The Technological Sublime @ Pazo Fine Arts

Mike Zahn continues to brilliantly reassess the implications of the complicated legacy of late Modernist abstraction for this new show @ Pazo Fine Arts.

“These three artists [Rockne Krebs, Beverly Fishman and Ruth Pastine] each calibrate finely-tuned qualities of light and space through their unique approaches to the dynamics of media and spectatorship. This may place their work adjacent to what is held as the “technological sublime”, a contemporary premise derived from eighteenth-century philosophical musings on the awesome forces of nature. Transfers of power from the theological to the secular, or the divine to the human, uprooted authentic experience and subjected it to instrumental challenges from all sides. This is, in short, the history of modernity.” [Mike Zahn “The Technological Sublime” PR for the show]

“What The Technological Sublime seems to propose in bringing together these disparate artists’ work extends well beyond a conventional validation of Krebs’ ideas within a plausibly updated context. Conjuring a society where the trappings of futuristic technology are all but inescapable, both Pastine and Fishman are plugged into our present-day digital maelstrom in a way that Krebs could have only imagined, which is why their very different styles share a marked degree of ambivalence, in the form of either a critical entanglement with, or a visual refuge from, this tech-centric world-view.” [Dan Cameron “THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE” from the forthcoming catalog for the Technological Sublime]

The computer in particular discloses a whole new range of sublime experiences. In a world in which the computer has become the dominant technology, everything – genes, books, organizations – becomes a relational database. Databases are onto-logical machines that transform everything into a collection of (re)combinatory elements. As such, the database also transforms our experience of the sublime, and the sublime as such.”
“…this explains why enthusiasm for the technological sublime has transformed into fear in the course of the twentieth century. This is also why it is often said, in relation to such sublime technologies, that we ‘shouldn’t play God.’ At the same time, twenty-first century man has been denied the choice to not be technological. The biotope in which we used to live has been transformed, in this (post)modern age, into a technotope.” [Jos De Mul The Technological Sublime]

One Comment

  • Martin Mugar

    Interesting that there is no irony nor postmodern edge to this work. It is a healthy retreat into notions of the modernist sublime that that were suppressed by the noise surrounding the Zombie phenomena. Peter Halley made claims for his work being energized by technology when in fact the essence of technology is the sublime. In this blog a friend praised the route of play that is a lot of funk that I briefly touched on. The critical community should be sympathetic to this regrounding of abstraction

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