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Technology And/In/Through/ Art….and Vice Versa February 19, 2009

Posted by smike97k in communication, cyborgs, poetry, technology.
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The recent study of William Blake and print making in general has really got me thinking about the connections between technology and art.  Matthew Belmonte mentioned the ideas of science and art in his story “The Yellow Raincoat,” and the distinctions between what the two intend to do.  However, I want to look at the direct connection between the tools that technology has created, and their influence on the world of art.

 

To go far back into history, we could consider the stone as a form of technology.  The stone was a way of making paint from natural sources, like fruit and berries.  By crushing these sources, one was able to create a paint like substance, to then use in recording history.  The original pen was made with a feather, and the paintbrush, from animal hair, and still used today despite advancement in art technology.  All of these items could be considered forms of technology in the aid of art, going back thousands of years.  The question is are there some forms of art that are completely dependent on forms of technology, no matter how advanced they are?  Could one be considered a “cyborg” when using the then technology of a rock?

 

The printing press was key not only to the spreading of news in the first books and newspapers, but also in the art of print making, as made evident by William Blake and so many other’s work.  The press that we used in our own class was probably an older technology, but a technology none the less, as would never have been able to create such a clean print, with contrast of black and white, without it.

 

The computer, obviously, is one of the most powerful forms of technology today.  One form of art that the computer has had a great impact on is that of photography.  The computer and digital camera have made the storing and manipulating of photographs and unbelievably easy thing to do at its most basic level.  It has helped some artist create fascinating and surreal photos.  However, as a super amateur photographer, I was originally hesitant to go digital.  I loved the process of developing film and manipulating light onto negatives to create the effect of the photo that I wanted.  This brings up another question about technology in art.  Does technology affect art in a negative way?  Does it take away from artistic creation, which is not easy on any level?  I don’t know.  I’ve questioned these thoughts in my own creations. 

 

Technology and art can be seen to go hand in hand.  The creation of a lot of different forms of art becomes possible with the aid of technology, no matter how simple.  And if you want to go even further, we need art to create technology, in sketches and the building of machinery.  The two can be intertwined in many ways and have been since the beginning of human kind.

Laplacian? February 18, 2009

Posted by baimeeker in cyborgs, technology.
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Professor Burcar asked me to post this.  It’s about “The Raincoat.”

In “The Raincoat,” Matthew Belmonte reflects on his childhood raincoat, an object that represents the tension between himself and his environment, including other people. He compares this tension to the abnormal obsession with controlling the world that is associated with autism. I was particularly struck by his use of the word “Laplacian” to describe himself. I have searched in vain for a definition of Laplacian other than the mathematical term. Why would someone call themselves a “budding Laplacian”?


Although the actual definition of the Laplacian is based in differential calculus, one way that it can be described is in terms of its usefulness. In particular, the Laplacian is used to find equilibrium points in a system. Equilibrium points are points at which there is no movement. These points reflect the feeling Belmonte describes when wearing his raincoat, as though “immersed in the outside worlds flood yet insulated from it.” The areas around these equilibrium points may be moving in several different directions. They may be approaching the equilibrium point or even flying away from it. But the equilibrium point itself is not affected.


In addition, Belmonte discusses how his compulsion to understand the world, and thus reduce it order, pushed him to study science and creative writing, and in particular to describe the world in a mathematically tractable way. As I continue to study applied mathematics, I become more aware of the simplifications that must be made in order to study the world in this way. In the same way that a mathematician studies equilibrium points, Belmonte is looking for stationary rules that describe the best human knowledge of a system. Yet we must always leave things out of our equations for the sake of tractability. Otherwise we would not be able to find solutions. Because of this, equations that try to describe humanity prove to be difficult to create or to analyze. Belmonte tries to find and to convey the equilibrium points of human interaction through science and art. It is due to his participation in this struggle that he can be described as a Laplacian.