New Technique, Contemporary Art and Technology


Having supported digital art production by famous contemporary artists centering around virtual augmented reality technology, Acute Art recently launched an application that allows users to appreciate artwork by mobile as well. Though VR headsets are required for the app and the number of the viewable contents are limited yet, it was impressive to browse Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s installation The London Mastaba, floated on Serpentine Lake for the opening of their solo exhibition held in London in last June.

Traveling around the world and mainly presenting large-scaled installations in which the magnificent views of the nature are wrapped with cloth, Christo and Jeanne-Claude stacked 7,506 barrels in total, which were specially produced for their first public artwork in England, up to 20m and floated them on the lake. Due to the vast size of the project, the team’s works could mostly be appreciated by pictures, videos, or drawings by the artists as records. Through cooperation with Acute Art, however, detailed appreciation became possible from different perspectives, which had been impossible physically. Produced by VR and 360-degree-video technology so as to allow a view from the sky as if looking down as a bird, the content has another must-see point: the scenery around London’s Hyde Park.

Meanwhile, having branches all over the world, Pace Gallery filled its booth with the iPad painting series by the U.K.’s famous artist David Hockney at the Freize Art Fair held in New York on March, already selling thirty pieces on the VIP opening day and 38 pieces in total during the entire fair. First appearing in 2008, the iPad painting series had only been consumed by the front-runners; despite its edition being limited, the series is in high demand among the art lovers around the world, with its price recently soaring up to 40,000 dollars per piece. The artist started to draw with an iPad in order to instantly capture the inspirations from the moments germinating from everyday life. The concept of “cooperation with new technology” did not exist in the first place; the artist just wanted to draw a bit more freely. In that expressions with refined and various lines are possible based on multiple colors, the iPad paintings of Hockney are definitely not inferior to oil paintings in artistic depth. Both in genre and concept, the iPad drawings expanded the creative world of the seasoned artist. Looking back on the Hockney’s previous moves of refusing to be stuck in one genre and adopting various technologies in his works, one cannot but look forward to a series on the artist’s next chapter, of which the genre is hardly expectable.

A few years ago, 3D printing and scanning technologies ruled the art scene as new media but were replaced by digital technologies of new concepts such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and face recognition, of which the names are hard to even understand. This might be the best example to which the concept of “new media” in Jacques Derrida ‘s Différance is applied most appropriately. While humans developed technology as a practical tool for more comfortable life, art contemplates on another value to be pursued other than practicality borrowing the power of such technology. It might sound like stories from different worlds that can be hardly mixed, or can be mixed but cannot be combined ultimately; it is for the same purpose in the end. If art is a representation of human imagination, technology is a challenge regarding the possibility of realizing such imagination.

Meeting of art and technology is right. Though it might sound a bit manifest and objections could certainly be raised, technology suggested a new medium to art as if letting a child who draws for the first time hold a brush, and art expanded its boundaries based on such medium and, furthermore, has created new values contributing to its times. There was not a time when art has not been based on “new media”. Though art and technology seem to have finally met each other after going through a long way thanks for convergence being the new value of the current time, they have actually been together from the start.