by Nicholas N

Modern technology will undoubtedly change the ways that art is produced and ultimately even what kinds of art are made. This has proven to be true time and time again in the past, and although some of these innovations may seem obvious or simple now, they were at the time paradigm altering. The introduction of oil based paints allowed artists to change a painting within a matter of minutes instead of across a series of days. Modern printers allowed Andy Warhol to create his famous prints of Marilyn Monroe and Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup. And something as simple as gel based ink allowed children to end a day of school without being covered in ink from their fountain pens. The question is not will technology affect fashion and art but how advances in technology will affect artwork and design in the coming years and decades.

As an engineering student 3D printing is a commonly used tool. Within the engineering industry it is commonly used to create complex geometries that machine tools would be incapable of producing or would take a long time to produce. Of course this same use of the technology has applications in the art and design worlds too. In the design universe the ability to rapidly model and then create a piece will allow for designers to make changes to a prototype and quickly respond to changing desires and needs. It could also allow a designer to show a mock design in a 3D space, fully fleshed, as opposed to a sketch of what their final idea would look like. This would have a comparable price tag to creating a drawing and would allow of for a better view for investors. In artwork 3D printing will allow artists to create shapes and models that previously would have previously taken hours or days or even have been impossible much the same as in the engineering world. And of course as 3D printing becomes more advanced more materials will be able to be loaded and the versatility and use of the system will explode. Artwork would be able to be designed and completed within hours whether it was being made in steel or plastic or wood or glass.

Advancements in material sciences will also feed into advancements within the arts. Carbon fiber has recently become cheaper and has allowed for large installations that may hinge on a load bearing section to be finished cheaply and easily and still provide a face that can be painted or otherwise made to look nice. And of course its use in car design in already well documented, Other materials that have yet to reach a mass market will also affect the art world in largely unknowable ways. Materials that can “remember” a formation it was in will allow a sculpture that invites participation. It could be hit, cut, or smashed and the structure would be able to snap back into its original form without input from the artist or a motor. Similar technology would allow for materials that can change color based any number of interactions such as temperature, how much it’s being touched, humidity, or noise. Within a sculpture or painting or even an outfit this has obvious uses. A painting could reflect an artist’s social anxiety by becoming darker as more people and noise enter a room; painting’s landscape could change to match the outside environment whether it were sunny or rainy; clothes could be made to detect changes in blood chemistry and alert their wearer about insulin levels or a risk of heart problems.

Augmented reality has been in the news recently and its uses are still being discovered. Using a headset a museum could encourage an interactive and individual tour of the museum or an artist could create a piece that stands on its own but can be accompanied by virtual interactions within and around it. And a fashion piece could be designed to look stunning in its own right but would dynamically change when viewed through a headset.

Fashion is of course not the only sole link to technology. Technology also affects the world we live in and the lives we lead. This, in turn, affects the way we view the world and the fashion and design that we desire. Autonomous cars will likely lead to car ownership declining while also changing how roadways need to be designed. This change will likely create thinner roads and allow for more space to be given to walking and biking. It will also allow for design to transition away from parking lots and mega highways in favor of parks and other services. The fabric of how cities will be designed will be changed to comply with the new way in which we live. Cities will become more open, relying less on crosswalks and large slabs of concrete. Pedestrians will become more common in every city as cars begin to take up less space and businesses are able to be built nears each other. This change will also likely change the design of cars. Cars have traditionally been places to sit due to safety. However, safer autonomous cars will likely allow cars to be designed for specific purposes more akin to a train. For long nighttime drives a sleeper car could be designed that allows for all the amenities of a bedroom while on the road. Cars could be designed to allow for lunches, business meetings, working out, family road trips, game parlours, movie viewing, these cars would be as customizable and practical as a home.

Technology, fashion, art, and design are all linked in ways that society does not always notice or recognize. This force changes the way in which society views fashion and art and our ability to produce different types of art. These changes will either be good or bad depending on how we react to technological progress and what we allow this progress to do. In order to create a good, sustainable future society must be well informed about different new designs and goals and what effects they may cause.

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