I fell in love with ArtPrize my freshman year in college two years ago and have been returning every year since. ArtPrize is held in Grand Rapids and has decidedly put their name on the map for it. With more than 1,550 entries from artists all around the world, they compete not just to have their work displayed but to also have a chance to win $500,000 in prizes including a $200,000 grand prize (Associate Press, 2015). Times have changed and while art in and of itself is still beautiful and unique the ideas that shape it are always changing. One push in that direction is the idea of the use of technology in modern art.
While I was exploring downtown Grand Rapids I honestly could not find a lot of technology used in the art itself. In todays society we rely on the use of technology far to much (I am a victim of this!) and I found it refreshing that the art itself was being displayed naturally rather than electronically. Of course there are always exceptions to these rules and one example would be the art work by Emeko Ikebude titled The Stream. Below is a picture taken by me of his work:
This piece is modern but with hints of technology used in the lights. The little pieces of tech molded into the art is a fine example of using technology but not taking it too far. Art is meant to be explored, looked at with such detail that we can’t help but in someway connect to it. How are we supposed to connect to art when all we want to do is connect to the internet?
Last year ArtPrize introduced a new app that would allow users to vote for their favorite art pieces, give map and directions to pieces of art, stay up to date with news concerning ArtPrize, and a slew of other options to make ArtPrize more user friendly (ArtPrize.org, 2015). This year the app itself while very helpful (I myself was using it to look around) is also what I think is a major hindrance to enjoying the art itself. What’s more proof that we are so reliant on technology that minutes before voting officially began, the ArtPrize website and essentially their app was down due to an outage and people were still going to the website and app to vote never realizing that the app was down in the first place (Kaczmarczyk, 2015). We rely so much on technology it seems that we have such major blind spot to anything past our phone or compute screens.
While I may admit that I dislike the use of technology in art I understand that it will never truly go away but grow instead. The rise of technology is fast-paced and while art itself will always have its unique concepts the use of technology in art will most likely rise. In ArtPrize the uses of technology were small but important and in the art itself what I found while exploring were smaller uses. I also have to take in the fact that I couldn’t see everything and I’m sure their were more pieces with big uses of technology but I was pleasantly surprised with what I found anyway. Technology is on the rise! Beware of computer screens and internet apps!
ArtPrize. (2015). Visiting ArtPrize. ArtPrize. Retrieved from http://www.artprize.org/visit/details
Associated Press. (2015, September 23). 7th Annual ArtPrize Competition Opens in Grand Rapids. Detroit Free Press. Retrieved from http://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/arts/2015/09/23/7th-annual-artprize-competition-opens-grand-rapids/72669522/.
Kaczmarczyk, Jeffrey. (2015, September 23). ArtPrize’s Website Crashes Minutes before Opening of ArtPrize Seven. MLive. Retrieved from http://www.mlive.com/artprize/index.ssf/2015/09/artprizes_website_
Here are some pictures I took while exploring: