The Art of the FutureObelisk Home
We hardly pause to think about how the advancement in technology and global political climate effects art. The year 2016 was seen as tumultuous by most people, including artists across the globe. From political transitions, health issues, natural disasters, and war, we’ve faced a lot of
unexpected turns.This time of great change is not only seen through our televisions, but also in art.
It’s long been the role of an artist to reflect current climate, but it seems now that this role is more important than ever. Marc Speigler, director of Miami’s Art Basel, says “I would argue that art is more relevant than ever. Artists have an important role to play.” He pointed to the fact that artists are able to react to and record changes in society much more quickly than can politicians and CEOs—and that we should expect to see a more politically engaged and more deeply probing form of art gain greater prominence in the coming years (Forbes, Artsy Magazine).
It’s no doubt that art reflects politics, that’s nothing new. What’s new are the ways we express it – centuries ago, we we limited to writing and painting. With technology changing faster than we can keep up, artists have begun mixing it into their exhibitions. Above is Shanghai artist, Xu Wenkai’s installation entitled Gfwlist. The piece explores the strict arm of China’s firewall, through which the state limits the online experience. Artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist explains: “In the middle of the monolith the artist inserted a small printer, which prints out nonstop papers with a list of encrypted domains of websites blocked by China’s Firewall (such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, the New York Times, Twitter, BBC, etc.).” Politically stirring indeed.
Beyond the subject, art medium has changed drastically with the advancement of technology. Many artists, like Mario Pfiefer, prefer to work with video to bring their visions to the eyes of their audience. Most people hold the capability to view art right in their own pocket – smart phones have made channels like YouTube crazily accessible. Pfiefer’s video creation titled #blacktivist has resulted in nearly 3 million YouTube views, garnering him much praise. This type of accessibility is totally new to the art world, and is reshaping the way we view it. That’s certainly not going to change in 2017.