Art and Technology: An Old Tension

Anthony O'hear
University of Buckingham
This is not the first time the title ‘Art and Technology’ has been used, but to distinguish what I have to say from Walter Gropius's Bauhaus exhibition of 1923, I am subtitling my paper ‘an old tension’, where the architect spoke of ‘a new unity’. In a way, Gropius has been proved right; the structures of the future avoiding all romantic embellishment and whimsy, the cathedrals of socialism, the corporate planning of comprehensive Utopian designs have all gone up and some come down. We have a mass media culture also largely made possible by technology. Corporatist architecture, whether statist ‘social housing’ or freemarket inspired, films, videos, modern recording and musical techniques are all due to technological advances made mostly this century. Only in a very puritanical sense could what has happened be thought of as inevitably bringing with it enslavement. All kinds of possibilities are now open to artists and architects, which would have been imaginable a few decades ago. No one is forced to use these possibilities in any specific way
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DOI 10.1017/S1358246100007335
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