Some brief notes, quotes and reflection on the emerging world of ‘senses’ as digital art and technological
interface. These notes were gathered from a number of sources listed below.
Andy Warhol once said, “ The reason I am painting this is that I want to
be a machine, and I feel that whatever I do and do machine-like is what I want to
do. We all want to be the machine, or perhaps the perfection of the machine, or
the desirability of the machine, or the ideal of the machine.”
Each wave of new technology innovation brings us to fulfilling more elaborate
fantasies of a fuller sensual life.
Ludwig Wittgenstein famously theorized “I can never be certain that my ‘blue’ is
your ‘blue”; I can only persuade you to share a consensual languages-game
whose referents are sufficiently stable to function. Through such cultural
mechanisms ‘modernity’ believed it had anchored the common human senses.
Post modern digital artists turn some of those modes of ‘representation’ against
themselves, destabilizing, disrupting, hacking the comfort level of shared
Are digital artists of the present moment charting new path of experience or
further aestheticizing the fragmentation and colonization of the body (senses)
that was modernity’s signal achievement?
Caroline Jones in the introduction of her book “Sensorium” says, “new forms of
subjectivity (self perception) were theorized from cyborgs to digital excursions to
networked hive-minds. The early 21st century registers a subtle shift in the
discourse. On the level of consumer products, prosthetic supplementation is
increasingly acceptable and even desired; cosmetic neurology is proposed by
scientists; venture capital flows into biometric products hybridized of polyester
and cartilage; and bio computers have been tested at the Nano-scale.
Contemporary artists continue to press for an edgier awareness of the
implications of this new techno-sensual comfort zone.”
Historically art has been segmented for one sense at a time - paintings for vision,
music for ears, food and fragrance for taste and smell, textile for touch and
feeling and so on. But we are reaching a state of technology where some of
these senses can be combined to enhance the artistic experience as a hybrid
involvment for the patron.
The aesthetic attitude of this hybrid moment goes something like this - modernist
segregation of senses is giving way to dramatic sensorial mixes, transmutations,
and opportunities for intensified and playful mediation.
Our overlapping senses form the threshold of desire (and experience) and limit,
and increasingly technology tests how far we are willing to go. Cosmetic
neurology? Personal olfactory headspace design? Recreational prosthetics? Art
constitutes a powerful stimulus and response to such sensory possibilities,
allowing us to try on concepts, experiences and altered states and producing
cultural space for debates about the merits (for example) of a temporary visually
induced schizophrenia or an aesthetic simulation of the ‘smell of fear’.
Some artists exploring new sensorial experience in digital art:
• Mathieu Brand - spiritual paths and controlled schizophrenia
• Ryoji Ikeda - mind bending son et lumiere
• Janet Cardiff and George Bures Millers - evocative psychological
• Natasha Sadr Arnings - curatorial essay
• Bruce Naumans - night visions
• Francois Roche and R&Sie(n) - body fluid architectures
• Anri Sala - human replications
• Sissel Tolaas - odor saturated walls
• Jeffery Wall, Gregory Crewdson - hallucinogenic cinematic photography
Sound – A Brief Example
Sound is one sense that has undergone tremendous manipulation over its history
in organized society. Public sound was once the norm and channeled human
experience to align to patterns, experience, calendars and so on. Public sound
created a sense of community (bells, choir, market place noise), but noise has
always been a problem. Ancient Buddhist scriptures complain of noises in the
great city. Graffiti in Pompeii begged for peace and quiet. Mondrian’s cube
isolated inhabitant from noise (and any other input), creating the ultimate cone of
silence. Acoustically dampened rooms are called “dead rooms”. Controlling
sound created the illusion of controlling society and separating one from the
Modernisms white cube (Le Corbusier domestic living space), stripped of
ornamentation, such spaces would include ‘white noise’. Our ideal today is
climate controlled, sound-proofed, lighting controlled, all glass – no windows.
Sound scape artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller – hyper mediate
acoustical urban lives – acoustical choice is always ready in the sound mediated
space of sensorium. Pre-modern sounds are largely unavailable; machine laden
urban streets themselves become an aural medium. Hitler said “without
loudspeakers we would never have conquered Germany.” The urban sonic
envelope now includes amplification, reduction segmentation, and competition.
Artist Ryoji Ikeda explores this in his work.
