Engaging Ambivalence investigates and discusses the challenge of the relationship between DARPA, the engineering, and academic communities and specifically looks at the moral relativity within defense research for the military and research universities that are funded by DARPA. The article goes in to slight detail that DARPA entices researchers to turn “fantasy in to reality,” enticing artists through the thoughts of futuristic combat scenarios in video game and other “more fun” approaches, but in actuality DARPA’s motives are deceitful and often hold true motives of martial purposes in warfare scenarios. This article also discusses the basic ideas behind the Institute of Applied Autonomy. In this article, their focus seems to be placed on engineering, as stated that “While there is a long history of artists and social theorists questioning relationships between technology and society, there is an equally long history of engineers ignoring art and social theory.”
In accordance with JD, I too enjoy subversive technology, but have a hard time associating it within the art world and find many of these works to be tools created by engineers (though I find most new media artists to be engineers) for other to use for whatever needs they see fit. Though these tools are wonderfully crafted, in the examples within the text, the intention in the making of these tools does not seem to be rooted in fine art. Does this mean that these tools and their byproducts simply become art based on the makers intent? In regards to subversivism and activisivsm being categorized as art forms, I am not sure I could formulate a better argument than JD has below.
As a quick side note, Going back to DARPA and funded projects, I cannot help but think of works such as the BigDog (funded by DARPA) created by Boston Dynamics. Though I find this robot to be very impressive/beautiful and can see hundreds of them as a pack roaming through the woods as some sort of new media autonomous speices installation, I also see them walking the streets with machine guns strapped to their sides as future soldiers. Frankly DARPA’s funding is incredible alluring but their future uses for such inspirational engineering feats is a bit terrifying.
BigDog Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww