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Week 8 - When robots and computers make art! (family special)

More and more families are participating in the Quarantined Museum community exhibition project. We have even heard from families who integrated the concept to their home schooling. In response, we would like to offer them one article per week intended for children aged 7 to 12. Of course, we recommend that families read it together to help each other and to discuss the themes!

There are no right or wrong answers. The whole family is invited to participate and discuss. You have the right to disagree, but you have to explain your point of view and listen to each other.

Let's start by thinking together about the following topics:

- What is technology?

- What are the pros and cons of using technology in art?

- Must an artist who uses technology have skills and knowledge in art and technology? or does the machine do the work for him/her?

Technology: Its definition develops over time and with knowledge. Today, when we talk about technology, it can include digital cameras, video cameras, computers, the Internet, 3D printers, virtual reality and much more!

Let's take a look at the following artwork:

Oliver Laric, Sleeping Boy, 2016

Oliver Laric, Sleeping Boy, 2016

Let's learn about the work and the artist:

- The artist, Oliver Laric was born in 1983 in Austria. He lives and works in Germany.

- He is interested in sculptures and casts.

- With the permission of various museums, he has scanned several old sculptures which he makes available to the public on a website:

- In this artwork, Oliver Laric was inspired by the marble sculpture Sleeping Shepherd Boy created by John Gibson in 1834.

To do so:

- He scanned the original work;

- Then he used a 3D printer that materializes the work layer by layer in a kind of resin.

This is called stereolithography.

- Laric wonders about the notion of copy.

- In the past, it was not uncommon for a sculptor to reuse the same model to make several statues.

- For example, sculptor John Gibson made small replicas and repetitions of his statues. He would make minor changes to them. Of the three existing marble replicas of the Sleeping Shepherd Boy, the shepherd's staff, hat and cloak change position and size. There is also a variation in hair style and the presence or absence of a lizard on the tree trunk. In general, the basic shape of the shepherd is the same, and therefore easily recognizable to those familiar with Gibson's work.

Scanner: An electronic device that allows an object to be transferred to digital files (for the computer).

Materialize: To represent (an idea, an abstract action) in material form.

Let's look at the following details:

- What's going on in this work?

- A boy has fallen asleep on a tree trunk.

- What clues do you have to say this?

- His eyes are closed and he is in a relaxed position.

- Who is the boy?

- He is a shepherd.

- What are the clues that allow you to say that?

- His shepherd's hat and cape;

- The title of the artwork is Sleeping Shepherd Boy.

- Why is he naked?

- John Gibson is inspired by the aesthetics of ancient Greek statues. In those days, nudity represented virtue.

- If you compare Gibson's work with Laric's, what do you notice?

- In Laric's, there is no stick, but there is a starfish on the ground and a mushroom on the tree trunk.

- Gibson's work is made entirely of marble while Laric's is made of resin.

- Laric 3D printed the different parts of the sculpture separately, using stereolithography. He then assembled them. The screws can be seen, especially in the calves.

- Laric plays with the transparency and opacity of the resin. The parts are white, grey or transparent. Traces of gold paint can be found in some places.

Virtue: It is a disposition to do good and avoid evil.

Let's make some links:

The artist, Oliver Laric:

- Uses technology to disseminate and make ancient works accessible (via scans);

- Uses technology to create his artwork (scans, 3D printer, computer, etc.);

- Stands playfully on the borderline between copying and inspiration.

This leads us to think:

- About the impact of technology in art, but also in the dissemination of artworks.

- About the true artist in this work. Is it Gibson? or Laric? or both?

- About the distinction between copying and being inspired. Did Laric copy or was he inspired by Gibson's work? Did Gibson, when he reproduced his own work by changing a few details, copy himself?

- About the 3D printing technique versus the hand-carving technique.

Versus: This term can be replaced by "in comparison with".

Authentic: Something that is authentic, that is true and original.

Let's have fun:

- Watch Adad Hannah's video The Raft of the Medusa (100 Mile House):

This artist is inspired by ancient works. In the video you watched, he reproduces Géricault's Raft of the Medusa (1818-1819) with real people. He playfully recreates the painting in the form of a tableau vivant.

- What do the characters do?

- Does the camera move or stay still?

- Is there a set and costumes?

- Choose a work from the Museum's collection by visiting ;

- Create a set and costume that will resemble those seen in the work.

- Study the pose that you have to take.

- Ask someone to film you for a few moments while you stand still and imitate your favourite work.

- That's it! You bring a work of art to life with technology!

- Use technology (internet) to send your tableau vivant to

Adad Hannah, The Raft of the Medusa (100 Mile House) , 2009

So, can you tell me:

Now that you've read, observed, learned, and explored, have you changed your mind or can you complete your thinking from earlier?

- While the use of technology allows many people to view works and create in new ways, does the use of technology cause problems with copying and copyright? If so, how?

- Is a work created entirely on a computer as important to you as a handmade painting?

- Why not think about future technology?! Will there still be artists or will robots make art instead? Using paint, pencils or play dough, create your own robot artist.

- Don't forget to send your creation to

This activity was prepared by Ariane Cardinal, Curator of Education at the Musée d'art de Joliette.

Follow the indications and get your art on this platform. The deadline is Wednesday at noon.

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