LIQUID SCRUTINY and NECRO-TECHNO: What’s Wrong with Thinking and Laughing at the Same Time?

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Short Paper Presentations

Presentation Title:

  • LIQUID SCRUTINY and NECRO-TECHNO: What’s Wrong with Thinking and Laughing at the Same Time?

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • Highlighted will be works by contemporary artists Ellen Zweig, Paul DeMarinas, Toshio Iwaii, Dennis Michael Wilcox, Jim Pomeroy and myself, which include a camera obscura stagecoach, goldfish as musical composers, a machine for making rainbows, “Journeys Through the Centre of the Earth”, Powerbook thaumotropes and “A Newt Ascending Astair’s Face”. Bygone technologies and narratives (particularly those of the pre-cinema era) are being excavated- in what Finnish writer Erkii Huhtamo has termed a “media archaeology”. By exhuming and extending the sometimes absurd objects and stories surrounding former technologies, these artists are emphasising the often overlooked human element rather than forefronting the technical apparatus and- its lineage. Through example, these works demonstrate the potential for individual and immediate involvement with technology as a vital vehicle for communication, curiosity and poetic fantasy. While all art involves interaction, the works- discussed here particularly provide an opportunity for active engagement in perceptual-experience. Magic, humour, immediacy and play are invoked as useful means for addressing the complexity of issues surrounding technological ‘progress’. As the practice of these media artists attests, technologies do not become obsolete; they resonate well past their commercially viable use-by date. Far from being dead or buried in nostalgia, old media are offered as evidence of a lively continuity and multiplicity of both function and meaning.

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