T E C H N O L O G Y . A N D . A R T

T E C H N O L O G Y . A N D . A R T :
P E R V E R T I N G . T E C H N O L O G I C A L . C O R R E C T N E S S
[a response to rafael lozano-hemmer's project: leonardo, vol.29, no.1, pp. 5-15, 1996 ]

Under the guise of technological progress, a large mass of digital-based artwork has turned into simple explorations into the novelty of new media. Faster, bigger, and more realistic, a considerable portion of technologically-endowed artmaking use the special effects of the technology as a guide for creation. The novelty and capabilities of the media -- along with a general hope in progress and globalism -- have become the "technologically politically correct" virtues cherished by many creators.

Addressing this issue, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer presents in LEONARDO [1] an article and exhibition titled "Perverting Technological Correctness". While defining "Technological Correctness"[2], Lozano-Hemmer presents documentation of nine artworks which challenge this concept.

The nine works presented "are a testament to the inevitability rather than the novelty of the technology" (p.5). Not proposed as illustrations of the potentials of the technology they use, these works intentionally pose creative limitations.

Presented within the framework of challenging Technological Correctness (TC), Rafael Lozano-Hemmer outlines the artwork within nine possible strategies in which TC can be perverted. His strategies -- in symbolic format -- are as follows:

Instead of technology imitating reality, allow technology itself to be imitated.

Misusing a technology's function provides an interesting inversion.

Stretching assumed roles around who is using technology and who is supposed to be using technology.

Non-digital "virtual" artwork as a valid exploration.

Technology does not always need to be presented in a format which maximizes pleasure.

Often assuming that technology will only take humankind to a better place, society rarely considers negative outcomes of technology.

Spontaneous use of technological materials can be used in a performance context.

Integrating odd digital and analog systems goes against the notion of Technologically-Correct efficiency.

Not able to be perfectly duplicated, work based in direct experience and process poses a problem to the ideal reproducibility of the digital realm.

Perhaps most interesting of the nine works falls under the loose category of "Pain" -- a performance work titled Epizoo by Marcel.li Antunez Roca. Epizoo is a performance installation in which the viewing public can actively manipulate the artist via computer-controlled pneumatic mechanisms mounted to the artist's flesh. These deforming mechanisms are controlled by the audience from a touch-screen computer which displays digital depictions of the artist's virtual body. Physically bridging a gap between virtual and non-virtual violence, the artist presents his body as a physical outlet of digital pain.

The theory and artwork presented by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is enormously refreshing. His divergent strategies of perverting technological correctness are a welcome sight in a forum which is lacking coherent focus and language. Beyond elementary anti-technology dialogue, Lozano-Hemmer presents constructive and invigorating examples of artists utilizing inverted applications of technology -- perverting the concepts of progress, comfort, and ease which often pervade the technologically-saturated society which is occurring around us.

For more information:

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Modesta Lafuente 28, 3A
Madrid 28003


[1]LEONARDO. M.I.T. Press. Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 5-15, 1996.
[2] The term "Technological Correctness" is referenced to originate from art critic Lorne Falk.

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