Since the Industrial Revolution in Europe in the late nineteenth century, fashion, art, and design have all been constantly evolving. The introduction of technology in that period of time led to new building techniques, materials, and a greater ease in production of consumer goods. Because things could be made so easily, designers had more time to focus on creating new and unique products. This trend towards innovation and progress has continued to grow as the range of technology readily available to us has expanded over time, and there is no sign of it slowing down. The future is sure to bring new materials and techniques for creating art, and it is exciting to imagine just what these new technological advances will bring.
One trend that is very certain and that I, as an Interior Design major, have no doubt will play a big role in the design world in the years to come, is that of sustainability. New technologies are making it possible to source, collect, transport, and construct buildings, interiors, and furniture pieces from recycled or responsibly sourced materials. The benefits of this are twofold, one is that the company is doing their part in lessening their carbon footprint and two, the materials are often unique and will be marketed as being healthy for the environment, thus persuading consumers to purchase their brand/design. Sustainable design is becoming more and more common these days, and as environmental problems grow worse, this type of design offers a solution to both heal the world, and benefit the consumers’ living situation. Hotels, businesses, schools, and homes are all shifting towards this idea in terms of design. Sustainable materials such as bamboo, recycled items, solar panels, etc. are being used to cut costs of the buildings’ utilities as well as creating spaces that make people feel good just by being in them and experiencing them. Within the next decade, I expect to see more and more new buildings incorporating sustainable materials and design ideas into their spaces, while older buildings are remodeled and updated with these changes in mind.
The future of fashion also seems to be moving towards this sustainability trend. Consumers are constantly looking for something fresh and new when it comes to fashion. Even more so than architecture, fashion changes from day to day. Trends pop up, then fade as new trends take their place. Trends also recycle. Every twenty years or so, it is said, trends come back with new and modern twists. With new technology, the same pieces of clothes can now be made with different and more unique materials. For example, the clothing company Girlfriend Collective makes all of their leggings out of plastic water bottles that were recycled, and would otherwise end up polluting the oceans. The machines that compress, shape, and melt the bottles into usable yarn were not available in the past, but are now making waves in the world of fashion. There is also a company called Sea2See that takes trash from beaches and turns it into frames for glasses. More companies like these are being created because the technology that has the ability to take waste and pollutants and turn it into functional and beautiful materials is becoming increasingly common. As time goes on, more and more of these machines will be invented and the world of fashion will evolve into one that is fueled by trash turned into a consumer product.
There are also plenty of ways in which the future of art and design will evolve using technology besides to become more sustainable. For example, music. Technology has been used since the beginning of humankind to create instruments that create different and pleasing sounds. Today, with the use of computer programs, there are thousands of new sounds that can be made. Musicians now have the opportunity to record sounds made by humans and turn them into electronic noises that mimic those of instruments, and vice versa. This kind of manipulation of sound will increase as new types of machines and software are invented. Another form of art that has recently emerged that has to do with sound is the recording of sound waves that are then printed on an object and given as gifts. People can record themselves saying “I love you” and then get the waves transferred onto a canvas that is then framed, or carved into a piece of jewelry. What’s special about this type of art is the multi-media experience which it creates. Using technology like this was once never imagined, but now it is becoming commonplace. As this tech continues to advance, I suspect that multi-media art like this will become mainstream as well as new technologies of this kind.
Another, more classical, aspect of art is also sure to change with new technologies. For centuries, artists have looked to the night sky for inspiration. Drawings and paintings of the sky came first, then photographs of the stars, and eventually, of other galaxies. As telescopes become more accurate, so do the images available to us. These images can be used in prints, or for multi-media collages. Another gift that has become popular with the advancing technologies is scientific maps and photos of the night sky on a particular night. People can choose what date, time, and place and get an accurate mapping of what the stars looked like at the exact time in history. This is only possible through the use of telescopes and scientific catalogs; it is only possible with the use of technology. Astronomy is constantly evolving, with humans pushing the envelope on what is possible with the technology available. Man has already been to the moon, and manmade machines have traveled much further. As time goes on, outer space will become more accessible to humans, and with it, a whole new potential of artistic mediums and inspirations.
These are just a few of many ways that technology will affect the artistic efforts of people within the near and foreseeable future. This should inspire artists today to use the technology they have available to them in new and different ways, and with this innovative use, they may just stumble into the newest artistic technology.