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Re-Surfacing Symposium

Technology affects every aspect or our lives, especially how we exist and perceive our physical surroundings, the landscape. As experimenters and meaning-makers, artists create an important community dialog about the relationship of technology to the expanding concepts of the meaning of landscape. To address these issues and how they are centered around the concept of the Landscape, the Art & Technology area and the Photography Area within the Department of Art has invited artists and scholars to participate in a free public symposium, to be videotaped and disseminated via streaming web video; fostering a public forum for art and ideas about today's reinterpretation and creative investigations of the landscape.  In conjunction with this symposium is an exhibition, Re_surfacing in which a select group of artists from the U.S, Canada and abroad have come together to tackle issues of technology as it relates to experiences of the psychological, the corporeal, the natural and the virtual landscape and examine how these frames of reference influence our concepts of what constitutes a landscape and why.

The evolution of the concept of landscape corresponds directly to the advent of technology, from its inception in oil painting in the 16th century, through the invention of photography in the 19th
century, and using the digital advances in computing to both simulate and map the existing landscape. This use of technology continually outpaces our ability to fully comprehend the meaning of the changes to our culture and the world at large of how we see and experience our landscape. Both science and technology are instrumental in the reinterpretation of the landscape in the 21 st century, this symposium will allow for a interdisciplinary discussion between the arts and sciences where artists, theorists, and scientists will be featured on 6 panel discussions and one day of physical interactivity with the landscape designed by artists and students.

Artists have always been important makers of meaning and ..contextualizers.. of technology as their work engages and reflects the concerns and aspirations of culture. For example, the term landscape was invented by the artists of the 16th century as subject matter to be captured on canvas. The Landscape was considered to be one rung up from still-life painting, which existed in the artistic hierarchy of still life, landscape, portraiture, and at the top allegorical scenes. Today, the notion of the landscape has permeated our perception of reality, because we are a culture of images we experience life through images and these images have dictated what we expect to see. This engagement with the physical world through the representation of artistic mediums has contributed to the notion of the sublime.

Increasingly, artists, scientists, and the combination of both are using technology as a medium and a concept to reinterpret and investigate both familiar and unfamiliar landscapes. Artists are a part of an important dialogue, which reflects hope about our future and simultaneously questions some of the ethical, personal and political implications of technology on the landscape affecting our culture and world.

As a culture, we are simultaneously hopeful and fearful of what future technology will bring, so it is a rich area for artists and scientist to explore. Additionally artists, who are generally not bound by the scientific method, are permitted more freedom in asking questions and presenting ideas that may be unacceptable to a purely scientific community. Artists are already engaging technologies to investigate the landscape such as, GIS mapping, virtual reality, psychogeographical studies, anthropological investigations, landscape architecture, photography, video, surveillance initiatives, sonic, etc


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