Artwork by Artist Adrian Ward
The artwork “Transition” created by artist Adrian Ward in silver bullion, explores the nature of human data recording which began with writing approximately 5500 years ago to today’s transition into the digital reality.
Writing marked the beginning of a technology more precise than oral traditions which allowed people to communicate their exact words over time, which could educate future generations and progressing humanity forward through the wisdom of past generations.
The technology of the book reached a zenith in The House of Wisdom in Baghdad late in the 8th century. The House of Wisdom existed as part of the major Transition Movement which marked the Golden Age of Islam during the Abbasid Era, an era which crystallized the scientific approach.
The Transition Movement involved translating many texts which included Greek into Arabic to understand and develop the scientific method. The House of Wisdom and its vast library was destroyed, but from those ashes came the foundations for the Enlightenment of the Renaissance, in the west. Another significant moment was the Gutenberg Press, which also marked the next major transition step allowing books to be readily accessible to most people.
The digitization of text in our time represents another major transition movement in human history in the eyes of the artist, “I see our current transition as a silver age of communications, where we move from book to screen. The golden age of communications technology will most likely be the biological integration of communication devices which will also involve artificial intelligence. This will end the need for the individual to retain large volumes of information internally, this could potentially free our conscious awareness or see us helpless without the assistance of our digital genie." The artist believes.
This transition from book to screen is a movement away from physical objects. The artist asks in "Transition”, does the transformation from physicality stored knowledge into information which exists in a temporal electronic state, come with new risks which did not exist in the past?
The artwork appears to be glitching or digitally fragmenting, suggesting that this transition away from a tangible object of a book may be difficult and sometimes problematic. “We may struggle to understand the tsunami of electronic information which is now so accessible and even struggle with the information generated just by the act of looking,” Adrian suggests. "A book is an intimate experience of information transference, whereas communicating with digital devices via the internet feels more like the flow of current human thoughts which can rapidly change or be altered…….Through education hopefully, we can gain the wisdom to see the value and the truth of information regardless of how it's presented."
Adrian casts his artwork in pure silver bullion; he is currently the only contemporary artist in the world specializing in bullion silver and gold sculpture. “Silver bullion is constantly being valued and reevaluated, every Nanosecond of everyday with communication technological, because it is a rare commodity. For me, the value of ideas represents a store of wealth.”
In "Transition”, the silver bullion and the ideas it communicates will never lose their value, unlike the physical book. Why, because art, silver bullion, communication, and education are already transitioning into the golden age, the era of the digital reality.
Follow Australian artist Adrian Ward in his studio, as he fails and succeeds in creating and casting a 6.664kg silver bullion sculpture. Currently, Adrian is the only contemporary artist specializing in this medium to create his masterpieces. Watch all 10 episodes and subscribe.