Faster than thought....

2 December 2016

Skinder Hundal speaks at the Korea-UK Arts and Culture Conference on 1 Dec 2016, about the role digital technologies have played at New Art Exchange – helping to reinvent arts and cultural production processes, awakening hidden concepts and reawakening meanings, helping to provide deeper and wider engagement of audiences, challenging art disciplines.

Here he focusses on a pioneering action research project Culture Cloud amongst other examples where technology platforms have, through viral multiplication, raised the ambition, appetite - giving birth to new opportunities, contexts, aesthetics and ways of being.

 

INTRODUCTION – the digital conundrum....

My Father once asked me what is faster than light? The answer was 'Thought'.
Today when I ask a new generation of young people, what is faster than thought? They say 'Light'...

Their light (and possibly our light) is of course the light emitting pollution from Apple smart phones or Samsung tablets as they click through to a multitude of worlds experiencing what they want – whenever they want... at unacceptable speeds of distraction.

Of course scientifically, 'thought' remains the Usain Bolt of speed defying lightning strikes of spectrum rays born from our galactic star that gives us life....

In reality we are in an age of 'fast food information' and our behaviours, mind-sets and thought patterns are shifting dramatically – a fictional example of this is the future portrayed in the Netflix series - Black Mirror by Charlie Brooker. As distressing and entertaining this series is, I feel we are actually not far off from such fiction as the pressure to fast track solutions and opportunities spirals.

Digital technology is becoming so embedded in the physical sense, the word 'digital' as a specific strand or genre itself is becoming obsolete due to the multitude of portals or applications that consume and subsume our time... digital technology has become our oxygen - as vital as the air we breathe it seems.

We can reject it of course, but the majority don't... we can't and probably we shouldn't if we need to survive, exist and grow our respective art ecologies.

As we embrace technology, the digital realm, - it should and needs to be on our terms - not mould us into the machines or for it to control our fastest and deeper asset – 'thought' and 'consciousness' ... or we will be simply become sociopathic, motherboards programmed by software solutions into conditioned versions of humanoid version 2.0 or even 3.0.

In the end we are humans we have feelings - consciousness - memory – desires to improve the here and now, perhaps an over obsession with the future and then a nostalgia or depression about the past...

In an age that leans to trans-humanism perhaps, growing artificial intelligence, robots and an obsession to portray and constantly share our lives through social media we are redefining how we consume life... consume art and our cultural episodes - and more interestingly how we behave and think...

Society is in an age of apparently limitless information operating within a modern psychology of clicks, likes and rejects... We artificially refine and define our self and our understanding of the other through an uninterrupted burst of short cut manoeuvres carried out in social media and gadget driven addictions...

Increasingly we gravitate towards our niche desires, our choices are extensive yet limiting portals, we are 'alone together' as we design our knowledge and information consumption - seek our bespoke news, our entertainment, accepting and rejecting friends... as we click furiously in this frenzied addiction, trivialising the presence and meaning of our time as our numbed fingers swipe away on our intergalactic screen portals offering much breadth yet limited depth.

The paradigm of thought and consciousness has been distorted into an on-demand culture fulfilling wants, needs and fantasies... be that online shopping, love or lust.

How do we as art organisations, artists, curators and policy makers respond to these shifting behaviours and values in a world where 'light' supersedes 'thought'....

Are we as arts organisations become blind in this virtual world of infinite light portals that compete and reshape our neurological capacities? – how do we reinvent to create a new multi-three-dimensional vision that stays relevant in this forever changing and complex age of man, robot and the virtual vortex?

Are we at a tipping point for an apocalyptic dreamed reality? At the cost of living our actual lives within the bounds of time and physical space, missing real connections and sacrificing development of our human impulses and realities in favour of the fabricated ?

So we live in a fast paced, short cut world of uncertainty with superficial and shifting loyalties
... tbc....

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the financial support new art exchange has received from our funders and partners.

Supported by

Logos for; Arts Council England, Nottingham City Council

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Logos for; Nottingham City Council, East Midlands Development Agency, Neighbourhood Development Company, European Regional Development Fund, Greater Nottingham Partnership, Arts Council England