A third space: technological art as artistic production and technology research and development

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Fantauzza, Jill
Bolter, Jay David
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While the visual arts and technology development map oppositionally in our culture, there are similarities in work. Visual artists and technology developers imagine, conceptualize, design, and build artifacts and then release them into the world. As part of this work, many artists and technologists develop high levels of conceptualization, technical, and fabrication skill. While artists have always worked with industrial technologies such as paint and pigment chemistry, metalworking equipment, heavy machinery, and kilns, for example, many postindustrial artists are using high technology both as medium and highly-charged cultural material. These artists work with similar materials as technology developers: electronics, computation, robotics, bioengineering materials, and smart materials, for example. Their work often bleeds into technological development as they create new technologies and new interactions with technologies in the course of their projects. This dissertation traces the evolution of the ideas of art and technology from foundations in ancient Greece through the present. There are tensions between technological art, or art that uses high technologies as a medium, and the contemporary art world, as well as between technological art and engineering practice. This dissertation locates technological art along a spectrum between traditional fine art and engineering practice, in a third space of both artistic production and technological R&D. Through examples from my work and the work of others, I surface the dynamics of practice in this third space and how these practices can lead to emergent art and technology.
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