Week 7/Art for Art’s Sake-Technology for Technology’s sake?

Satellite art, image taken from Google

In class we talked about how remote sensing works in the art field as it does not have any functionality and its purpose was only for art for art’s sake. One type of remote sensing, satellite, works as information acquiring system without physically touching the objects being acquired from. We can see that the artworks from the lecture slides, serve the exact opposite. In one particular was Prototype for a Nonfunctional Satellite (Design 1, Build 1) by Trevor Paglen. The piece is designed as a “sculpture” of a satellite hanging on top of the room. Although it looks like one, its functionality is different from the real one.

As we discussed about art for art’s sake, we also raises questions about if there were also aerospace engineering sake for aerospace engineering’s sake. Technology always interjects with art, though not fully overlapping, some factors still exist as we see technology as art but not necessary the other way around. Anything can be portrayed as art, but loses functionality for its art sake, whereas technology can be posed as both functionality and art sake. Thus, technology can never serve as only for technology.

Besides how technology can be used as art, its way to approach towards problem solving is also similar with art’s. In Wilson’s book, he talks about mathematics (the field that is related with technology and science), and how it’s similar in pursuing inquiries compared to art.

“Some believe that “pure” mathematics is somewhat akin to art—practitioners pursue inquiries often just because they are interesting rather than for specific utilitarian goals. Also, mathematicians, like artists, have the opportunity to dream up arbitrary worlds with their own internally consistent rules unfettered by connections with the conventional world.”

This is just one factor of the two field’s similarity, but the most important factor is that we are able to posed technology as art in any ways possible. However art can never serve as anything else other than art, hence the art for art’s sake. In commodity wise, technology always has to take art into account in order to make itself useful for the public. Let’s take appliance for example, people would only buy the one that is more appealing and put its functionality as the second factor to consider.

the fountain by Marcel Duchamp (1917)

Whether or not it was for commodity, artists are still able to make use of technology as art as we can see from the examples shown in class, and also from this one famous piece, the Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, in which Duchamp uses the urine stall as art. Once these technologies become art, though, they lose their functionality and become solely for art’s sake.

-Kammy Yuan


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