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Courtesy of Taylor Fisch

"Fractals," a piece by Smita Sen, CC '16, utilizes 3D animation software to highlight the relationship between visual art and modern technology.

While technology and visual art can often have an uneasy relationship in the artistic world,  Postcrypt Art Gallery's new exhibit "OUTLET," opening Friday, attempts to exploring these tensions.

Last year, Postcrypt's curators began discussing the idea of doing a show connecting art and electronics. They approached art history major Taylor Fisch, BC '15, to take the lead on the exhibition and drawing on her experience with photography, the medium that historically started discussions on this topic.

"Technology has influenced the experience of art, the artists' perception of their own art, and how they have used technology to enhance their art," Fisch said. "We really wanted both negative and positive sides of this."

"OUTLET" features a range of works, from multimedia pieces that embrace the internet or technology like projections to those that take a critical look at the ways that technology has impacted modern life.

One of the featured works is Charles Ambler's untitled installation in which mousetraps, distributed around the gallery, clamp down their jaws on smartphones. Through his work, Ambler expresses concern regarding the disturbing intrusion that modern technology can impose in various spaces.

"There are good sides to having your phone and all this new technology, but it also limits you," Fisch said.

Smita Sen, CC '16, will be showing multiple pieces in this exhibition. In "The Seed," an edited photograph that depicts a close-up of a screw resting on an open palm, Sen has attempted to draw connections between human and divine creation by alluding to crucifixion imagery. In this work, technology is both a topic and a medium, as Sen's message is conveyed through the photography with digital editing of the photograph.

Sen's piece, "Fractals," was designed using 3D animation software, and her work deals with the use of technology to model perfection and symmetry.

"The uncanny way in which the software can recreate properties of the physical world influenced many of my lighting choices in the final renderings, where I emphasized the mystique of the object's fractal symmetry," Sen said.

Works like Sen's speak to an interconnectedness between art and technology. Digital editing and creation tools are essential to most photography and videography projects, and  developers are creating software to mediate visitors' museum experiences. Installations use simple educational microcomputers like the Arduino or Raspberry Pi to interact in real time with passersby.

The art presented in "OUTLET" offers visitors a means through which to ignite discussions about the social, political, environmental, and ethical implications of the digital age.

"OUTLET" opens at Postcrypt Art Gallery in the basement of St. Paul's Chapel on Nov. 21 | @ColumbiaSpec

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