Saturday, April 16, 2016

Week 3 - Robotics&Art

A workshop in China for mass
producing various artwork

Society typically welcomes industrialization and the factory style commodification of goods. This lowers prices and makes products more accessible to the masses. But this can also lower the quality and intrinsic value of the product. With respect to art, industrialization is scorned for its devaluing effect, and the anonymity it gives to each piece of art that flies out of the soulless warehouses and into the commercial markets. Walter Benjamin said it best, "Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be" (Benjamin, Section 3). Art has always
Cartoon referencing Heraclitus' famous proverb
thrived on the qualitative value given to it by the artist. The substance of the piece is always in direct relation to the era's society and the artist's personal or emotional state. It reminds me of the old adage, "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man" (Goodreads). Every brush stroke, every drop that hits the canvas, even if they were unintended, gives the piece meaning.
It's the artist's thoughts, intentions, and emotions being immortalized in a work of art that transcends the idea of a simple picture or work; and this expression of said intangibles in a timeless piece is what makes true art. By trying to recreate a timeless piece, we are actually destroying that piece's significance. It stands for much more than the visible image, so by simply copying the image onto another sheet of canvas, we are shedding the art's real significance.

Japanese robots are manufactured to look as real as possible
When we study a more joint field between art and technology, such as robotics, we realize that the societal view is different from culture to culture. Both east and west accept the use of robotics in subservient positions, but cringe at the thought of artificial intelligence. These feelings range from angry factory workers being replaced by robotics, to paranoia over personal assistant robots one day taking over the world such as in the acclaimed film I, Robot. The main difference and debate over new "humanoid" robots is how "human" a robot should look. China and Japan push for a human-looking robot to allow for warmer acceptance of robots in day-to-day life; while westerners believe a more distinct visual discrepancy is necessary to remind the public of the paramount differences robots have from humans. As time progresses, it seems likely that robotics will be playing a larger role in both art and our everyday lives, and I'm anxious to see how this technology is incorporated into society.


 Balfelt, Kenneth A. "What Happens When Art Is Sold and Enters Commodification? Art as Free Floating Signifiers." Art Projects by Kenneth A Balfelt. 16 May 2001. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Benjamin, Walter, and J. A. Underwood. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. London: Penguin, 2008. Print.

"A Quote by Heraclitus." Goodreads. Goodreads Inc. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Gurney, James. "Gurney Journey: The Art of Copying." Gurney Journey: The Art of Copying. 21 July 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Kasahara, Machiko. "Robotics MachikoKusahara 1." YouTube. 14 Apr. 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Linshi, Jack. "These Human Robots Will Haunt Your Nightmares." Time. Time Inc. Network, 24 June 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

I, Robot. Dir. Alex Proyas. Perf. Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, and Bruce Greenwood. 20th Century Fox, 2004. DVD.

 Raczkowski, Marek. "Marek Raczkowski Cartoons." #1 Heraclitus' Policeman. 17 May 2009. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. 

1 comment:

  1. I also referenced iRobot in my blog. It is interesting to see views on the things going as far a paranoia but to me it seems like those kinds of worries are very far down the road if they are even possible, but there are plenty of examples of people loosing their jobs to computers. The world of robotics may have a larger roll in our daily lives than I have usually cared to realize.