Since 1900, the connections between art and technology with nature have become increasingly inextricable. Through a selection of innovative readings by international scholars, this book presents the first investigation of the intersections between art, technology and nature in post-medieval times. Transdisciplinary in approach, this volume's 14 essays explore art, technology and nature's shifting constellations that are discernible at the micro level and as part of a larger chronological pattern. Included are subjects ranging from Renaissance wooden dolls, science in the Italian art academies, and artisanal epistemologies in the followers of Leonardo, to Surrealism and its precursors in Mannerist grotesques and the Wunderkammer, eighteenth-century plant printing, the climate and its artistic presentations from Constable to Olafur Eliasson, and the hermeneutics of bioart. In their comprehensive introduction, editors Camilla Skovbjerg Paldam and Jacob Wamberg trace the Kantian heritage of radically separating art and technology, and inserting both at a distance to nature, suggesting this was a transient chapter in history. Thus, they argue, the present renegotiation between art, technology and nature is reminiscent of the ancient and medieval periods, in which art and technology were categorized as aspects of a common area of cultivated products and their methods (the Latin ars, the Greek techne), an area moreover supposed to imitate the creative forces of nature.
Camilla Skovbjerg Paldam is Associate Professor of Art History, Department of Aesthetics and Communication, Aarhus University, Denmark. Jacob Wamberg is Professor of Art History, Department of Aesthetics and Communication, Aarhus University, Denmark.