Engineering Art: Structures of Art and Technology – Alistair Grant

Engineering ArtPhoto by Fotis Papadogeorgopoulos.

Exhibiting in the Edinburgh College of Art, the ‘Engineering Art’ show explored the inter-relationships between structures, technologies and aesthetics with a number of various sculptural works.

In the main exhibition space artworks were placed carefully around the room, each of them approaching the subjects of engineering and technology in a unique way. A grey, snake-like sculpture slithered mechanically at one end of the space, while in another corner a collection of old television monitors were strapped together into a rudimentary archway. The latter piece provided a particularly lucid examination of technology and engineering, suggesting that new and beautiful structural objects can be created out of technological surplus and waste.Engineering ArtPhoto by Fotis Papadogeorgopoulos.

Downstairs in a basement area lay another fascinating sculpture in a room of its own. Set in a small, dark, cupboard-like space, the piece depicted a skeletal structure from which was hung a swaying lantern. Onlookers were invited to interact with the piece by pushing the lantern and letting it swing in wide circles, its light making the shadows of the supporting structure dance eerily on the surrounding walls. Viewers sat in a circle underneath the sculpture’s arachnid joints and were able to discuss the piece with the artists themselves, who divulged the rationale behind the piece and the inspirations that lead to its creation. The interplay between art, engineering and the environment was a predominant concern, but ideas of order and chaos were also discussed in relation to the contrast between the structural order of the frame and the shadows bouncing haphazardly around the walls.Engineering Art

“Metronomos”, created by Antoine Dao, Kosntantina Sidiropoulou, Emer Costello, Callum O’Dwyer. Photo by Fotis Papadogeorgopoulos.

For a History student used to hard facts and occasionally dry manuscripts, the experience provided a welcome glimpse into another world of intellectual stimulation; an artistic, ethereal but no less vital approach to real world problems concerning the interplay of science, technology and the environment.

Alistair Grant, History

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