room"

On the other hand, the library’s “living room” contains jungle-like carpet and a small botanical area for visitors to enjoy. Although somewhat out of place, there seems to be an attempt to add flare to the area.

Overall, the building represents the infusion of modern art and technology.

On another topic, I find it fascinating that much of the art that we have come across in class relate to the replication of nature, such as the artwork of Philip Beesely and his modules that respond to human contact. It seems that a theme that I have noticed in current art is the attempt to mimic nature. An example is the beauty of fractals. Fractals occur in nature— patterns of repetition in the structure of a leaf or the design of a cell. The art of Jackson Pollock was also recently studied for the nature of the fractal patterns. The studied showed that his best selling art contained the most complex patterns of fractals. The body world’s exhibits are also another example of art inspired by nature. The human body is artistically captured through plastination. In this sense, even though technology may seem to take us away from nature, much of the art using technology attempts to capture nature.

-Gindy Nagabayashi

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