Theories of Art and Technology Final Paper Abstract, 2011

Research paper.




Defensive Splitting / Clone Reconciliation : Art in the Age of Digital Manipulation

I intend to make digital replication the topic of my final paper. Since digital manipulation in the form of visual and audio replication is a consistent theme in my own practice, I will refer to my own experiences while cross referencing them with some of the articles from the class readings. I’ll argue for the erasure of aura by citing Walter Benjamin’s Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. My paper will address the psychological benefits of repeating an image in an attempt to build a personal infantry whose actions are productive, predictable and efficient. I will discuss the comfort I find in building imaginary isolated spaces with the means that technology has afforded us. Repetition and replication will be discussed in terms of the video and audio loop. Software makes it possible to produce this digital lullaby, a soothing representation of harmony and order in the midst of the chaotic social environment ‘out there’ in the physical world. Throughout my paper, I’ll suggest that the thinking that supports artistic digital production resembles the numerous pathways of the rhizome. I’ll cite Deleuze and Guattari and the ways that this type of thinking can help create new creative problem solving skills without sacrificing content value. The overall tone of my final paper will argue that technology, more specifically digital tools, can assist an artist in producing, through skillful editing and manipulation, that which cannot be explained. Since technology presents us with a void, a blank canvas onto which we can inscribe our thoughts, it allows us to illustrate the deepest parts of our personalities and give them sound and choreography. Through examples of movies like THX-1138, I’ll praise the creation of the infinite void by Lucas and his creative team. Through characters like Agent Smith of the Matrix trilogy, I’ll explain the use of body replication as a way to strip one of his identity in a world where identity can be a limiting factor. My paper will discuss how we can address trauma and dissociative symptoms by using technological tools that make it easy to build our own army of clones.