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Art, Science, and Technology: 10 Visionary Artists Bridging the Gap

In Round Up #3, we dive into the works of John Gerrard, Eduardo Kac, and Christian Marclay, among others, as they seamlessly blend art, science, and technology to create thought-provoking experiences that challenge our perception of the world.

  1. John Gerrard

Leaf Work at Galway International Arts Festival, 2020

John Gerrard (b. 1974) is an Irish artist who has gained international recognition for

his innovative approach to sculpture. Gerrard creates digital simulations that challenge our perceptions of space, time, and reality.

“ I’m interested in how we create the world around us, and how we’re in turn created by it. My works are intended as invitations to contemplate our relationship with the environment and with each other."

In "Leaf Work" , a cloaked figure adorned in green Irish spring leaves moves slowly across the Connemara landscape, embodying the ancient tradition of the Green Man. The figure's movements were captured using motion capture technology and transformed into an infinite choreography through the use of time motion matching and neural networks. This work explores the interconnectedness of energy, nature, and society, focusing on the representation of environmental stress. It presents a unique blend of dance, seasons, and sustenance, evoking an emotional journey that resonates with viewers.

2. Andreas Gursky

Pyongyang VI, 2017 (2007)

Andreas Gursky (b.1955) is a renowned German photographer celebrated for his meticulously crafted large-scale photographs, showcasing intricate details of landscapes and urban environments. His deliberate approach involves extensive planning and preparation to reveal hidden structures and patterns that shape our world and challenge our perceptions. Gursky's images evoke a unique tension between objectivity and subjectivity, inviting viewers to see the world in a fresh and thought-provoking light. With his work, he seeks to create images that are simultaneously beautiful and unsettling, pushing us to question our assumptions and discover new perspectives.

In his Pyongyang series (2007), Gursky documented his visit to the Arirang Festival in North Korea, a grand event dedicated to the memory of Kim Il Sung. The festival features an impressive display of mass games, with over 50,000 participants executing synchronized acrobatics. Behind them, 30,000 schoolchildren hold colored flip-cards, creating a dynamic mosaic of patterns and images. Gursky's panoramic photographs capture the juxtaposition between the vibrant colors and joyful expressions of the performers and the controlled, totalitarian atmosphere of the event.

3. Pierre Huygue

Variants, 2021- ongoing, scanned forest, real-time simulation, generative mutation and sounds, intelligent camera, environmental sensors, animals, plants, micro-organisms and materialized mutations: synthetic and biological material aggregate.

"I often draw inspiration from the natural world, observing and interacting with living systems to create artworks that reflect the complex relationships between humans, animals, and the environment."

Pierre Huyghe is an artist based in New York, USA. His immersive and ever-evolving interdisciplinary work challenges traditional art conventions and explores intricate relationships between various life forms, both biological and technological. Huyghe's works serve as speculative fiction, blurring the boundaries between intelligent beings and inert matter that learn, adapt, and evolve. Inspired by the natural world, he investigates the intricate connections between humans, animals, and the environment, examining how these interactions shape our perception of reality.

"Variants" is an interactive entity that exists both in physical and digital realms. It transforms a scanned island into a live simulation, where fictional narratives and an artificial neural network generate unpredictable mutations. These mutations affect the island's environment, including its inhabitants, sounds, and objects. The mutations evolve in response to the island's activities, with floodwaters accelerating their growth. Occasionally, these mutations manifest physically on the island, altering its appearance. Visitors can navigate the simulated environment through a screen, observing the island's ever-changing nature. Despite the flood rendering the island inaccessible, the entity persists, indifferent to its surroundings.

4. Eduardo Kac

Adsum, 2019- Ongoing

Eduardo Kac, a Brazilian-American artist, is renowned for his pioneering work in bio art and transgenic art, where he explores the intersections of art, science, and technology. His visionary early artworks from the 1980s anticipated today's global culture; while his recent projects, including collaborations with NASA, push the boundaries of artistic exploration beyond Earth. Kac's innovative blend of telecommunications and art created ephemeral images predating the era of instant communication and artificial intelligence. While digital art has been produced worldwide for decades, Kac believes there is still much progress to be made in its recognition and exhibition.

5. Sofia Crespo

Artificial Natural History, 2020 - Ongoing

Sofia Crespo, a multidisciplinary artist based in Lisbon, explores the intersection of artificial and natural forms in her works. Using machine learning algorithms, she creates ethereal creatures and landscapes that blur the boundaries between organic and synthetic. Crespo challenges our perception of the natural world and our relationship with emerging technologies. Her distorted creatures defy traditional biological classifications, celebrating the diverse beauty of nature. By embracing digital qualities, Crespo provides a fresh perspective on the non-human world and encourages appreciation for its vulnerability and complexity.

'Artificial Natural History' celebrates the endless diversity of the natural world and combines the desire to categorise organisms with a humanistic approach, resulting in distorted creatures that need new biological classifications.

