Abstract for the paper The impact of modern technology on contemporary art projects with a social and meliorist goal.
To be presented at the Body and Technology: Instruments of Somaesthetics conference at The Centre for Body, Mind, and Culture, January 24 - 26, 2013 at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida.
A closer study of the long cultural history of Western Europe reveals the visual arts as the art form with the closest correlation to the natural sciences and technology. The many new digital tools and other new technologies which constantly create dramatic changes in our society have also conquered the art world. Artists have created new art forms based on a reshaping of new technologies and with a focus on embodied creation and perception. Their works often visualize or are directly inspired by Richard Shusterman's somaesthetics with the core message of embodied transactional experience, experimentation and “a meliorist goal of making things better (..) opening thought and life to new and promising options.” 1 In both philosophy and art, he would like the realization of "the aesthetic experience of collaborative creation, and even the cognitive gains from exploring new practices that provoke new sensations, spur new energies and attitudes, and thus probe one's current limits and perhaps transcend them to transform the self."2
A new version of this goal is visualized with an original and surprising use of colour technologies and artificially produced fog in the installations created by the forceful and renowned Danish artist, Olafur Eliasson, in, for example Your Uncertain Shadow (Berlin, 2011), Feelings are facts (Beijing, 2010) and Your Rainbow Panorama (Aros Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, 2011). He pursues a strain of so-called "technological humanism" in a new and impressive way. His interactive projects stimulate a sense of wonder ,which plays with perceptual possibilities, involves collaborative performative processes and inspires a...