20th century modes of acoustical dampening have been dedicated to desires of
the individual and required new forms of social behavior. Early concert halls
demanded quiet, MTV visualized sound and music delivery, digital files and
Napster created music sharing ecosystems, now we’re all plugged into private
ear buds. John Cage theorizes about noise and sound in this short video.
“The self is being instrumenalized, we are joined to the sensory tools we have
made to amplify and accompany our senses. Fluxus and Dadaist formed to
explicitly to counteract modernist’s sensory hegemonies and complicate
modernist segmentations. Whether shuffling through mounds of coffee, wearing
3D glasses or headphones or other immersive digital artscapes, art patrons in
the new millennium are met with dramatically syn-aesthetic and kin-asethetic
scenarios that produce their news from the ostentatious destruction of a
bureaucratic modernist regime. By now, form has thoroughly engaged with antiform, begetting current desires for (always mediated) experience.”
Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research
Hill, Linda A. Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation. , 2014. Print.
"Unleashing the Collective Genius in Your Organization What is the relationship between
leadership and innovation? How can some companies innovate again and again-continuously
producing products and services that customers want-while most other firms cannot? How do you
unleash consistent creativity in those around you? By a team of preeminent thinkers-leadership
Flitner, David. Less Noise, More Soul: The Search for Balance in the Art, Technology, and
Commerce of Music. , 2013. Print.
The digital revolution has enabled the creation and distribution of music in ways previously
unimagined. This title brings together original essays by a select group of industry professionals.
Malloy, Judy. Women, Art, and Technology. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2003. Internet
resource. Lu, Xiaobo, and Yuelin Liu. "Embodiment, Interaction And Experience: Aesthetic
Trends In Interactive
Media Arts." Leonardo 47.2 (2014): 166-169. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Sept.
Droitcour, Brian. "The Perils Of Post-Internet Art." Art In America 102.10 (2014): 110-119.
Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.
Allen, Barry. Artifice and Design: Art and Technology in Human Experience. Ithaca:
Cornell University Press, 2008. Internet resource.
There are many books about art, many about technology, but few about art and technology—
about their affinity and the relationship of both together to human experience.1 It is this
relationship that is mytopic here. I develop philosophical concepts of art, artifact, knowledge,
technology, and tool, which I use to explore parallel questions about artistry in technology and
technics in art. The result is a work of interdisciplinary philosophical research, with concepts and
arguments drawn from evolutionary biology, cognitive psychology, science studies, aesthetics,
and the history, philosophy, and anthropology of art and technology.
Donovan, Art. The Art of Steampunk: Extraordinary Devices and Ingenious Contraptions
from the Leading Artists of the Steampunk Movement. East Petersburg, PA: Fox Chapel
Pub, 2011. Print.
Strongman, Jay. Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism. London: Korero Books, 2011. Print.
Ackley, Clifford S, and Stephen Coppel. Rhythms of Modern Life: British Prints, 1914-1939.
MFA Publications, 2008. Print.
Lin, Fanghua, and Changyou Wang. The Analysis of Harmonic Maps and Their Heat Flows.
Singapore, SG: World Scientific, 2008. Internet resource.
Telea, Alexandru. Data Visualization: Principles and Practice. Wellesley, Mass: A K Peters,
2008. Print. Ward, Matthew, Georges G. Grinstein, and Daniel Keim. Interactive Data
Techniques, and Applications. Natick, Mass: A K Peters, 2010. Print.
Paravati, Gianluca, and Valentina Gatteschi. "Human-Computer Interaction In Smart
Environments." Sensors (14248220) 15.8 (2015): 19487-19494. Academic Search Complete.
Web. 10 Sept. 2015.
John Cage On Silence
John Cage about silence
User: jdavidm - Added: 7/14/07
This video of John Cage speculates on the importance of noise and the
importance of the absence of noise in our digital culture. It is
a philosophical piece. It tunes one into the 'landscape' or 'soundscape' of
our daily lives and how sound creates experience for us. Consider the idea
that for centuries, sound was a constant presence in human experience there was no avoiding it. Today, we seek to not only eliminate sound (think
sound proofing and sound-canceling technology) but we also strive to
'privatize' sound, again through personalized sound tracks delivered to
endless blue-toothed devices and ear buds.
Moon Studios - Tech Tats
from Chaotic R&D
Chaotic Moon Studios - Tech Tats from Chaotic Moon
Studios on Vimeo.
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Bosch Head-unit with Haptic feedback
User: Bosch Mobility Solutions - Added: 11/19/15
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