Portents, Catalysts, Barriers and Possibilities in the Development of Digital Sculpture

Hooper, Richard (2017) Portents, Catalysts, Barriers and Possibilities in the Development of Digital Sculpture. TBC. (Accepted for Publication)

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Abstract

Presented at The Fabrication of Art and Beyond: Making and Inventing in Digital Culture. This paper will trace the development of digital sculpture form its origins in the 1960s to the present
day and will relate this development to the contemporary theoretical milieu and how attitudes to
technology and work involving technology and the development of technology itself have served to
moderate the progression of digital sculpture. Such agentive developments, it will be argued, whilst
anticipated by Aristotle, can best be understood by recourse to Rogerian Technological Lag theory
and Jenkinsonian convergence theory. In art historical terms, the paper will provide a re-assessment
of Duchamp’s Readymades arguing that they can be read as a tacit acknowledgement of the
superiority of industrial production where geometric form fabrication is concerned. The paper will
also provide a re-reading of Benjamin’s thesis articulated in his paper The work of art in the age of
mechanical reproduction, arguing that his theory’s focus on re-production rather than simply
production served to cast the machine in a negative light vis a vis artistic production as it over
emphasised the mimetic as opposed to the creative application of technology. The paper will also
explore the significance of Dickie and Danto’s institutional theory and the notion of the Artworld in
regards to digital sculpture and Dixon’s argument that validation of digital work is often brought
about by the late adoption of digital means by established traditional artists rather than by the early
adoption by less well known digital artists.

The paper will conclude with some examples of recent work by the author exploiting CAD/CAM and
CNC mediated sculpture demonstrating that such methodologies can afford the sculptor an
extended material vocabulary (e.g. cast acrylic) and enhanced geometric precision amounting a neo-
precisionist aesthetic. The paper will argue that such capabilities can permit a resumption of
Formalist concerns consistent with Leach’s notion of the Tectonic turn which suffered from mid
century analyses such as Burnham’s Beyond Modern Sculpture and his assessment of sculpture
having reached a point of exhaustion.

Item Type: Book
Keywords: Sculpture, Computers, Fabrication, Minimalism, Cast Acrylic, CNC, Computer Numerically Controlled, CAD, Milling
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Fine and Applied Art (up to 30th April 2018)
Depositing User: Richard Hooper
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2017 15:12
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2017 10:50
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2095

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