Architecture as art in the digital age

By Alice Cheung, My ArchiSchool

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By Alice Cheung, My ArchiSchool |

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We often hear that we are living in the digital age, with the evidence of that seen in everything from electronic payment systems to latest cameras and devices. The power of technology and the availability of data will certainly continue to change the world  around us. But sometimes we have to stop and ask where all these developments are leading and what they will mean for our children in the decades ahead. 

As an architect, I’m always on the lookout for new technology and what it can do, as well as for new art forms it may help to inspire. Therefore, when I heard from the Design Society in Shenzhen about their new exhibition on “40 Years of Humanising Technology”, I was immediately interested and impressed.

Modified Paradise - Dress AnotherFarm & Sputniko!
Photo: Design Society, Shenzhen

It features digital artworks by 30 artists, in which artificial intelligence and more traditional design elements are brought together to create an interactive experience that will give audience members a whole new understanding of what’s possible in the realm of art. Some of the items on show are animated; others challenge viewers to come up with their own interpretations. But all somehow add to Shenzhen’s status as China’s “City of Design”. 

The exhibition is open to the public from November 2, 2019 to February 16, 2020 at the Sea World Culture and Arts Center in Nanshan, Shenzhen, and I would certainly recommend a visit. 

Wall of Gazes Mariano Sardón (AR) & Mariano Sigman (AR)
Photo: Design Society, Shenzhen

With the help of technology, the artists involved have been able to express themselves through visual media, making full use of the concepts of movement and time. For instance, one exhibit shows human faces and, at the same tine, tracks the movement of the eyes and where they focus. This movement is a constituent part of the artworks and gives an indication of the physical effects that follow as someone changes their mind. 

For architects, seeing such an exhibition makes it clear that the technology to open up more design opportunities and more art forms is on the way - and that is something we should learn to embrace. By doing that, we can break new ground, while contributing more to our clients and to the standing of the profession.  

Students from My Archischool’s and their parents undertook an architectural study tour to the exhibition on November 17. They are sure to bring back stories, ideas, information, and new sources of inspiration. 


 Participating Artists:
Nelo Akamatsu, Refik Anadol,  AnotherFarm & Sputniko!, Chen Baoyang, Kate Crawford, Deng  Biwen, Akinori Goto, Ai Hasegawa, He Xiaodong, Jiang Zhuyun, Vladan Joler,  Bjørn Karmann, Toby Kiers, Tore Knudsen, Liu Wa, Long  XingruIsaac Montéonformative, Qiu  Siyao, Qiu Zhijie, Quadrature,  QuayolaAnna Ridler, Mariano  Sardón, Mariano Sigman, Universal Everything, Wu  JuehuiXia Yubing

Guidance: Nanshan District Publicity Department of Shenzhen Municipal Committee of the CPC,  Zhaoshang Sub-district Office of Shenzhen Nanshan District, China Merchants Culture Industry

Organiser: Design Society, Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria)

Official Website:!Humanizing-Technology

Edited by John Cremer

My ArchiSchool is an education institute that introduces the skills and knowledge needed to explore a career in architecture. For class enrollment or educational activities/ exhibitions, please contact Cathy Ng at [email protected] or (+852) 9613 1137.