6. Oliver Laric

Screen Capture of Lincoln 3D Scans, 2013

Oliver Laric, a contemporary artist born in 1981, explores the complex dynamics between originality, reproduction, and the digital era. Through his use of 3D scanning, animation, and appropriation of existing images and artworks, Laric investigates how technology shapes our perception of the world and influences our relationship with reality. He examines the interplay between the original and the copy, reflecting on the ease of image reproduction in the digital age and the multiplicity of interpretations that arise. Laric's work prompts us to consider how our perception of objects is mediated by the media through which they are presented.

In "Lincoln 3D Scans" Laric challenges traditional notions of time and heritage, offering a thought-provoking commentary on the malleability of artistic representation.

7. Mark Leckey

Still from Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, 1999 (still)

Mark Leckey, a British contemporary artist born in 1964, explores the intersection of high and low culture, avant-garde and mainstream, through his multidisciplinary works in film, sculpture, sound, and performance art. He examines how technology and formats shape our consumption and interpretation of images, questioning the boundaries and limitations imposed by these media. Leckey's work evokes atmospheres and triggers memories, akin to sheet music generating images, inviting viewers to engage with his art's sensory and nostalgic dimensions.

"Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore" (1999) is a seminal video artwork that captures the essence of British club culture from the 1970s to the 1990s. Through a mesmerizing collage of found footage, Leckey constructs a visual tapestry of dance, fashion, and music, evoking the euphoria and energy of the era. The work immerses viewers in a nostalgic journey, exploring the transformative power of subcultures and their impact on collective memory.

8. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Bilateral Time Slicer, 2016

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, a Mexican-Canadian artist born in 1967, merges technology and public spaces in his interactive installations that explore surveillance, memory, and human connection. He sees art and science as complementary ways of understanding the world, driven by curiosity and a desire to comprehend complex systems.

Hemmer's interdisciplinary approach weaves scientific concepts into mesmerizing experiences, inviting meaningful dialogues and reflecting on the dynamic relationship between humans, technology, and our environment. His works create spaces for reflection and connection, using technology as a tool for dialogue and expression.

"Bilateral Time Slicer" is an interactive installation that uses biometric tracking and face detection to find the symmetry axis of participants. When the axis is almost vertical, the live camera image is split into two slices. Each participant's slice is recorded and pushed aside, creating a procession of past recordings. Inspired by ancient traditions and modern art, the piece references time-lapse sculptures and masks like the Aztec three-faced mask and works by artists such as Duchamp and Balla. The central strip represents the most recent portrait, while the side strips depict the oldest portraits.

9. Lu Yang

Uterus Man, 2013, video

Lu Yang, born in 1984 and based in Shanghai, explores the convergence of traditional Chinese medicine, spirituality, and modern digital cultures. By blending scientific and technological elements with aesthetics inspired by youth culture, Lu Yang offers fresh perspectives on China's encounter with modernity, with a specific focus on the human body and neurology. The boundaries between art and video games dissolve as technology advances, allowing characters to transcend limitations. However, challenges such as computer speed and teamwork requirements highlight the gap between perception and reality. Lu Yang's integration of anime and game aesthetics creates a powerful tool for sparking dialogue and engagement, as their thought-provoking narratives resonate with contemporary sensibilities.

Lu's 'Uterus Man' is a groundbreaking artwork that confronts societal norms and perceptions of gender. Through the character of Uterus Man, Lu Yang challenges traditional notions of masculinity and femininity, inviting viewers to question and reevaluate their own preconceptions.

10 . Christian Marclay

The Clock, 2010, Video, projection, colour and sound (stereo)

Staring at a screen as clocks from everywhere line up by the minute, synchronizing with real-life time, is Christian Marclay's "The Clock" (2010). In this artwork, thousands of film clips featuring clocks or references to time are meticulously edited together, resulting in a seamless and mesmerizing experience.

Christian Marclay, born in 1955, is a Swiss-American artist known for his innovative and interdisciplinary approach to art. His contributions span visual art, music, and film, with a focus on sound art and sampling techniques. Marclay recontextualizes cultural materials like vinyl records and film footage to create new narratives that defy conventions and push artistic boundaries. Embracing collage as a form of appropriation and recontextualization, Marclay challenges traditional notions of composition and narrative, allowing for new interpretations and connections to emerge. He embraces the transformative power of art to redefine our understanding of visual and auditory experiences.

In Round Up #3, we have explored the captivating works of artists like John Gerrard, Eduardo Kac, and Christian Marclay, who exemplify the power of art, science, and technology to push the boundaries of creativity and perception. Through their innovative approaches and thought-provoking experiences, these artists invite us to question, reflect, and reimagine our understanding of the world around us.

This rounds up the best of this season’s Artist Spotlight. To keep up with our weekly updates, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, or stay tuned for our next Round Up on the rest of our social media channels.

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