Technology and the contemplation of art Contemplating the work of art using the HIPS technology

Author: Venkatachalam, Shilpa

Source: Journal of Visual Art Practice, Volume 3, Number 3, 1 December 2004 , pp. 179-194(16)

Publisher: Intellect

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This paper studies the role of the spectator viewing a work of art in a museum, using a technology called Hyper Interaction within Physical Space (HIPS). It will give a brief overview of how the technology works and what it can mean for the role of the viewer of an artwork. HIPS as an information system is as yet under consolidation and has not been fully implemented. Various potential applications are still under consideration. Hence this paper analyses very specifically what the implications of an information flow such as the one offered by a technology like the HIPS, regarding the work of art being viewed, might be for the art viewer. In an attempt to study what is entailed in an act of contemplation I will undertake a reading of an essay by Rudolf Arnheim in which he discusses the implications of certain Gestalt experiments conducted by a Japanese psychologist, Hitoshi Sakurabayashi. I will also undertake a study of Martin Heidegger’s The Origin of the Work of Art in an attempt to understand what Heidegger defines as a work of art and how art must be viewed according to him. These essays will be examined in conjunction with specific artists and their views on contemplation. This essay will then tackle questions regarding what happens to a work of art when viewed with the help of a technology like HIPS: does the role of the viewer undergo a change? Whether, in fact, the notion of contemplation as understood by Heidegger and Arnheim does not hold when using the HIPS? And finally, how can art be understood within this changed context? Art in this essay refers specifically to painting.

Keywords: Arnheim; Heidegger; art; contemplation; spectator; technology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Nottingham

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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  • The domain of visual art hosts a multitude of artistic forms and practices. The Journal of Visual Art Practice supports research across the entire range of this varied field. The journal engages with the progressive nature of the subject, reflecting upon the changing terrain of art in recent years.
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