Without a doubt, intuition plays and has played a very important role in humanity’s history. Artists have understood and communicated the historical context in which they’ve lived. Art professionals speak of their time’s zeitgeist through works that function as a kind of time capsule, in which traces of what was lived, felt, and thought during certain moments remain. This happens in - and from- art in more accurate ways that which could be registered in newspapers or even history books.
Recently, there have been inventions, discoveries and developments- such as the first spaceship, or the CERN particle collider- which have without a doubt change the course of history, despite the fact that mere mortals don’t have access to them or understand how they work. However, other kinds of technologies are what we’d call disruptive. It makes a reference to those who give economical and massive access, which allows its impact to be drastic, and represent a breakthrough. Good examples would be the electric light bulb, television, photography, film, telephone, and even the toilet. But what happens when these inventions are so many, and so diverse, that they don’t even get to “define a decade” or even a year, considering there’s hundreds of them arising every week? What are the implications of our actual existence in which more devices are connected to the internet than there are living people on the planet? What happens when we find out this information network has the ability to learn by itself and be intuitive, as well? When we understand the transcendence of this we’ll realize progress aren’t just there to better service, but to reconfigure fundamental concepts like money, privacy, and reality itself, to name a few. How do we decide the relevance to the fact that machines today are not only capable of performing a thousand times better, and more precisely than any person, but they can interpret, read, and even predict behaviors and habits, and can influence the decision-making of the people who use them?
It’s because of these questions that today I doubted- or at least since a couple years ago- that our historical context could be understood with the same certainty with which we understand other periods of time. The world is radically different now. We have concepts like Blockchain, artificial intelligence, Big Data, among others, which not only represent a dramatic development in providing certain services, but also an imminent control of our way of thinking, acting, spending, and reacting to our environment. For the first time in history, machines can read entire societies using hyper-detailed information on each individual in databases.
If things truly are the way I’ve described them here, and the task of reflection on the social and historical context depends in huge part to art, then, why have most creators been stuck in academia and yesterday’s issues, unaware of this new reality? Has our new environment taken form so quickly that many haven’t even realized this change? This unrest is exactly the one we explore in this new edition of LARMAGAZINE. It’s because of this reason we want to highlight the work of several artists in this line of work and who have served as reference to many others. By formulating questions, these creators fixate the critical eye to themes relating to the impact disruptive technologies are having on our actual historical context.
We present Stelarc’s work, who graces our cover in this edition, being the first one we’ve ever done in 360º; Amalia Ulman; Leonel Moura; James Bridle; Amy Suo Wu; Mario Klingemann; John Craig; Marija Bozinovska and the collective !Mediengruppe Bitnik. We’ve also included a series of articles and collaborations that delve into these themes, such as Disruptive Technology, The Avant-Gardeness of Avant-Garde Art, by Dr. Michael Betancourt; Disruptive Technologies by Mario García Rico on the work of art collective Astrovandalistas; an interview with Stelarc by curator Gonzalo Ortega especially made for this edition; and The Separation of Money and State, an article on cryptocurrency and how they’ve transformed the concept of money, by our editor Ivonne Ballí.
We recommend prominent exhibitions related to this subject across the world, starting with Bleeding Edge, curated by Michael Barraco at the Houston Valley Center for Contemporary Art; Songs for Sabotage, the fourth Triennale of the New Museum in Nueva York; Hello World- for the Post-Human Age at the Contemporary art Gallery, Art Tower Mito, in Mito, Japan; Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Unstable Presence at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, in Canadá and Tomás Saraceno’s exhibition, A Thermodynamic Imaginary at the Museum Art Architecture Technology, in Lisbon, Portugal.
We hope you enjoy and are disquieted as much as we were when we compiled this edition’s content.
Interactive Cover by Stelarc.