Can High-Tech Art Connect People and the Environment?

Dec 16, 2013

Art can be a powerful way to convey scientific messages and inspire environmental stewardship. Technology, on the other hand ...

We often talk about the distancing effect of the technologies that are so omnipresent in our lives today - our removal from the natural world, and the demise of true, personal interaction at the hands of cell phones, social media, and the like. So what happens when you combine art and technology?

That's the realm of contemporary media artist Brian Kane. Recent works include a granite sculpture of an iPhone and an iPad (intended to raise questions about the longevity of these devices), and an "analog 'Like' button" (photo above) that enables Facebook non-users to do what people have presumably been doing for millenia - liking things.

Kane's newest project is a three-way collaboration with Boston-based Harbor Arts and the Nantucket Lightship. HarborArts, Inc. is transforming the working industrial space of Boston Harbor Shipyard with public installations of (to quote executive director Matt Pollock) "wow-scale" works of art in an effort to raise awareness about our relationship with the ocean, and each other.

The Nantucket Lightship is a 1930's-era floating lighthouse, a National Treasure, with a long and storied history of guiding mariners in New England's waters. Kane plans to rig the lightship with a digital sail - a mesh of LED lights that can be programmed to display images and videos.

The project is slated to launch in late spring or early summer of 2014, and will be interactive. Members of the public will be invited to submit their own content for display. What would you contribute?