Art &Technology

A History of Style, Attitude and Technique in Artistic Movements
- Creative Use of Technology


"Techné", the Greek word for skills, was applied to engineering skills as well as to artistic skills. At that time art and technology were not separated and only later on in European history, a separation between art and technology was set up. As a consequence art and engineering became two separate occupations with different socological contexts to be placed in. It was Edgar Snow, who described the separation into two fileds in his book "Two Cultures". Snow complained about the lost link between Creative Technology and the Arts. Ever since Snow published his thesis, many things happened, which lead towards an understanding that art and technology might be overlapping activities, that artist need to use technology and that technological research often relies on artistic creativity.

The old German proverb "Schuster bleib bei Deinem Leisten!" obviously refers to a sociological setup, where distincitons between professional boundaries have to be respected. The proverb's iideological background which tries to keep the walls in between disciplines up, can easily be translated ifrom its literall English meaning: "If you are a shoemaker, stick to making shoes!" to a more general statement: "Don't cross over to other disciplines, don"t mix up technology with art."

There is a history of musicians achieving interesting results in nonmusical fields as there is of artists from non-musical artforms arriving at astounding ideas in the field of music and sound design. Taking the oeuvre of artists like Yoko Ono, Marcel Duchamp, Arnold Schönberg or Brian Eno to name just a few, one could even arrive at the question whether there is such a thing as artistic disciplines. The works presented on this webpage try to present a number of creative men and women, who were not afraid of crossing the borders.

It would certainly be most consistent in the sense of a non-hierarchical approach with the aim of destroying borders and tearing down the walls between fields of classification if I avoided historic borderlines as well as disciplinary ones. This would make sense because there is a number of works of art which can easily be disputed to belong to a specific one of the historical groupings or belong to none of them at all. Keeping this in mind and accepting that authors or works might belong to many different classificatory folders, I put them in one of them for pragmatic reasons. I would therefore like you to consider the rows in the table underneath to have soft borders, fuzzy borders or no borders at all.

Futurism 1909 - 1930ies Marinetti, Russolo, Kruchenykh, Khlebnikov, Avraamov
Dada 1916 - 1930ies Schwitters, Arp, Tzara, Hausmann, Höch
Fluxus 1958 - 1970ies Kaprow, Brecht, La Monte Young, Cage, Paik
Pop 1957 - 80ies Warhol, Eno, Ono, Gabriel, Anderson
Kinetic Art 1958 - 70ies Schoeffer, Vogel, Piene
Electronic Art 1958 - 80ies Watts, Cage, Lucier, Neuhaus, Paik
Happening 1959 - 1970 ies Kaprow, Beuys, Liechtenstein
Aktionismus 1960ies Brus, Mühl, Nitsch, Schwarzkogler, Export
Digital Art 1964 - now Whitney, Knowlton, Hoberman, Weibel, Shaw

Telematic Art, Web Art

1970ies - now Ascott, Foresta, Fontana, Sermon, Knowbotic Research, Stensley and Wolford
Sound Art   Neuhaus, Lucier, Leitner, Fontana, Zhen
Space Art 1970ies - now Piene, Kriesche
Game Art 1999 - now Arcangel, Morgana, McFlanagan, Ludic Society, Moswitzer, Jahrmann, Fuchs, Rumbke

Fig. Table of selected artistic movements since the beginning of the 20th century