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                                      "New technologies alter the structure of our interests…the things we think about.

                                       They alter the character of our symbols…the things we think with.

                                       And they alter the nature of community…the arena in which thought develops."

                                                                                                                                                                  Neil Postman

 

We -humanity- are in the process of becoming something new as a culture. On the cusp of a new millennium we find ourselves standing within a maze of crossroads…these crossroads mark a point of discontinuity between the past and the future. Artists, scientists, philosophers, theologians, etc…find themselves contemplating the shift from reason-based logic to chaos-based logic and the impact of developing technologies on the human condition. There’s no denying that we are in the midst of a technological revolution and a digital awakening…inadvertently we are now both art and artists engaged in designing and re-defining a future for ourselves and generations to come. Different forms of technology have their own characteristic voices…each has a variety of nuances and potentialities for artists to explore. As a creator and an interactive being my explorations and use of technology parallel the post-modernist views of the diversity and changeability of society; however as more and more artists explore the applications of technology within various disciplines art I believe a movement leading past post modernism will begin to materialize.

 

It’s critical for artists to recognize and understand that emergent technologies are not only redefining the world we live in but how "art" is created, produced, defined, criticized and valued. Throughout history artistic vision has been shaped and redefined through interaction with the world of the present…therefore I ask, At this point in time, what better medium is there for an artist to explore than computing?  Computing has become a creative medium for artists in every discipline…to me this is very exciting! Within academic institutions technology labs have become bridges for interdisciplinary explorations and collaborative works…scientists, artists, engineers, anthropologists, philosophers can once again work side by side, ultimately benefiting from one anothers’ expertise, insights and experiences.

 

I’m presently exploring two distinct artistic venues within the CAD-CAM-RP environment. I see both as viable and exciting vehicles for my creative expression; though, their intent, function and tangible existence are seemingly dichotomous. My first area of exploration explores the aesthetic beauty and creation of unique three-dimensional wearable objects. My motivation stems from my passion for and fascination of the human body; primarily how three-dimensional forms accentuate, define and interact with our bodies. I’m also intrigued by the primal need to define who and what we are through the intimacy of personal adornment and how I as an artist can bring "real" meaning back into this ritualistic experience. I always work within a series so my aesthetic choices and visual references are continually evolving within the forms and functions of these objects. I’m striving to create a formal visual language that speaks about the integral aspects of the environment of creation, the process of production and the modalities of wearable art in a culture permeated with a paramount need to conform to the latest "designer" fad. My intent, as an artist, is to systematically break into the reigning conformist mentality with timeless objects that celebrate and enrich the autonomy of individual and group expression. The virtual object is essential to the developmental progression of these objects however wearability and tangibility, via rapid prototyping technology, is the ultimate goal of this work.

 

My second area of focus is a direct manifestation of my M.F.A. technical research project. The primary focus of this work is to transcend the essence of humanity and the ephemeral qualities of life…within this realm my fundamental artistic interest is the need to inspire new modalities of discovering, representing and engaging disparate generations. The relationships we cultivate throughout life are extremely important to me; through life we embed oursevles onto others through death we realize just how valuable others have been to our lives. The cyclical and paradoxical nature of our existence is explored through a series of mourning masks, identity masks, death portraits, and ceremonial ash reliquaries. By utilizing the process of Reverse Engineering I’m able to get three-dimensional digital files of laser scanned heads. After taking these scans through a series of post-processing programs I’m able to convert the original output data (point cloud) into a format that’s compatible with my 3D modeling software. I’m then able to directly build the three-dimensional masks on to the heads; thus, mutating and integrating the new visual data with the scanned data. My intent throughout this body of work is to fully explore virtuality and sculptural tangibility. The advantage of working in the virtual environment is that I can push my aesthetics, my ideas, materials, forms, etc…past the limits of physicality and known reality, ultimately expanding and challenging not only my creative vision but also the nature of our existence. I want to communicate that the virtual object is not only a valid form of artistic expression but inextricably tied to the evolution of computing as a vital medium of the next century. Tangibility is another issue of concern for me; through CAD and Rapid Manufacturing processes I hope to create meaningful objects that push the limits of our pre-conceived notions of art and humanity in technology driven societies.

 

                                                                                           Kimberly A. Voigt

                                                                               May 1999

 

 

 

 

 

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