A sense of crisis: how artists excel in the age of technology

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 May, 2018, 4:07pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 May, 2018, 4:07pm

Can artists be replaced? The rise of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other technologies has those both in and outside the art world concerned. 

As an artist, I would only fear technology if I feared change. I believe true progress occurs when we embrace change. In the face of fast-paced and radical changes, we must follow our most important internal compass: our sense of crisis.

At age 16, my sense of crisis prompted me to become a carver. To survive in the old Hong Kong, where there were more people than jobs, I knew I had to acquire a skill. 

Technology as an imaginative enemy tells us what we ought to do and do better

Forty-five years have now passed, but the same urgency continues to fuel my drive. My sense of crisis, now a permanent part of my being, reminds me that lingering too long in the garden of old successes bars new seeds from blossoming.

While creativity and craftsmanship remain key, I constantly challenge myself to embrace new technologies. So far, as a jewellery artist and innovator, I have seen more good than bad. 

First, new technologies free up time and space for the artist to focus, by eliminating shallow tasks and repetitive processes. Secondly, the elimination process is a valuable source of inspiration; technology as an imaginative enemy tells us what we ought to do and do better. For instance, form and function are bonding better than ever in jewellery creations.

Our sense of crisis helps us sharpen our focus and anticipate the next obstacle to conquer.

Wallace Chan, Central