Master Project

Swati Prasad

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Technology has been providing artists with new ways to express themselves for a very long time. And, over the past few decades, art and technology have become more intertwined than ever before, whether it’s through providing new mediums to work with or simply making the process of creating simpler, or about reaching varied and vaster audience. With every new interface, technology is allowing more human interaction merged with technology to intervene in our day to day lives.

My work explores this paradoxical situation that we now stand in. We are increasingly becoming more dependent on technology to simplify our lives. But, of course this comes at a price. The price being the constant surveillance of our lives and our needs and desires, which in a way digs deep into our vulnerabilities. The situation that we are now in, seems to be a one-way road to further dependency on technology, and more investigation into our personal lives. Whether this is what we desire or otherwise, it is happening. Looking at the example of the Panoptic structure discussed by Foucault in his book Discipline and Punish, my work explores the idea of surveillance and discipline in the current context. Since the structures are already in place, is it only in our best interest to make optimal use of them? Through accessibility, can the positions of power change?

Further to this, I will be designing yet another interface to intervene in our already chaotic lives, but with the positive aim of bridging some gaps in existing technologies concerned with art and an attempt to bring about changes in the defined positions of power in the art world. My idea was fueled by my personal experiences or rather the lack of them. In a city like Zürich, which is always bustling with cultural events, it seems only obvious that there should be a platform to provide the public with relevant information about various art events taking place in diverse kind of spaces, motivating them to participate more and giving them the opportunity to establish an information and knowledge exchange system connected to Zürich’s art scene.

The proposed platform will boast features like location-based suggestions, personalized feed according to one’s taste. Here, I try to question Bourdieu’s concept of taste being defined by social and cultural capital, and whether that idea still holds any relevance in the current context. With existing technologies, this experience can be very personalized. Not only can one be informed based on their taste, but also location. While one gets information, one can also have the opportunity to review their experiences. So, when people from non-art backgrounds get to comment on works of art, does that shake the inherent hegemonic structures within the art world? With these suggestions, I am trying to question pre-established power positions, and the notion of elitism attached to the realm of the arts.