April 2nd, 2019
Pollution Pods (2018) by Michael Pinsky
This first artwork is an installation by Michael Pinsky called Pollution Pods. Pinsky is an internationally acclaimed English artist, with a background in research, activism and urban planning, known for working with a myriad of different media to create innovative, immersive and meaningful works of art.
April 3rd, 2019
Climate Signals (2018) by Justin Brice Guariglia
This second artwork is called Climate Signalsby American artist Justin Brice Guariglia. As an artist, Guariglia almost exclusively concentrates on subjects linked to the environment and climate change in his creations.
April 4th, 2019
The ECOde Project(2019) by Rob Mackay
TheECOde Projectis a collaborative artwork created by British sound artist and composer Rob Mackay. Although Mackay has a musical background, his projects often reach across different disciplines including,‘(…) geology, soundscape ecology, theatre, audiovisual installation work, and human-computer interaction’ .
General Critical Analysis
The three artworks discussed in this blog show how digital tools have helped artists expand their creative craft. These artists arguably haven’t created anything that was necessarily brand new, but have instead combined already existing technologies, objects and ideas to convey their message (Craig, 2014) through interesting artworks that evoke and criticise the current lack of care within society and promote cultures of care for oneself as well as care for one’s environment. King and McCarthy Auriffeille (2009, p.IX) make us understand that is as important as ever by noting that, ‘humans have come to a turning point in terms of our destruction of ecological resources and endangerment of human health’.
Moreover, all mentioned artworks all communicate the message through different human senses. Pollution Pods concentrates more on taste and touch whereas Climate Signals mainly uses sight and the ECOde Project focusses on hearing. This makes us question if the medium that art uses is actually relevant, as artworks manage to convey a message as long as they engage with the human senses in one way or another.
Though all of these artists, with some slight variety on how they portray their views, have the same aim. They want to persuade humans to counter the governing capitalist ideology and consequently adapt behaviours and efforts to saving the planet. Bowles (2013, p.49) explain that capitalism goes against nature by saying that, ‘It is a system premised on the desirability of industrialization with its emphasis on a human-centred, rather than an ecology-centred, view of the world. It is a system which focuses on the use of resources in pursuit of economic growth, assuming that these resources are limitless.’ They encourage society to go against cultural hegemony, against the underlying beliefs and choices that the ruling world powers make, which harm the environment in the name of capitalism. Bates (1975, p.352) explains that, ‘The concept of hegemony is really a very simple one. It means political leadership based on the consent of the led, a consent which is secured by the diffusion and popularization of the world view of the ruling class.’
The artists mentioned in this blog have therefore resisted against the dominating power. Heller (1996, p.78) quotes Foucault stating that, ‘As soon as there is a power relation, there is the possibility of resistance’ By making the public conscious of climate change, artists want to invite them to join the resistance. We could argue that their artworks do raise awareness but have limitations, as none of the artists inform audiences on how to make that change. These artworks can make their spectators worried about their environment whilst simultaneously leaving them in the dark on what needs to be done to save it. Therefore it may be interesting for artists to develop artworks that will either actively fight the cause with aid of the public or inform their audiences on how they can help.
Nevertheless, the discussed artists and the digital artworks they have created do successfully make a stand for certain values that our society needs to implement in order to make a change in the upcoming future.
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Somerset House Official Website (2018). Michael Pinsky: Pollution Pods. [Online]. Available at: https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/michael-pinsky-pollution-pods. [Accessed 19 April 2019].
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