Art and science are closely connected, both are human attempts to understand and describe the world around us. The two disciplines have always influenced each other. The person most people will be thinking of here is probably Leonardo da Vinci, who is known for his scientific research as well as his art. However, there are many famous examples. Dürer ’s celestial maps gained momentum as a scientific standard. Technological inventions have changed the way we make art. The birth of photography changed the way people painted, and indeed photography became an art form in its own right. Without the invention of the Paint Tube, impressionists wouldn’t have been able to paint ‘en plein air’. The invention of the circular-saw around the end of the 18th-century allowed Rietveld and the artists of the Bauhaus to cut straight lines. And steel I-beams allowed buildings to stand without columns. The invention of the computer changed creative production again. It caused a completely different way of making art in all its forms.
Artists always are using the latest innovations in science. Trying to explore the possibilities of new tools and materials. That’s because “Artists are trained to face novel problems.
David Hockney has always embraced modern inventions working with copy- and fax machines. He now makes drawings while still in bed after waking up in the morning on his iPad and iPhone. He sais; “Dawn is about luminosity and so is the iPhone. You can’t overwork this, because it’s not a real surface. In watercolor, for instance, about three layers are the maximum. Beyond that, it starts to get muddy. Here you can put anything on anything. You can put a bright, bright blue on top of an intense yellow.”
Scottish artist Beverley Hood looks at what effects technology has on the feeling of being alive and human. She is interested in the relationship between body and technology. She researches the impact of technology on human experience, bodies, and relationships. Her projects include interdisciplinary cooperation and performances using technology.
German artist Holger Bär invented a painting-machine during his studies at the University of Wuppertal from 1986 to 1989. His technique of ‘digital painting‘ uses computer-generated templates that are transferred to the canvas by self-developed machines – pixel by pixel. Bär’s work questions the uniqueness of artistic authorship. Bär is a painter of the 21st century and expresses himself in this context with contemporary means.
Brussels based artist Patrick Tresset also uses robots and autonomous computational systems to make drawings and paintings. The robots use cameras to “see” their subjects and a mechanical arm to draw using a pen and paper. They are more than just coping machines, Tresset’s robots are designed with “autonomous artistic creativity”. Originally a painter he no longer uses his own hands to draw or paint, but still calls himself an artist. He is interested in how humans make marks and, depict other humans. Tresset has an MSc degree in Arts Computing from Goldsmiths and an MPhil in Arts and technology.
Janet Saad-Cook invented new ways to create art from the reflection of sunlight. In collaboration with scientists, engineers, and architects she constructs structures. When sunlight touches these, light figures appear on the walls and ceiling. These ‘Sun Drawings‘ gradually change as the sunlight moves across the reflective sculptures. The light is broken into pure color by the multi-layered optical coatings. How she forms glass and metal determines the shapes and the type of coating the colors. She lectures and has delivered papers at scientific institutions like MIT and The Royal Institution.
Could machines make art without any human artist being involved? Images created by Artificial Intelligence have been around since Google’s pattern-finding software DeepDream. When an image is created by AI, can it still be considered art? Sofar the “artworks” produced by AI were neither aesthetically nor conceptually interesting. But this might change sooner than we think. Duchamp in the 1920s and Andy Warhol in the 1960s predicted the deauthorization of art, maybe we are finally getting there.