The work that Andy is doing sounds pretty interesting. The “lab as exhibition” concept seems to be one with great potential as it is pushed further towards offering viewers rich experiences.
I'm Fo Wilson and thank you to Beryl for inviting me into this discussion as a guest conversant. I am a maker, educator and independent curator working in the US. An exhibition I curated, The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft, which is starting a national tour here, is opening next week in Wisconsin at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The show looks at craft practitioners that are incorporating digital technologies as new material in their work adding to traditional ones like wood, fibers, clay and glass. They also call into question the boundaries between art, craft and new media practices in interesting ways.
During the run of this show, we will have two student groups developing work based on the show’s themes that will also be exhibited. I went to speak to one these groups of young undergraduate students yesterday and I was struck at how easily they picked up on the integration of form and material, various histories represented in form across time, and the diversity of technologies–both traditional and new–used in the work in the exhibition. Historic representations of form (like a cabriole-legged table) and twenty-first century technologies (an iPod and a polycarbonate, laser-cut hailing horn recalling the literature of Moby Dick), did not present any perceptual issues or barriers for them in their ability to “read” the object.
So in response to the question: “Are the analog and the digital really integrated in practice, or do tensions still exist?” I have to say perhaps this is in the eye of the beholder. In much of the New Media Art I see, the technology is in the foreground. With some craft practitioners, I see more of a balance between the presence and agency of the materials they use to drive ideas, and technology is many times integrated in a way to enhance a sensory experience beyond the actual object. Technology as a new materiality in craft is present, but not in the foreground as much as New Media art which seems to have another agenda. I am wondering if any of you notice these same things and what similarities and differences you see between these two groups and how they are using new technologies in their work?