In the current exhibition at the Queensland University of Technology Art Museum, there are no brushstrokes to be seen except for the metaphorical ones of memory. Welcome to the art of the twenty–first century.
How appropriate that an institution that has the word technology in its name should be hosting this captivating exhibition. We have been living in the age of technology since the invention of fire and the wheel, but it was the invention of electricity which saw the human race invent technology way beyond the wild imaginings of our cave dwelling ancestors.
The artists in this exhibition have capitalised on some common pieces of technology to stimulate our memories to assist us in appreciating their works of very modern art. It is not only the most up-to-date technologies used by the artists, but also imaginative uses of "old technology".
Michael Candy, for instance, plays around with Frank, a Frankenstein of a camera made of bits and pieces of photographic paraphernalia. The images created with this combination of obsolescent equipment would be envied by any Instagram practitioner with an artistic bone in their body.
Put an old LP record on a turntable, and the expectation is an earful of music, from Mozart to Metallica. With Heavy nothing (iteration), Lawrence English demands the audience listen to his records, as opposed to hear them. As the consistently grooved records spin, there is sound, but a nothing sound. There is a deep sense of Zen in this exhibit.
Benjamin Foster challenges us to ponder the capabilities of computers. If a vacuum cleaner is programmed to clean your house, with all its nooks and crannies, can a computer produce a work of art? Foster's Drawing Machine (output=plotter) has been programmed to draw continuously, never producing the same drawing twice.
Is it the exhibitionist in the majority of us which enjoys any opportunity to be part of an artist's work? Caitlin Franzmann gives us the opportunity to participate in Light render by having our own image projected on the gallery wall interacting with a simple cube.
A combination of nine Liquid Crystal Display screens and a man-made Swarovski Aurora Borealis crystal in a small room results in a brilliantly colourful display reminiscent of a kaleidoscope. One wonders if Ross Manning's Input Ruins was influenced by this old-fashioned plaything invented in 1816 by Sir David Brewster.
Beautiful but deadly is how I could describe Crystal Palace: the great exhibition of the works of industry of all nuclear nations. The use of uranium glass is symbolic of the Fukashima nuclear disaster. Ken and Julia Yonetani were both born in Japan, a country which suffered in World War II through the use of nuclear weapons. They are warning that the advantages of nuclear energy come with a cost.