Machine Art in the Twentieth Century

Published on September 2nd, 2017


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Booklaunch of 'Machine Art in the Twentieth Century', written by the renowned art historian and curator Andreas Broeckmann and published by the MIT Press. Featuring performances by JODI and Jan-Kees van Kampen, this event is part of a series taking place in conjunction with V2_’s 35th anniversary.

V2_ Booklaunch of Machine Art in the Twentieth Century by Andreas Broeckmann

Rotterdam, Wednesday 27 September at 20:00–22:30

Booklaunch of ‘Machine Art in the Twentieth Century’, written by the renowned art historian and curator Andreas Broeckmann and published by the MIT Press. Featuring performances by JODI and Jan-Kees van Kampen, this event is part of a series taking place in conjunction with V2_’s 35th anniversary.


Broeckmann’s lecture on Machine Art in the Twentieth Century will be preceded by a brief introduction by V2_ director Alex Adriaansens and followed by responses from theorists Rick Dolphijn and Eric Kluitenberg. The evening will be moderated by Annet Dekker and will conclude with performances by JODI and Jan-Kees van Kampen.

“Machine art” is neither a movement nor a genre; rather, the term encompasses diverse ways in which artists engage with technical systems. In this book, Andreas Broeckmann examines a variety of twentieth- and early twenty-first-century artworks that articulate people’s relationships with machines. In the course of his investigation, Broeckmann traces historical lineages that connect art from different periods, looking for continuities that link works from the end of the century[LM1] to developments in the 1950s and 1960s and to works by avant-garde artists in the 1910s and 1920s. An art-historical perspective, he argues, might change our views of recent works that seem to be driven by new media technologies but that in fact continue a century-old artistic exploration.

Broeckmann investigates critical aspects of machine aesthetics that characterized machine art until the 1960s and then turns to specific domains of artistic engagement with technology: algorithms and machine autonomy, looking in particular at the work of the Canadian artist David Rokeby; vision and image and the advent of technical imaging; and the human body, using the work of the Australian artist Stelarc as an entry point to art that couples the machine to the body mechanically or cybernetically. Finally, Broeckmann argues that systems thinking and ecology have caused a fundamental shift in the meaning of technology, which has brought with it a rethinking of human subjectivity. He examines a range of artworks, including those of the Japanese artist Seiko Mikami, whose work exemplifies the shift. Many of the artists reflected upon in this book have been part of V2_’s productions over the past 35 years.

 

V2_, Lab for the Unstable Media is an interdisciplinary center for art and media technology in Rotterdam.

 

image credit: Jan-Kees van Kampen


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