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Between tearing out chords on the guitar, Lucrecia Dalt, a Colombia-born, Barcelona-based musician taps out effects and loops on an iPhone velcroed to her instrument.
The results are an atmospheric, simultaneously classic and electronic style of rock music. Dalt combines spontaneity with record-ready compositions. This flexible art practice does not necessarily surprise: live musicians fill rooms and theatres by responding to the audience or the on-stage whims of an artist. What excites me about Dalt is her use of 21st-century technology. She accompanies her live voice with a looped one, set through any number of filters and techno-gizmos available to her via iPhone, laptop and recording software. When compared with electrifying the guitar, these are small-time wonders, but the comparison is clear: technology continues to change music.
In the ensuing decades, since video art first made an appearance in art galleries in the Sixties, the art world has reacted both for and against technology in the art gallery or museum. Purists call for brushstrokes and singular works. Others have claimed painting is dead or at least close to the grave. Opinions vary, but clearly technology in the arts, just like in music, is winning, causing stirs in the primordial pot and bringing to life new forms of visual expression.
New media artists working today have a seemingly limitless supply of technologies to aid and inspire them. Sure, people are still painting, building and drafting—and may they never stop! But, in the hands of new technology, the borders between what was once considered static and unchangeable continues to fade.
Artists around the world are installing video works that react to and reshape space and particularly buildings; setting the monumental and unmovable in motion. This month, German artist Sebastian Neitsch has created a site-specific video installation for the Goethe Institut that will morph and shapeshift the building’s otherwise austere entrance. Neitsch calls his work ‘Videomapping’, a title that anticipates a visual journey. Video documentation of his similar works installed on buildings suggests that we will walk away from the Goethe Institut with a little wonderment. At the very least, Neitsch’s month-long installation will shed a new light on this sturdy and altogether forgettable building—a nice allusion to the fluid quality of the lives enriched within and surrounding the centre for German language and culture.