Emerging Technology and Art

By: Kevin La Grandeur  

For some artists, the posthuman era has brought changes to how art is produced, under whose agency, what human art means, and even what being human means—given the blurring of how we define the concept of “human” in a rapidly changing posthuman environment—one in which humans and their technology increasingly merge. My paper explores this phenomenon with particular focus on how artists have combined elements of the posthuman with digital gaming, itself arguably a posthuman phenomenon, to make art that at once reflects and comments on the increasing pervasion of our society by emerging technology. Siebren Versteeg’s work is one example of this. His artwork essentially consists of playing a two-part game that consists of creating an intelligent agent, a surrogate artist, by coding a painting program that then begins painting; the game continues as the program subsequently paints and he chooses a randomized point to end the production process for the final work of this symbiotic act. Ian Cheng, who actually programs a gaming engine to generate his self-evolving video art, has stated that his art is like a “video game that plays itself” (Greenberger, 2016). The irony of the artists’ displacement by the technological agents they use is just one way this sort of art comments on the posthuman nature of its making. My study investigates this as well as what else this sort of art says about how the posthuman has affected us.

New Media, Emerging Technology, Posthuman, Visual Art, Digital Gaming, Posthumanism
New Media, Technology and the Arts
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Kevin La Grandeur

Professor, English, NYIT