BY BILLY SUTER
TWO-DIMENSIONAL art works commenting on the way today’s digital new-media condition superimposes itself onto the technologies of previous generations pull the focus in a two-part exhibition running until May 25 at artSpace Durban, 3 Millar Road, off Umgeni Road, Durban.
It is themed I Believe – We Become and falls under the umbrella title Notion, featuring works by Nicholas Crooks.
It shares the exhibition space with works by Miranda Crooks who, under the title Nature, presents art works focusing in plant forms.
Says Nicholas: “Communication has changed, due to the introduction of digital ripples through society. We need to be reminded that those of us from the ’60s, and before, grew up without television sets, calculators, computers, cellphones, laptops, World Wide Web, Twitter, e-mails, Facebook, WhatsApp and the rest of new-media technology.
“This chasm between analogue and digital remains a challenge, where the ideals and structures of the past are being challenged and replaced by a fuzzy logic of living and of life. Where engaging in the process is more important than finding ‘the answer’.”
In his latest works, Nicholas says, he has grappled with an understanding of the digital generation from his “shadow baby-boomer perspective”.
“I would see the perpetuation of posting ‘selfies’ as egocentric, self-obsessed and narcissistic, but from explanations gained in conversation with millennials, showing or sharing is sociocentric, consensus-seeking, egalitarian and humanitarian. Millennials see themselves ‘of service to one another’.”
“New technologies change society, and adjusting to the introduction of new technologies is what the (humankind) techoanthropological does.
“New media superimpose themselves on technologies of the past. The Stone Age replaced the Iron Age, for instance.
“What is different, however, is that new technologies are now being introduced so rapidly that they are inter-generational. The actions of a generation are the reflection of the technology of the day.
“With rapidly changing technologies, all people from older technological pasts are having to accept and embrace new technologies during their lifetime.
“It’s a bit like having to trade in something that still sort of works for a so-called better model. It’s not that the old does not wor,k it is the adjustment to the new that enables contact between generations.
“The old idea of the self needs to change to the new media for a synthesis to emerge. Although the digital has arrived and some of its affects are reality, we are living in a transitional phase. Until a new technology arrives to replace the digital we will not have a clear perspective of it.”
Discussing her contribution, Nature, Miranda Crooks says that much like a cat gets excited by a flutter of wings, she is thrilled by an intrinsic, primal hunter-gatherer desire to visually immerse herself in plant forms.
“The lines and shapes of plants are both exciting and captivating and I can only think that, like the smell of soil, this visual engagement produces endorphins that make us happy,” she explains.
Her work is part of a series of double-exposure botanicals.
Next up at artSpace Durban will be Signs of Usage, a solo exhibition by Terence King. This runs from June 10 to 29.