The legacy of the avant-garde

» Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on The legacy of the avant-garde


JC Roca Sans



There is no doubt that in future art will increasingly incorporate more and more new media and technological innovations, which means that the process of hybridization of man and the machine will continue to grow.
We are therefore on the threshold of a radical transformation due, amongst other reasons, to the fusion of genres that technological development entails. Language, visual image and sound are integrated within a trans-media horizon, using computers, video, social networks and the different types of emerging installations, which are a mixture of them all.  And the phenomenon has only just started.



These days the arts register an increasingly more noticeable narrative element, definitely due to the impact caused by the expansion of the new electronic and digital culture. Words and images are used to tell stories.  Bits are also used, as they offer the opportunity to reach new levels in representation and light focus, not only because they can use them to highlight supporting structures such as iron, marble or metacrylic, but also because by removing the digital content, they can turn this information into emotion by playing with contrasts.



A new paradigm of interaction between art and technology is emerging before our eyes.  We post-modern artists, contrary to the avant-garde, have never identified substantial differences between old and new, regarding them and “two sides of the same coin”.

Experiences with the artificial intelligence of the milling machines that feature in the three-dimensional pieces of “The Trap” are clear examples of the fact that, from a philosophical point of view, art and technology share the same ontological space, that of simulation and appearance.  By means of CAD-CAM programmes, I identified sectors where the machines would follow a course, but allowed them the freedom to choose how.

I think that drawing, painting and sculpture are radical forms of human expression in the visual representation field, similar to the significance of poetry in the universe of language.  Therefore these original forms of expression can never disappear, even when fused with technology.  In fact, in the last one hundred and fifty years, the new media support have not cancelled out the old ones, but instead they have influenced each other, and so it continues.



Despite the fact that controversy and innovation are no longer the avant-garde (the trends date back to 1870), quite the contrary, they are academia, representative even, they have become “our” tradition, the aesthetic tradition of modern life.

Some relevant features of the avant-garde are still valid today.  One of them is the concept of a compromise between art and the evolution of mankind.  However, drawing from the emotion of the great ‘tales of emancipation’, the current idea of a project such as Ermóupoli obviously has to be more tangible and circumstantial, linked to the idea of communicating a personal view of life and the eventual transformation of collective consciousness.

Contemporary art is not only characterised by the absence of references, but above all by the love for experimentation, the understanding of the artistic experience as a fragment and as a fusion at different anthropological levels: emotion and concept, fun and seriousness, reason and feeling, order and chaos.
JC Roca Sans