The hybrid field of art and technology is seeing a radical change in the approaches taken by its artists. Rather than working from blueprints based on desktop research, emerging artists in this domain increasingly often choose to embed themselves in a technology’s sphere of influence while keeping a relatively open agenda. Working one’s way towards artistic outcomes from an embedded position encourages a new emphasis on the process of development and the bodily experiences it brings about in the artist. Consequently, the significance of any art objects produced along the way is reduced, challenging the art world’s strict conventions regarding what artistic practice, presentation and spectatorship can and cannot be.
The work of the artist Jeroen van Loon is a quintessential example of this emerging approach. He embeds himself in subjects such as the production of identities through social media (Kill Your Darlings, 2012), pre-Internet societies (Life Needs Internet, 2014–2016), and the evolving market in human genetic data (Cellout.me, 2016). Van Loon makes a significant contribution to our understanding of and relationship to contemporary digital culture and the new realities produced by technological advancement. This contribution is a necessary and timely one, pulling our attention away from the direct, everyday consequences of technology to cast light on its broader impact and structural effects. In an age in which the short-term benefits of new technologies are generously celebrated in the media, promoted through government innovation policies and highlighted in product campaigns, there is a critical need for the efforts of artists like Van Loon to counter this techno-euphoria with an unbiased exploration of technology’s effects on our lives, climate and culture.
Jeroen van Loon (b. 1985 in ’s Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, lives and works in Utrecht, The Netherlands) received a bachelor in Digital Media Design and a European Media Master of Arts from the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht. Van Loon’s work has been displayed in solo exhibitions and international group shows and has earned him a European Youth Award and a KF Hein art grant. He regularly gives presentations on his artistic explorations of technology, both in the art world and through institutions that promote innovation, such as TEDx. Recent work is included in the Verbeke Foundation, Belgium, collection. Recent exhibitions include the Central Museum, “Beyond Data”, Netherlands,; Dutch Design Week, The Netherlands; Z33, “Design my Privacy”, Belgium; Cyberfest 9, Russia/USA/Colombia; V2_, The Netherlands and Tech Art Expo, Berlin.
By curator Michel van Dartel
As an artist Jeroen sold his DNA data online to the highest bider, created an internet of binary smoke signals and asked Papuan tribe members to describe the internet to me, all to be able to document, visualise or reveal digital culture through art.
The artist will talk about the last years of his art practise and predict the next years of digital culture. He will show his artwork, explain why they were created and what his vision is on art using technology, science & society as a starting point.
His talk will consists of three chapters – functional, emotional, ephemeral – through which Jeroen will show how his artworks revealed contemporary digital culture. Together these chapters show how digital culture itself evolved in the last years. In the final chapter he will conclude with my vision on the next 5 years of digital culture, stating that it’s true potential is in the ephemeral qualities of digital culture.
The three chapters will touch on the following thematics:
FUNCTIONAL – The dichotomy between on-offline culture and it’s impact on society.
EMOTIONAL – The profound way in which digital technology became increasingly a core aspect of our daily lives.
EPHEMERAL – The potential aspects of a future digital culture based on locality, ephemerality and momentum.