Chapter 1 Reading Response

Hertzian Tales, Ch 1

The Electronic as Post-Optimal Object

  It's interesting to me how Dunne delves into the relationship technology has to human culture. By breaking down the myriad ways we create and use technology, the entrance of tech as art object becomes more reasonable. Technology is an extension of simple tools, so therefore it is both implement and objective of the creative process.
  Artists throughout history have insisted on using the most up-to-date techniques and tools to give them an edge - why would this exclude the digital age? Technology has become more advanced, and certainly our relationship has gotten a lot closer to it, but a result of that has has created new dialogues, which is what Dunne is getting at. Semiotics are semiotics, and tech is not excluded. In fact, the semiotics of technology are more varied than that of simple tools and more traditional approaches to art. We have to take into consideration how phones and social media augment reality, the storing and sharing of information, the connection and moreover disconnection technology has to human life objectively, the aesthetics of tech and how it is presented and used, the fact that we use these magical cubes and screens of which we have no idea, generally, how they operate and influence our lives.
  Art historians basically can't keep up with the digital age. Curation, art placement, communication between makers, organization, documentation - all of these things have changed dramatically from the traditions we have set down, so why not the making process itself?
  Most strikingly, Dunne makes a point to link tech to the commercial realm, because most tech we use as humans are consumer objects. This brings up the experience of tech being a semiotic device beyond its function, best exhibited by Daniel Weil's "Radio In a Bag" (1983). The tech is essentially un-consumable, but comments on designer culture as well as that of the consumer. With this in mind, the "tech as art object" gains more dimensions beyond simple conceptual or visual basis, it is cumulative of previous dialogues and new ones in the same stroke.


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