“Hi-Tech + Low-Tech”: Aesthetic Reframing Processes Through Brazilian-Nigerian Art Literacy

“Hi-Tech + Low-Tech”: Aesthetic Reframing Processes Through Brazilian-Nigerian Art Literacy

Paulo Cesar Teles (University of Campinas, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5696-1.ch003
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This chapter aims to highlight and discuss contemporary aspects of interactive art as the audience influence, the aesthetic technological impact, its targeting to art-education, and the cross-cultural aspects involved as well evidenced by an art and technology literacy event at two schools in the city of Osogbo, Nigeria for primary and secondary school teachers and students in mid-2016 and five months later the re-exhibition of its final artwork in museums and cultural centers in Brazil. For this propose, the author sought to highlight the density of the aesthetic experiences and the cultural addition that affected all the involved people in terms of interactivity and multi-technological connections. He also intended to point out and compare both the different interactive attitudes and the processes of comprehension and reframing that occurred during the stages of production and exhibitions under the prism of some contemporary theoretical perspectives and cases.
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Cultural globalization and multi-media connection in this second decade of the XXI century has brought closer (since the end of the last century) people and entities from different backgrounds and cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1977); 1 in terms of individual and collective (Murray, 2001), multidirectional and decentralized modes (Deleuze, 1997), hitherto it was impossible in previous moments of our history. Hence, these technological mediated contacts have provided exponential growth in meetings and events that have disseminated cultural exchanges, among people, collectives and institutions from different cultures. and continents.

Technological headways that have taken place throughout human history, such as transportation and media, have led people to encounters, confrontations and dialogues, mutual appropriations and, also, a techno-socio-cultural syncretism between “high” and “low” technology.2 Usually, the first is seen as electronic and digital devices emerging and / or commercially newly consolidated, while the second is treated as obsolete devices or ancestors manufactures. These concepts, however, can vary within each culture or society (the use of chopsticks to have a meal, in general – whether made of wood or metal - is known to be regarded as a “new technology” to many Western people).

What is nowadays considered as a “post-digital trend” does not necessarily need to be the abandonment of electronic and algorithmic technologies in search of a vintage nostalgia or even a radical return to a way of life based exclusively on “non-electronic” craftsmanship (Sennet, 2008).3 One can also look at it as a way to integrate, in many ways, objects, equipment, as well as social and artistic behaviors from many cultural background. However, in spite of a number of historical happenings of these cultural miscegenation, the increasing access to digital media, in an increasingly distributed and individualized way (Trible & Jana, 2006), produced several other ways of artistic experience and understanding from the audience that are very active and immersed in the work itself (Couchot, 2002; Hansen, 2003; Gianetti, 2006; Lipovetsky, 2011).

Therefore, in order to promote new experiences pointed to those conceptual frameworks on art and technology through art-education, the author has developed and triggered a set of international workshops that built interactive and mixed-media art installations, targeted initially to art teachers, and their 09 – 14 years old students as well. Entitled The Wishing Tree, they aim to disseminate transdisciplinary art and media literacy within art-educational environments. Initialized in 2012, it already took place at several elementary and secondary schools in five different continents.

These art and technology workshop group was originally created to address interactive and participatory processes to the teachers and students involved by a fusion of digital technology, audiovisual media and fine arts. These happenings in schools of different countries broadened our conceptual spectrum in the inter- and cross-cultural fields as a way to reframe what occurred in each of these places, most of the time unlike and in varying degrees of intensity among the involved local cosmologies.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Interactive Music: Every music that audience participates, collaborates, and interferes with its execution can somehow be considered “interactive.” In the context of this chapter, the author refers to experiences in which digital interfaces of interaction give the spectator an opportunity for interference and rearrangements in the volume or course of different tracks of a specific song.

Responsiveness: Logical and temporal ability of a hardware or software to “return” to imputed commands.

Controller Board: Electronic-digital boards that connects devices and objects of various natures (by cameras and/or a sort of different sensor features) to computers and gives them the role of peripheral controllers (mouse, pen tables and/or keyboards, for example) of actions and events in those systems.

Sampled Instruments: Sounds recorded or produced by electronic and/or digital instruments that imitate other “original” musical instruments or creation of new sonorities.

Ancestrofuturism: A concept given to ritual actions and artistic events, promoted by a collective composed of artists and scholars of the human sciences together with indigenous or other communities holding “ancestral knowledge” in the search for a hybrid cosmology that promotes a sensorial and cultural elevation to this set.

Led Spots: Light spot composed of small bulbs of high luminous intensity with low energy expenditure, whose colors and intensity can be controlled and constantly altered.

Ultrasonic Sensors: Small devices that detect how close/far objects are through ultrasonic waves that “echo” the objects found within range.

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