Art & Art History ETDs

Author

Megan Schultz

Publication Date

7-1-2011

Abstract

The role of the artist has expanded. Artworks increasingly occupy spaces not traditionally allocated for artistic practice. The materials and methods used for creative expression, along with the use of new spaces for the production, exhibition, and distribution of artistic activity work together to break down previous notions of the function of art. An example of a new mode for art practice may be seen in an increased use of technology by artists. Although artists have addressed technology and mechanization as subjects of their work since at least the Industrial Revolution, new artworks employ technology not only as a theme within their practice, but take advantage of technology increasingly ubiquitous presence. Digital and mechanical materials are incorporated into works that seek to encourage audience participation and promote community oriented interaction. Likewise, scientists and engineers are increasingly employing design strategies in the display and organization of data and in the construction of engaging models and mockups. An increasing number of artist are including technology within their artistic practice to address larger social and political issues, using technology as both a material and a symbol. This paper seeks to illustrate these new trends in art-making, focusing on works that meld graffiti with electronic and digital media as a means to initiate public interaction. The specific projects discussed, Laser Tag,' by the Graffiti Research Lab, 'Graffiti Writer,' by the Institute for Applied Autonomy, and 'Grafedia,' by John Geraci, all uniquely combine graffiti and technology in works aimed at facilitating the artists' social activist goals. Each project provides an example of artists and collectives working within the tradition of political art but by means of new methods and a variety of mediums. Laser Tag's use of laser and projection technology, Graffiti Writer's robotics, and Grafedia's employment of the Internet illustrate the variety of methods explored in this form of art activism. These artists use graffiti and electronic and digital technologies both as materials and symbols of the powerful and the powerless to critique institutional, corporate, and governmental control. Due to the transformation of graffiti and technology, combined with an interest in initiating interaction as a means for social activism, the works discussed inhabit a unique realm that is not wholly dictated by art, technology, or activist practices, but rather they occupy a space that is an amalgamation of these distinct areas akin to performance art.'

Language

English

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Art History

Level of Degree

Masters

Department Name

UNM Department of Art and Art History

First Advisor

Anderson-Riedel, Susanne

First Committee Member (Chair)

Zuromskis, Catherine

Second Committee Member

Montgomery, Lee

Keywords

graffiti, Robotics in art

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