Lans King, a British artist with a strong background in cognitive science and digital communication, creates digital pieces inspired by the modern phenomenon which is best described as the encounter of the real and the virtual. We live in the era when the digital is rapidly replacing the analog, and the machines are taking over human jobs. King invented his own, artistic term for this process of digitalisation – The New Synthesis. King’s art is cleverly mimicking the digitalization through the creation of hybrid artworks, which combine photography, use of numerical fields and traditional drawing or painting on large format canvases.
Lans King was born in St. Vincent in the British Antilles and raised and educated in New York. Interestingly, King studied cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and interaction between humans and machines. Visual arts haven’t been the central element in King’s early career – he was more interested in the psychological and perceptual nature of our relationship with the modern technologies. Even though the machines we create are here to simplify our lives and make them more convenient, it is quite possible that someday the same machines will threaten our existence on this planet if we make them similar enough to us humans. King is interested in the boundaries between truth and fiction when it comes to this convergence or even fight over dominion between the organic and the mechanic realms. At the same time, he wants to explore the aesthetics behind the hybrid world of the real and the digital. His paintings represent a unique mix of the classic artistic materials, paint and canvas, with the very core of the digital technology – algorithms and binary system.
King’s work often features the classic, well-known nude forms such as Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, but with a digital twist – the entire paintings consist of the numeric ASCII patterns carefully painted over with the real, let’s call them analog, colors. This new nude is also considered the synthetic nude because the physical properties of the body meet the virtual qualities, hence the numeric representation. To put is simply, the human body is reorganized and dematerialized by the process of digitalization. King prefers to use large canvases for his artworks so that his subjects are depicted in their actual size. Even though most of King’s pieces are drawn from the important works done by historical masters of painting, he also uses contemporary events and personalities as the source of his inspiration.
Lans King doesn’t perceive himself as an artist in a typical, academic sense. He is more of a researcher, extremely curious about the future of painting itself, which means painting as a medium. He poses a lot of exciting questions – how will all the current and future technological advances affect our art? Is there a next step in human evolution and how will the rise of the digital change our bodies and our minds? King wants us to consider the nature of the digital evolution and he will keep exploring it not only through his paintings, but also through his new, still developing projects such as installation, videos and sculpture.
The artist is represented by Dope! Gallery.
Featured image: Lans King’s Portrait
All images courtesy of the artist.