The Aesthetic Evolution of Digital Sculpture(con't)
Form and Space -- New Dimensions
Digital media have translated the notion of 3-dimensional
space into a virtual, networked realm and have thus opened up new dimensions
for the relation between form and space. Tangibility, which has been a
major characteristic of the concept of "sculpture," now isn't necessarily
a defining quality any more. All of these developments beg the question
in which specific respects the computer has expanded and changed traditional
notions of sculpture.
Tracing back the view into the virtual world that has
been opened up by the computer to Alberti's invention of perspective as
a "primary technology," Michael Rees
comes to the conclusion that there is a refinement and an acceleration
of the original system of perspective and the representation and manufacture
of form. However, he finds that the speed of realizing physical representation
hasn't necessarily led to a different experience of physical laws. Since
cyperspace potentially transcends physical laws, it may be restricting
to even try to apply them to the virtual world.
Most of what I am aware of being produced under the rubric of "digital
sculpture" merely mimics the formal strategies of traditional sculpture
-- bound as it is in an "upright universe" dependent on gravity, the
material limits of particular media, and the scale of the human body.
Even the sculpture parks dedicated to a "virtual" sculptural experience
to a large extent maintain the phenomenological constraints of traditional
sculpture. - Dan Collins
As Keith Brown
it, the transphysical aspect of the cyber environment provides new possibilities
for sculpture and radically changes traditional modes of experience that
were defined by gravity, scale, material etc. Sculptors are now free to
build forms that defy natural laws. New developments in manufacturing
processes and materials have also extended the possibilities for the physically
manifest sculptural object.
I find it even more compelling/challenging to explore various means
to introduce virtual sculptures into the physical world. The interface
between the Actual and the Virtual is significant content within my
new sculpture work. - Robert Michael Smith
There seems to be an obvious tendency among digital sculptors
to explore the interface between the virtual and the physical and to experiment
with output methods that let the sculptures materialize in the physical
world. Digital sculpture seldom seems to exist solely in the virtual realm.
| Robert Michael Smith
who accepts cyberspace as a viable and credible new world in which to
exhibit, experiments with various means to physically manufacture forms
originally developed as virtual sculptures, and Derrick
and Dan Collins
are equally interested in bridging the gap between the virtual space of
the computer and the tangibility of sculptural objects. Mainly due to
financial factors, Michael Rees
project will combine traditional and computer-generated practices.
It will be a kind of sculptural essay that visualizes
his convictions about text/image/object and might take the form of permutational
system in which each of the objects, which can be combined into various
forms, functions like a word or like a sentence in order emphasize the
language or library or taxonomic aspect of the sculptures. Rees points
out that the lower visibility of the computer generation in the final
state of the work isn't meant to make the work more palatable but allows
him to concentrate more directly on the balance of the sculpture.
Robert Michael Smith
Lavigne believes that digital technologies can produce objects that
are true to these objects' virtual representations, no matter how complex
they are. For him, information and computer technologies constitute supplementary
tools of creation that allow the artist to conceive new forms and means
of expression -- but what counts before everything else still is inherent
necessity, the artistic depth of the envisioned results.
|This orientation towards the physical
object may ultimately also have historical roots. Dan
Collins points out that historically, the body has been a reference
point of traditional sculpture and that the domain created by new technologies
extends from nano-scaled structures to cosmic macro structures "given form"
by devices such as radio telemetry.
|According to Collins, appreciation
of these forms depends on the interface between the body and a given set
of impulses "felt" by the sensorium; tuning the interface now allows us
to get feedback from "scales" heretofore inaccessible to the sensing body.
PRISM Lab's work with its research partners in nanotechnology, for example,
makes it now possible to "touch" a red blood cell or get tactile feedback
from a chromosome.
|To challenge traditional notions
of sculpture, and at best to overtake them, has of course always been the
mission of some sculptors and digital sculptors in particular, as Derrick
Woodham states. He finds that digital media have profoundly affected
his most recent work by inspiring him to explore more challenging design
solutions, by changing social references (in terms of the interests or values
reflected in the public or uncopyrighted domain and in the accumulated product
of computer-based model making) and by challenging his assumptions about
his future audience, which has become dramatically younger. As Woodham sums
it up, the record of sculptures that stylistically accommodate the capabilities
of new technologies confirms that change is inevitable.
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