Medieval Bodies and Art as hypothetical exploration

Throughout my work there has been a degree of imaginative futuristic prediction. This is because my work focuses on what future A.I. could look like and my own interpretation. This is similar to what Art Historian Jack Hartnell in his book ‘Medieval Bodies’ calls the “hypothetical  Artistic exploration”, using art to predict and explain an unexplored or misunderstood topic but creating work which though inaccurate provides a sense of understanding of the potential an object or idea may have. Though he applies this to the human body and how Medieval people saw the body, it’s an idea that can be applied to anything especially technology.

As my work has developed a natural more anatomical aesthetic as opposed to a mechanical one like my work in first year, I have explored a number of books that look at anatomy to get ideas of how I can distort and change the appearance of organic structures to create fine art. The brains I have created do not look exactly like brains, especially not human ones, they are more alien like. Yet they are still readable as brains because they contain key features such as a clear left side and right side as well as divided sections and wrinkles. Beyond this I can mess with their anatomy and make them stranger and stranger and not worry that their readability as brains disappears. It is important that they can be seen to be brains as my idea of A.I. revolves around humans creating artificial intelligence through synthetic means and mirroring what humans are themselves.

I guess a shorter simpler version of this idea would be, that humans seek to create what is familiar to them and what they understand as ‘intelligence’ and for us that is the human brain. Or at least the brain is the shell and icon of what we think about when it comes to considering intellect of smartness. Brains are often used as symbols of intelligence and that is why I have chosen to make my A.I brain shapes as opposed to a cylinder or robotic cubes such as ‘Hal’ from ‘2001 a Space Odyssey’.

Hartnell’s ideas of hypothetical artistic exploration refer to how medieval artists drew the insides of the body because they didn’t know what they actually looked like beyond basic form, I am doing the same with A.I. by taking that idea of basic form and essentially making up the rest due to the lack of information I possess. As an artist I seek to show people a vision of the future even if this vision is dystopian/ idealistic/ incorrect.

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