Digital Underground

We have reshaped society.

Have you ever thought about all those fun art studio courses you were required to take in grade school? You know, the ones where you spent 50 minutes making a mask or painting a vase. Now, imagine a world where those art classes have evolved into a digital classroom, complete with Photoshop and computer-aided design software. Where learning about the Cubism movement has turned into changing the fill and stroke of an eyeball. It’s safe to say that technology has officially taken over.

We are not the contemporary era. We are the technology movement. It is at this point that a lot of our generation’s artists have grown up with knowledge of Adobe software and the Internet in general. Think about it. Those born after the year 1991 are the first people to witness a world with the World Wide Web. We have turned broad strokes on a canvas into a drag and drop society, in the most awesome way possible. Our generation has welcomed innovation in ways that can either help our environment or provide a cultural influence.

The Museum of Fine Arts in 2009 entitled “We Are The Future,” is a digital exhibit that depicted the rising of the sea from the year 2009 for 100 years. The work was created on a 3-D computer program then animated in line with the Japanese concept of space and painting. The exhibit ran from May 26 until August 12, 2012 in Taiwan, but an online countdown rendition recognizes five years of runtime under its belt.
japanese tech
Random International is another influencer in the realm of art innovation. Founded in 2005 by Florian Ortkrass and Hannes Koch, Random International serves as a collaborative studio for contemporary art that utilizes the theory of innovation and experimental process to create.  Their unique team of software engineers, artists, and designers pride themselves on visualizing content that explores the ambitious mind of man in relation to the world of art and technology as one. Their current exhibit, entitled Rain Room uses art to create an environment that embodies the experience of rainfall. As part of the Hyundai Project: Art + Technology at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Rain Room is currently displayed to explore the unique wedding of art and technology in the 21st century. When inside, what looks like rain stops and visitors are “protected” from the falling rain as if they have the ability to control it. It is conceptual artworks like these that continually push the envelope for culture as we know it. The exhibit is currently running at LACMA until June 6, 2016.
rain room
Teamlab has also collaborated with big names in fashion and art such as retail shop Opening Ceremony. In 2014, they worked together to create signage that depicted “spatial calligraphy,” or text that suspends from mid-air using digital software.  This 3-dimensional entrance wall, located in the Osaka, Japan store raises the bar for the rising culture that is technology.
opening ceremony pic
In the fashion retail space, there has been seemingly little innovation in the fashion front. However, modern shoe brands like Adidas and Nike don’t hesitate to go to the next level. Created in lieu of the 2015 World Athletic Championships in Beijing, China, design studio COORDINATION ASIA transformed an art gallery to showcase the Nike Holiday 2015 collection by creating a highly interactive NIKE studio. The studio was created using light and transparency studies that are displayed in a 1,200 square foot space. In addition to the elaborate product displays and unique art elements, the studio also created a training space to combine art with fitness.
Adidas was no different. Their technological advancement is directly influenced by innovation in the fashion space. Adidas is currently working on a 3-D printing concept with Materialise, a known pioneer in 3-D printing, that builds a mid-sole based upon the contours and pressure points of the wearer’s foot. The “Futurecraft” series by Adidas is a prototype that combines craftsmanship with fashion production, all while contributing to the concept of innovation and forward-thinking in fashion. In the next few months, Adidas will unveil new innovations with the Futurecraft series.
adidas futurecraft
Image courtesy: mediahawkz
Culture is a force that drives the world of art and technology to philosophical means when explored systematically. When Ukrainian performance artist Oleg Kulik and philosopher Dmitry Volkov joined forces with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, something spectacular happened. These two visionaries produced OraculeTang, an interactive visual art installation that featured a primate with seemingly all the answers. If asked, the caged “animal” speaks on everything from God to life and everyday wisdom.  The installation was featured first at Burning Man festival in Nevada, and then moved to the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s New Wave Art exhibit in October. The exhibit was open to the public up until December 20th 2015.
With even the 2016 Met Gala being technology themed under the name “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology,” we can observe it being nearly inevitable to dismiss the idea of technology being the forefront of art, new ideas, and more importantly, culture.
Culture is exploring and living the inevitable. It seems to drive people everywhere to produce these beautiful works of art – whether its through self-lacing shoes, an exhibit, or re-creating Basquiat pieces on your SnapStory. We have to leave it up to our younger counterparts to determine what’s next in innovation. Who knows? Maybe one day we might have design software for our phones or digital art exhibits. Oh, wait…that’s already happened.

The future is now.


Words: J. Markell Cole

Written by Dairia Kymber, MA Fashion Journalism; originally posted on Idealistmag.

This content was produced by Academy of Art University MA Fashion Journalism students as part of their Fashion Journalism coursework.