19 May 2007

Art and Technology

I've been writing about the intersection between faith and the arts and between faith and technology for some time now. But lately I've been thinking more about the intersection between the arts and technology (in the light of faith), because my main art form (photography) has taken an even more technological with my going digital and getting into Photoshop.

I wrote about the art-technology relationship a bit for my master's degree in “Technology and Christian Spirituality.” I pointed out that the Greek word technē is the word for both the arts of the mind and the fine arts and crafts. The German philosopher Heidegger, after defining “Enframing” as that aspect of technology which takes us captive because we are not aware of it, suggests that art might be the solution to this enslaving and depersonalizing side of technology. He writes “the more questioningly we ponder the essence of technology, the more mysterious the essence of art becomes.” Samuel Florman, a philosopher-engineer, writes in The Existential Pleasures of Engineering that the engineer, like Bezalel, is “filled...with the spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts.” (Ex. 31:3, NIV)

Theo Jansen is an artist who is also an engineer and combines the two in an amazing way. He says “The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds.” Watch this video of some of his “kinetic sculpture” work:

I'd love to hear what other people think about art as it relates to technology, and how we can reflect theologically on that intersection.

1 comment:

Darlin' said...

My final oral presentationn For Mrs. H's Philosophy class was on aesthetics..more particularly...visual arts. I even had a photography slideshow planned for it...but that part of it wound up not being shown.

One of the things we discovered is that nearly everything is "art", including products of technology such as the microwave or even the television.

We said this because most definitions for art tell us that art is what is created by one with some amount of work skill or passion. This leaves room for products of technology.

I believe there is no wall-they are one.