Tech and art, not so far apart

Audience were playing Ping-Pong with the Robot.

By Pessy Lee

This January, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place in Las Vegas, gathering thousands of exhibitors and technology insiders from all over the world for a feast of future trends. Walking around the CES venue gave me the impression of attending an art fair. When technology advancements seem so far ahead, it is the same as how when artworks are too personal. It may appear distant and cold, but there is no denying that both technology and art originally set out to bond humans.

Connecting and Creating

This reminded me of the opening ceremony of the 2017 World Internet of Things Exposition (WIOT,世界物聯網博覽會) in Wuxi (無錫), where Alibaba Group Jack Ma (馬雲) pointed out that we should all embrace the impact of technology trends and express our creativity in this ever changing world instead of worrying about the unknown. Pierre Chen (陳泰銘), as an entrepreneur and art collector, also expressed before the importance of living a life filled with art and for art to be about daily life. Ma and Chen’s words made apparent respectively how close-knitted technology and art should be with our daily lives.

Buzzing Trends

Drones have been making a buzz in recent years. At Intel’s booth this year, CEO Brian Krzanich explained that humans are the essence of the creation of drones and that all technology developments eventually come down to human needs. After a test ride on a self-driving car, some participants showed enthusiasm towards the long-awaited invention, while others indicated their concerns about safety issues. “It’s not how we make it, but how we make people feel safe,” respondedKrzanich to the reactions.

The highlight of Sony’s booth featured Time magazine photojournalist Ben Lowy, who has a photographic collaboration with the company. For me, it was simply a thrill to attend the talk of an artist at a tech event. Lowy first presented a series of images, which included Trump and Clinton during the presidential election, Olympic athletes, soldiers at war and wounded civilians, dangerous-looking great white sharks and others. When Lowy retold how his mother thinks he must be insane with each mentioning of his “Swimming with Big White Shark” series, you could see him glimmering on stage with the same passion that has propelled him to fulfill his dreams. He concluded his speech by emphasizing how camera speed effects the quality of his works, allowing him to seize moments in the perfect timing and to retain the original fascination.

Ben Lowy was sharing his photography experiences with the audiences in the Sony booth at CES.

While virtual reality was first merely an interesting idea, its importance has grown over the years. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg went as far to predict that billions of people will be using virtual reality technology on social media in the near future. Furthermore, many exhibitions and artists have also been eagerly exploring its possibilities, creating spaces that are unattainable in reality or for recreating the past.

As John Keats once wrote “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” the beauty that art pursues is the same as the truth science seeks. The event this year presented technology in a gentle, humble way, combining it with art to create interaction with the crowd. Technology inventions as well as artistic creations aspire to be part of human lives and only when seamlessly woven into our existence does its true essence shine through. If technology is to bring convenience, bridging the gap between human beings, then art would be to open up our hearts and inspire us to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

People were experiencing the VR in Samsung booth.