Art in Contemporary Times Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

21st Century Art Themes

The theme for the recently completed exhibition at The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City entitled Making/Breaking: New Arrivals, is innovation. Each of the pieces on display in this exhibit showcase novel concepts related to design, usage, and functionality of an assortment of objects. One of the best examples of this fact is found in Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket with Jacquard by Google. There are many ways in which this object is aligned with the motifs of novelty, innovation, and progress which typify the design objects in the museum’s Process Galleries. The most salient of these has to do with its functionality.

This garment is an example of the concept that function can actually belie design. What is perhaps most notable about this notion is that many have been forecasting the impact of wearable clothing in the Internet of Things. Wearables are clothes that directly connect to the internet for the sort of continuous connectivity—and transmission of data—which is increasingly typifying reality in the 21st century via the IoT (Rokni and Ghasemzadeh 1). Thus, the very fabric which Google’s jacket was made from is aligned with this textile and technological progress. The medium for this piece of art is cotton and conductive yarn. The critical facet of this material is the latter. Conductive yarn is excellent for transmitting electricity, which is naturally a prerequisite for wearable devices part of the Internet of Things. Therefore, this garment is an example of a piece of art which provide dual functionality: that for communicative purposes as well as for clothing purposes. Traditionally, of course, clothing was designed for utilitarian purposes; later on it took on characteristics indicative of fashion and style. The true innovation of this jacket—indeed, the very reason it was selected for this museum display—is in its functionality.

Specifically, then, that functionality encompasses a wide array of options related to smart phone usage. The jacket contains a sensor and is able to connect to the wearer’s smart phone, which enables the ongoing connectivity for which the IoT is both known and revolutionary (Jacobson et al 46). Wearers can make calls, get messages, send them, and manipulate their phones (and the phone’s data) in a number of ways. They can also control other functionality such as starting, stopping, and selecting music. There are also navigation features which are easily accessible. All of this accessibility is enabled through gestures, which is the novelty.

The N-Bowl on display at the museum is noteworthy for a different type of innovation, yet one which is indelibly linked to an alternative technology. This bowl in itself is less than remarkable; it is only a brass bowl which might serve for any variety of functions. These include decorative purposes as well as more practical ones, such as an ash tray. However, the reason this bowl was included in the exhibition is because it was created by a robot. More specifically, it was engendered from the branch of Artificial Intelligence known as robotics.

Artificial Intelligence has substantially increased in popularity over the past couple of years. Robotics has conventionally been the most eminent manifestation of this technology which originally made strides during the midway point of the 20th century (Ingrand and Ghallab 63). It is significant because it heralds the next evolutionary wave of technology, one which is influencing an ever expanding number of spheres of life. The bowl in the exhibition was shaped by a robot. The robot used its arm to stretch the bowl and mold it into its present form. This innovation is important because it represents a novelty in the development of metal forming. Historically, this form of art was implemented with human hands. The N-Bowl, however, merges that relatively traditional form of art with a decidedly updated, digital perspective. This approach to creating art is noteworthy because it illustrates the potential of robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and digital processes in ways they were not previously used.

The most critical factor about the particular bowl displayed is the method with which it was created. That method is invaluable for one reason in particular. Notwithstanding the usage of robotics for creating this work, its creation is impressive because there are features of this bowl which are unique. The bowl contains concentric circles and specific line types that are impossible to duplicate. The fact that a unique work of art was rendered using a tool like robotics merely hints at the possibilities of this technology. This production was no mere assembly line replica—which is oftentimes the case when employing elements of automation and tools for works of creativity. What is memorable about this work is that the robot deployed was actually creative in and of itself by making something that is unique.

Another item which helps to represent the overall theme of innovation contained in Making/Breaking: New Arrivals is a snap tag, 2017. Although this object is a corollary to the aforementioned smart jacket, it is still a separate object on display as part of this exhibition. This particular snap tag was created by both Levi Strauss and Google, a fact which underscores its relationships to the Commuter Trucker Jacket with Jacquard. This piece is comprised primarily of polyurethane and electronic equipment.

Perhaps the most distinguishing point of relevance for this object is its function. There is very little artistic about it, yet it is a component which enables the smart jacket to connect to the internet via smart phones. Therefore, this object illustrates exactly how pragmatic exhibition pieces can be. The ramifications of this pragmaticism are considerable. Art can serve very real, practical purposes—such as providing smart phone functionality for a smart jacket. Thus, there is much more to artwork than aesthetic value.

Another very vital point about the inclusion of the aforementioned smart tag in this exhibition is its cultural significance. The fact that it was placed…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Harris, Jeanne; Ives, Blake; Junglas, Iris. “IT Consumerization: When Gadgets Turn Into Enterprise IT Tools.” Mis Quarterly Executive. 11(3), 99-112. 2012. Print.

Ingrand, Félix and Ghallab, Malik. “Robotics and artificial intelligence: A perspective on deliberation functions.” AI Communications. 27(1), 63-80. 2014.

Jacobson, Ivar, Spence, Ian, Ng, Pan-Wei. “Is There a Single Method for the Internet of Things?” Communications of the ACM. 60(11), 46-53. 2017. Print.

Nisar, Saima, Sheik, Osman, Wan, Rozaini. “BYOD Adoption Model Validation by Experts”. International Journal of Computer Science & Management Studies. (37)1, 1-6. 2017.

Rokni, Seyed Ali and Ghasemzadeh, Hassan. “Plug-n-Learn: Automatic Learning of Computational Algorithms in Human-Centered Internet-of-Things Applications.” DAC: Annual ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference. 8(3), 821-826. 2016. Print.

Reddy, Srinivas and Reinartz, Werner. “Digital Transformation and Value Creation: Sea Change Ahead.” GFK-Marketing Intelligence Review. 9(1), 11-17. 2017. Print.


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