How do developments in hybrid art affect the perception of the human-technology relationship?
Debates in science and technology studies suggest that our understanding of the human–technology relationship is in crisis. There are those who argue that developments in prosthetics and human augmentation will benefit humanity. While others argue that such developments will lead us into technological oblivion. These discussions are not confined to the fields of science and technology. Artists make works that address the human–technology relationship, claiming that their artworks affect how audiences perceive it. But little research has been conducted into how such artworks affect the audience’s perceptions of the human–technology relationship. This research project focuses on ‘hybrid art’, which is defined by its transdisciplinary approach to making art that addresses the human–technology relationship. It surveys several notable hybrid artworks and describes the reported impact they have had on their audiences’ perceptions of the human–technology relationship. Many of these reports suggest that the audiences of these works experienced a blurring of the perceived boundary between the virtual and the real. This phenomenon has been further investigated in this research by studying audience responses to hybrid artworks created by the author. These artworks provided a case study for gathering and evaluating empirical data to test the hypothesis that hybrid artworks affect audience’s perceptions of the human–technology relationship. The data was gathered using a technique, which takes snapshots of an audience’s perceptions of the human–technology relationship before and after viewing a hybrid art installation. The study showed that in an overwhelming number of cases the artworks had affected the audience’s perceptions of the human–technology relationship. By revealing that hybrid artworks affect viewers’ perceptions of the human–technology relationship, the research suggests that artworks can play a significant role in shaping our understanding of the human–technology relationship, and perhaps what it means to be human.
- School of Art and Design