I recently heard of a fascinating new exhibition which turns Instagram posts into art. It inspired me to talk about how technology is fast becoming the ultimate form of self-expression here on the Htet Tayza blog this week.
Technology has changed our society so completely that it would be unrecognisable to somebody who lived a hundred years ago. Once upon a time technology was for the elite; out of reach and untouchable to the masses. Now, we use technology for absolutely everything, even the most basic things like finding somewhere to eat or navigating our way around town.
Yet I think the biggest impact of the technological revolution that has washed over the world throughout the last few decades is the way it’s changed attitudes and opened society up. Take the television. This one invention has given people the information they need to debate some of society’s biggest, most controversial issues; discussions many would have never dreamed of holding before the modern era.
Technology as art
Art is a key example of this. For centuries the artistic disciplines were extraordinarily rigid. They were dominated by traditional art forms such as painting, sketching and sculpture. Yet the social revolution that accompanied the technological revolution of the modern era has consigned these rules to the scrapyard of history. In art today there are no rules; even an unmade bed can be art.
It’s gotten to the point where even technology itself can be art and it’s having a big impact. I remember when fashion designer Elie Tahari announced his “iPhone dress” for spring 2015 fashion week. This techno fabric-creation was the ultimate wearable tech and it really made us realise that technology is so much more than we realised it ever could be.
This was recently brought home to me by the “New Portraits” exhibition that was held as a part of the Frieze Art Fair in New York. The Washington Post reported that the exhibition was created by painter and photographer Richard Prince.
What he did was fascinating; he posted blown up screen shots of other people’s Instagram photos without asking their permission. The Post seemed to suggest that this was Prince’s way of exploring the complex issue of copyright law that has become such a big problem in the US and around the world with the onset of the era of pop culture.
Explore the issues of the day
That’s why this exhibition reminded me that technology, in its own way, is self-expression personified. Today we use technology as past artists used a paint brush and easel to explore the most taxing issues of the day. We use it to express ourselves, make a stand and drive an argument home. Technology is so much more than a tool we use to make our lives better; more and more it’s coming to act as the ultimate form of self-expression.