The familiar unfamiliar: digital art and the sense of “technology-being-with-us”

2017-05-17T05:47:49Z (GMT) by Hwang, In Dae
Digital technologies pervade contemporary life, so much so that the boundary between the physical and virtual world has become increasingly blurred as digital technologies are embedded “seamlessly” into our constructed environment. Our awareness of the presence and tangible qualities of computational systems disappears, as these technologies are rendered inseparable from physical reality. This phenomenon is a direct consequence of Ubiquitous Computing, or UbiComp. In this study, I investigate UbiComp and other related technologies, such as electronic sensors, camera vision and radio frequency ID, with a view to creating a body of creative work that elicits in viewers an awareness, or sense of “technology-beingwith-us”. The study is undertaken through the lens of my Korean cultural background, as in Korean culture, symbolic rituals and objects are used to evoke a sense of connection between immediate, physical presence and other realities, including the spiritual. In this sense, the artworks produced as part of the studio investigations are cultural probes that investigate our relationship with computational systems through instilling a sense of "technology-being-withus" in UbiComp. In the accompanying exegesis, I will document three artworks that were conceived and developed as a series of creative responses to my studio research. This document will also elaborate on my position on how a sense of “technology-being-with-us” can be identified with digital art. In particular, I will address the use, application, and critique of a subset of technologies related to ubiquitous computing; the modes of interaction associated with these technologies; and discuss Device Art and its influence on my artmaking practice.