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Towards hybrid disciplines in a postdigital world Reflection on the future of art, science and tech in arts education by Isjah Koppejan

The Golden Orb Weaver is a tropical spider which weaves its web with a unique material – stronger than steel, more elastic than nylon and a better conductor than copper. Sparked off by a scientific article and her own imagination, artist Jalila Essaïdi discovered new applications for this startling spider silk. Together with the Forensic Genomics Consortium Netherlands she developed a piece of bulletproof skin. “Innovation takes place when you look at something from different angels. I want Bulletproof Skin to show that more is possible than you realise and to provoke discussion of how far we are prepared to go.” She calls herself a hybrid artist: “I’m used to thinking beyond my own field”. [1] Essaidi is founder of BioArt Laboratories where artists can experiment with bio-based materials. This initiative, driven by the dramatically increased progress in biotechnology, aims to make this progress and its implications ‘the collective responsibility of society’ [2]. In the 21st century, a new form of creativity seems to be surfacing. Driven not only by the ongoing developments in material technology, but also by the rise of digital fabrication. In our postdigital world, artists and designers use these advanced means to create artistic expressions never before thought possible. Recently, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York has been examining trends in contemporary digital design and fabrication with the exhibition and accompanying book Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital. Although the book and exhibition have a highly sculptural approach it shows that digital technologies enable art and design to infiltrate the boundaries of different disciplines and is changing its relationship to materiality and craftsmanship. This takes place at the start of the exhibition demonstrated by a self-portrait by the artist Richard Dupont: a nude male figure with melty, deformed contours, a sculpture that looks more like a refection in a distorting mirror. Dupont has had his entire body scanned and ran the data through digital modelling programs. It’s made with computer assistance at almost every stage, from the design right through to the fabrication process, like digital milling and rapid prototyping. Another more radical and disruptive example is the work Ob-


AR[t] 5  

AR[t] issue 5 | May 2014 | AR Lab magazine

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