Since the dawn of market society, owners and bosses have revelled in telling workers they were replaceable. Robots lend this centuries-old dynamic a troubling new twist: employers threaten employees with the specter of machine competition, shirking responsibility for their avaricious disposition through opportunistic appeals to tech determinism. A “jobless future” is inevitable, we are told, an irresistible outgrowth of innovation, the livelihood-devouring price of progress. (Sadly, the jobless future for the masses doesn’t resemble the jobless present of the 1 percent who live off dividends, interest, and rent, lifting nary a finger as their bank balances grow.)
I doubt the rise of technology obviates the need for human brains and hands. We are thinking machines while the automatons themselves excel in action, at least for the time being.
The bigger problem seems to be the perception of jobs. Most people allow work to justify their existence when really it’s the things we do outside the office that should make us feel needed. There’s more to life than a paycheck!
The machines are going to be there like they’ve been all along, helping people get their work done more efficiently. The bots versus brain chasm is a non-zero-sum game.
But if it just so happens that all we do is push buttons all day, perhaps it’ll give us a chance to do other things like making better art.
It comes as no surprise that bad work begets good work — the more you create, the more you have to play with.
People mistakenly believe that successful artists excelled all along. But what you see as the viewer is mostly the result of trial and error.
What I enjoy about the internet is that you can show your work. Anyone can put their art out into the world and get immediate feedback, even if the latter is crickets. Dead silence may inspire you to be more expressive, in some cases, intensely provocative.
“It is a joy to behidden, and a disaster not to be found.”– D.W. Winnicott
It takes a lot of time and a ton of practice to recreate what you consider good taste. It also takes a lot of courage to be one of the crazy ones trying something new. But the artist can’t combat convention until they master the basics first.
From emulation to originality, the entire creative process seems to happen slowly and shimmers when it thinks you’re ready. Until then, cultivating talent is a game of inches.
Leonardo was a true Renaissance man, fascinated with everything — the mechanics of flight, architecture, engineering, botany, artillery and human anatomy — but one of his favorite private pastimes was to draw faces, either as scribbles in the margins of his notebooks or as fully conceived sketches later used for paintings.
In 2016, graffiti artist Banksy installed a shredder into one of his canvasses entitled it “Girl With Balloon.”
Just last week, Sotheby’s auction house in London sold the painting to the highest bidder for $1.37 million. The picture subsequently tore to shreds.
“A few years ago I secretly built a shredder into a painting…in case it was ever put up for auction…”
People are wondering whether someone at Sotheby’s was in on the prank or whether it was just careless. Purveyors of modern art do consider frames as part of the artwork, so it’s possible that Sotheby’s never thoroughly examined the painting on purpose.
Either way, the self-destructing painting makes a mockery of the commercialization of art. Banksy quotes Picasso: “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”
Given Banksy’s triumph and his legendary status in art world folklore, the only question people are asking now is how much the demolished painting will be worth in the future. Guaranteed the new owner is already there picking up the scraps.
In 1981, Scottish geologist Douglas Dixon wrote a book about what creatures may evolve to look like 50 million years from now post humans. The book entitled entitled After Man, came with drawings of biomorphs to illustrate his vision.
Check out the ‘flunkey’ above, a flying monkey that glides like a squirrel.
Imagine a game of biogeographical musical chairs in which penguins have evolved comb-like beaks to sieve plankton as whales do, rats have replaced the big cats as dominant carnivores, cats swing through the tropical canopy chasing monkeys, and monkeys glide on flaps of skin like flying squirrels. The book’s central idea is convergent evolution: that similar traits arise independently in different species, to perform similar functions in similar environments.
Su Shi, a household name in China, was an 11th-century scholar, statesman, poet, writer, calligrapher and artist, whose painting style has influenced virtually every Chinese painter ever since, according to Kim Yu, Christie’s international senior specialist of Chinese paintings.
He began an “aesthetic revolution” that departed from the highly detailed and meticulous academic Song dynasty works, which required months to complete. Su Shi’s “Wood and Rock” is a simple and spontaneous work created for the artist’s personal pleasure and painted in one sitting, Yu said.
Measuring nearly 11 inches high, and almost 20 inches wide, the original ink-on-paper work depicts a gnarled, leafless tree and a rock behind from which a few young bamboo shoots emerge.
Nigerian-American painter Njideka Akunyili Crosby takes inspiration from her Nigerian roots and combines them into her own millennial experience of America.
The first image above entitled ‘Home: As You See Me’ (2017) showcases objects from her grandmother’s meshed in with Crosby’s own Ikea furniture from her apartment in LA.
Akunyili Crosby became a 2017 McArthur fellow last year. Writes Art.net:
Akunyili Crosby’s paintings of herself, her family, and friends, often relaxing or embracing in their homes and other private spaces, explore cultural hybridity through a welter of references. They contain images of popular Nigerian musicians and beauty queens, ads from fashion magazines, and photographs from family events to situate themes relating to tradition and newness, politics and culture, and urban and rural in buzzing tension. African viewers may be able to immediately decode the images, while they may require some elucidation for the average Western observer.
The plane I had made for Lufthansa already contained 2,000 small images of the same plane. But I wanted to get to a scale that would be comparable to what felt like the beginning of a whole different paradigm. It was the 1980s, when air transportation had truly become global: airports were becoming cities and, while the whole industry was much smaller than today, it suddenly became very clear that the airplane would change the whole world, like the telephone or television had, or the iPhone would.
Like the factories in the 1960s, the airplane had become a source of horror and beauty, a super-horror and a super-beauty. So I made this airplane that is composed of more than one million little airplanes. Each airplane is different from the others; it was all made by hand, by distorting each piece of latex rubber and photographing it, printing it, and applying it as a collage. Your mind can read and understand differences, and realizes that this airplane is made of all these different parts, each unique.
I believe in total individualism, even in the largest mass. Even in billions, everything is singular and unique. Every cell, every atom, they are singular. I think that’s the richness of art, to define this singularity in the mass.