Our civilisation is in flux. It’s not Brexit that will have the largest impact – that will soon be the past and it is the future that we need to look to – AI, VR, the successor to the ipad, digital technology and changing computerisation. Many artists are embracing new technology in innovative ways, moving beyond digital/video art which has many problems, one being long term storage; the other being the length of time to watch some of these videos. It was estimated for example that the four video installations in the recent Turner prize would take 15 hours to watch – though when I visited one was not working at all, and was undergoing ‘maintenance’.
The Recycle Group brought innovative VR technology to the Gazelli Art House last year in their exhibition ‘Nature of Non-Existence’ using this fascinating technology that brought the apparently empty gallery to life with a completely new environment as the creative duo Andrey Blokhin and Georgy Kutnetsov from Russia sought to enable the viewer should see life from inside the brain of a machine, raising all sorts of questions about the future of machines. What do they see? Do they have feelings? How will they take over our world? How can we work with them as a force for good? Other works, meantime asked similar questions on the future of AI, Wi-Fi technology and the human brain. What will happen to the human brain as technology on the one hand takes over more and more of its functions, while on the other hand demanding that the brain works ever-faster.
Then, at the Lisson Gallery, the computers took over in January. It was only a matter of time before it happened….computers creating art – not just to detailed instructions as with 3D printing, but adding their own interpretation to it.
Artists like Damien Hirst believe that they are the creative forces behind their art; how it is delivered is another matter, with demands for more precision and perfection that is perhaps moving beyond human skills; in January, it was reported that Jeff Koons was cutting back the number of his studio assistants as he focussed on technology and outsourcing the fabrication of his work. Chinese artist Liu Xiandong has a new computerised assistant who has travelled to London for the display of his work in the Lisson Gallery. Liu sets the colours, the paints and the busy urban locations for the paintings, captured through cameras, and then leaves his new assistant to progress across the canvas, with no worry about snacks, tea-breaks, a weak bladder, or even sleeping, The perfect assistant who can work 24 hours per day and therefore increase productivity while, in the process, adding his or her own interpretation to the work.
A unique partnership. It is interesting that these artists come from Russia and China. There must be similar explorations in Britain, but where are they?