Activity 9 – Art and Technology

I’ve always been completely inept when it comes to numbers and math. If there’s anything out there guaranteed to frustrate and completely allude me it’s when asked to do anything number related. However, they do fascinate me. Especially when it comes to the Fibonacci Sequence.

It starts with 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, and so on to infinity. The numbers in this sequence have these properties:

  • The sum of two adjacent numbers in the sequence forms the next higher number in the sequence.
  • The ratio of any two consecutive numbers approximates 1.618 or its inverse, 0.618 (after the first few numbers).

Nature offers many examples of these ratios: daisy petals, ferns, sunflowers, seashells, hurricanes, whirlpools, and atomic particles in a bubble chamber. And many of man’s works purportedly embody the Fibonacci ratios, as well: the pyramids in Egypt, the Parthenon in Greece, and Cézanne’s choice of canvas shape (although some mathematicians dispute some or all of these examples). It’s the application of these numbers in art, often refered to as The golden section or Golden Ratio that particularly fascinates me. Using the numbers above and dividing the larger number by its smaller neighbor yields a number that approaches the golden ratio.

At least since the Renaissance, many artists and architects have proportioned their works to approximate the golden ratio—especially in the form of the golden rectangle, in which the ratio of the longer side to the shorter is the golden ratio—believing this proportion to be aesthetically pleasing. (pictured example) This is a brilliant example of the use of science in creating art that is mathematically correct and here are some examples of artists work using the Golden Ratio.


Activity 9 – Art and Technology

I believe Cartography to be a good example of science influencing art. Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively. (wiki definition)

There is a definite purpose for maps, to record and illustrate geographic, ideological or  biological information . There is also no denying that maps, in particular some of the earlier examples say before the invention of the printing press when maps were hand painted and limited in supply are beautiful works of art. (Mappa Mundi/Cloth of the world pictured)Even today when you would think that with the capabilities of digital technology and satellite navigation maps in the traditional form could be made obsolete. Not the case. Recently “The art of mapping* exhibition at TAG fine arts in London featured twenty artists and their work, dedicated to the complex relationship we have with maps, their literal and often subjective nature as well as taking new and different approaches into the art of Cartography.

Mind Mapping, Thum Cheng Cheong

Heidi Whitman, Invisible Cities / Brain Terrain, 2010           

Activity 9 – Art and Technology

Art and Technology have gone hand in hand for many years. When I think of the relation between them one man comes straight to mind Leonardo da vinci.

Da Vinci (1452-1519)was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculpter, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer. In a nut shell, a genius. I’m spoiled for choice when it comes to Da Vincis work but I think I’ll go with the Vitruvian Man. 

The work itself, depicts a male figure in two overlapping positions, arms and legs apart inside a square and a circle. Although not originally not intended to be a work of art in its self it is widely regarded as such and held in the vaults of the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice. It is named and illustrated after the ancient Roman architect Vitruvias, who described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the Classical Orders of architecture. In layman’s term (this is how I think of it) Vitruvias proposed and Da Vinci illustrated how each part of the human body, used in terms of a unit, can be used to measure other parts of the body. And this form of measurement can be applied to every human being.

The Vitruvian Man is now used as a contemporary symbol of medical professionals and medical establishments. Many medical companies have adopted this artwork as the symbol of their group, company or organization. It remains one of the most referenced and reproduced artistic images in the world today. The proportions for the human body, as proposed by Vitruvius, have inspired many other artists in drawing their version of the Vitruvian Man.

Activity 8 – Contemporary Art and Design – Hamish Fulton

The project we are doing in class just now is based on the journey from urban to rural. This in part involves taking photographs while on a walk from an urban area to a rural area. A twelve week project. So you might imagine my surprise when i came across an artist who has made an entire career out of doing such a thing. Astonishing, and not in the good sense.

Hamish Fulton is an a british born artist who primarily concentrated his work on the experiences in individual walks that he took. Now I appreciate beautiful photography but most of Fultons work is far from it so I just need to remind myself again of the definition of contemporary art “idea over aesthetic”. His idea for taking these photos is such, “art could be how you view life, and not tied necessarily to the production of objects”. Fulton decided to ‘only make art resulting from the experience of individual walks.’

Now, I enjoy walking for the fact that it allows me to think, to relax, reminisce, to get away. I know a lot of people who walk for the same reasons. It’s a personal experience. So why would you want to document this? He is hoping people will gauge some semblance of what he was feeling, doing during his walks, but for me it doesn’t come across. It’s not the actual journey you take that’s important to me its the mental one. Why go to an art gallery and veiw other peoples photos of roads and bushes, while trying to understand the artists motive behind it. Go for a walk yourself and take your own journey. 

Activity 8 – Contemporary Art and Design – Tracy Emin

I’m choosing Tracy Emin as an artist representing Contemporary Art and Design as her work sums up everything I can’t stand about it.

Emin is a british born artist belonging to a the group known as “Britartists”. Her work (again my own opinion) mainly consists of throwing together a bunch of crap, calling it art, and waiting for the inevitable media attention or Turner Prize, whatever comes first. Her art is coined as being about the links between creativity and autobiography, and the role of subjectivity and personal histories in constructing art. Hmm, isn’t art already subjective? Doesn’t all artists put a little of themselves in creating art? I really don’t think “My Bed” the Turner nominated installation. Consisting of used condoms, blood stained knickers and a dirty bed really needs to be an example of this. But hey, great idea for getting yourself on the map. I might start keeping all my sisters used nappies, knock something up with them, claim it represents the harsh realities of life todays youth just don’t understand. this space..


Activity 8 – Contemporary Art and Design – Billy Apple

Conceptual art is art in which the concept or idea involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns.

Billy Apple is the pseudonym assumed by the artist Barrie Bates. Apple is a New Zealand born artist who, during the 70s, was prominent in the conceptual art movement of the time. He has worked with the likes of Andy Warhol as well as other pop artists. Maybe because he was hanging out with Warhol at the “Factory” but his work to me has that same feel of commercialisation with the the use of branding and advertising used in his work. Like most conceptual artists, his work forces you to think of your own definitions of what art is. He uses apples a lot in his work, with screen prints and lithograph being the main choice of medium.

Personally I don’t think much of the art, though i do appreciate it AS art. Bronze casts of half eaten watermelons and apples, slightly rotten looking does appeal. For me its a not so subtle representation of the mass media’s “rotten” influence on an unsuspecting public…

Activity 7 – Development of modernism – Franz Kline

Some artists rebelled against the idea of post-modernism and instead looked at developing and improving upon the basic principles of modernism, looking at colour, lines and shape to represent an idea or emotion in place of structural form which was so prominent in post-modernism. This type of art is known as abstract expressionism.

Franz Kline was one such artist.

Having begun with figurative work, the influence of the artists in New York caused Kline to turn to painting in a radically abstract style by the end of the Forties. He took details from his own original sketches, blew them up then applied dramatic brushstrokes across the images. Kline returned to America in 1938. In the 1940’s, his works are extremely influenced by Expressionism and Cubism. Works such as ‘Wotan’ (1950) and ‘Le Gros’ (1961) show his unique approach to abstraction particularly well. To achieve these effects he used large industrial size paint brushes. Kline’s paintings were supposed to make one feel, not comprehend. An idea that contradicts the work of Andy Warhol.