'The most fertile ground for experimentation is where the real and the virtual blend together... Artists tend to push on the questions that we’ll all be asking years later. And in the process, they often grapple with emerging technologies in unpredicted ways’ (Cacophony).
During the last century 'net art' and virtual installations have emerged as recognized artistic practices. Art has collided with online spaces, technology, virtual reality ...and in the end actual computing hardware. If art imitates life then what does this all mean? It means that relationships between technology and nature, organism and machine, are changing and being reimagined by artists in on- and offline spaces.
Arts evolving relationship with technology has taken an interesting turn as demonstrated by the Biomodd (art) project. Biomodd fuses biology and technology through creative hybrid (functional) installations. Damjan Obal and Maruša Novak explain the purpose is to integrate computer waste with living biology to illustrate the ways in which technology and nature can coexist as live eco-tech systems.
To the untrained eye this might look like a shrub got into a fight with a computer (and no one really won). The beauty of the installation lies in the collaborative process involved around construction and the ways in which we, the audience, are encouraged to view relationships between nature, technology and art. The Biomodd project shows how: 'Information technology and the ubiquity of it, is allowing artists to play with it, create interactive art installations on the go and involve otherwise passive spectators to engage with the artwork. Further more, to collaborate and co-create the experience' (Damjan Obal and Maruša Novak).
Not only is technology and the internet subject matter and medium – artists are occupying digital spaces to communicate and display their work. Artists have long inhabited Myspace but those signed up to Tumblr join a larger community. Rather than wait for exposure and feedback from the art community (in places like art galleries) these young artists have carved out a space of their own. Here, collective 'experience is now based on simultaneous private experiences, distributed across the field of media culture, knit together by ongoing debate, publicity, promotion and discussion', says artist Seth Price.
Technology and online spaces empower the imagination of artists through the sharing of private (and public) knowledge, vision and experience. What we the audience are presented with online is the opportunity to engage with the artist, with the artistic process (rather than walk away wondering what it all meant).
Techologial advances and social media sites like Tumblr have changed the way we view and do art. What is perhaps most astonishing is the ways in which online spaces themselves, such as Tumblr blogs can become works of art – something more than a digital space. Infact, in the act of developing a blog, artists construct a digital version of themselves and their interests through their imagery. The self as art takes on new meaning in this context. To bring us back to our Biomodd starting point - where does the human/organic begin and machine/technology end?