Technological Alienation

The hook for this article, When Technology Imitates Art, points to the cognitive problem that comes up every time a technology is employed in a novel fashion to create something that could be produced another way, but now no longer need be.

A FEW weeks ago, a sculptor in France contacted Studio Roc, a new stone-milling company in North Hollywood, Calif., with the type of challenge the company was seeking. He had a 19th-century limestone lion’s face that he wanted to reproduce for a line of fountains. But carving each face by hand was a tedious chore for which he no longer had the time or resources.

Instead, he shipped the original work to Studio Roc, where technicians mapped it in three dimensions with a laser scanner. Then they placed a limestone blank in a computer-controlled milling machine and used the scan data to carve a duplicate lion face at the touch of a button.

[…] But the harnessing of these granite-grinding Xerox machines, able to duplicate just about any sculpture, may also blur the line between what is authentic and what is not. Is such a sculpture art, or merely a computer-aided copy? [emphasis added]

[…] While Studio Roc is aiming for the building trade, the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture in Trenton caters to New York-area artists who want to begin a new work or enlarge an existing one by sitting at a PC instead of standing on a ladder.

Slashdot: 3D Printing in Stone, or Copy a Sculpture in Rock

See also: For Doctored Photos, a New Flavor of Digital Truth Serum