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Drawing the History of Technology

by Lucy Cao, III Form and Rory Colburn, IV Form

photo 3-2In Art Studio II, students read an article in Harvard Magazine called “The Digitization of the Humanities.” They looked critically at a large still life of objects representing the history of technology, including objects we do not readily associate with today’s lightning speed of information gathering and synthesis.  The assignment was to make a drawing from this group of essentially black and white objects using color, line, and surface metaphorically.  Choosing what to emphasize and identifying issues and ideas about the role of technology in their lives was a major part of the assignment, and, at times, it became necessary to depart from observational reality to make visible their personal point of view.We are reminded that today’s technology is built upon a history of tools, of patterns of thinking, and of inventions that solved problems and measured with precision.  Designers today program computers that make 3D machines which then make machines.  Within this context of change, a pencil remains a valuable responsive tool and means of communicating ideas giving a viewer marks of the human hand and mind.

Lucy Cao ’17:

photo 2-2My very first idea about this drawing was to express a sense of the mystery of technology by using a series of colors like blue and purple and use pencils to describe some other parts of my drawing.  As I went on in my drawing, I also learned a lot about perspectives, reflections, and different color choices.  I realized that using only blues and purples would make my drawing look too “cold.”  I decided to add more warm colors, like brown, red, and orange, into my own country’s technology with my drawing.  The government of China has blocked a lot of websites, such as FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google, for political reasons.  I drew the logos of those websites underneath my objects as a background to indicate that those websites are not fully accessible.  However, I didn’t put something like crosses over the logos because apparently there are ways for us to go onto those websites despite the government’s attempt to hide them from us.  The text on the bottom of the page means freedom of speech, separation, and hiding.  First, the government doesn’t want us to go on those websites because they don’t want some words or rumors on these websites to cause separation among certain provinces in China.  This represents how the government is not giving us freedom of speech and is hiding information from us.  The red lines around the text make the words more like a command from the government.  In this drawing, I made a lot of personal breakthroughs.  I learned how to express my own voice in a drawing instead of just reporting what I saw.  I also learned how to build colors with layered color pencils.  A few things I need to work on are choosing a wider range of colors and applying techniques of building colors to my drawing.

Rory Colburn ’16:

photo 1My drawing exemplifies the past and future of technologies, starting with nature’s mechanical appearance and the history of different brands.  It has a lot of different aspects to it, so I aimed at finding a way to bring them closer together with color and perspective.  There is no escaping it: the average person sees 5,000 advertisements every day. This is an age of extreme consumerism, and in drawing I used aspects of nature that seem to be invasive or even poisonous to portray the impact advertisements have on our lives.  I incorporated this into my drawing with the poison-ivy like plant crawling up all the pieces of technology and the water starting to fall over everything.  I used bright colors and extreme contrast to make several brand icons the main focus.

Lucy Cao is a III Former from Shanghai, China, and she lives in Oak. She enjoys all kinds of art and music, and she loves traveling. This is her first time living and studying in the US, and she is really excited.

Rory Colburn is a IV Former from Boston who lives in Sawyer House.  His favorite classes are AP World History (“I always want to know where things were created”) and Latin (“Latin is like a puzzle that will help me out in the long run”).  He plays squash and golf.

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