Autopilot - Richard Snyder, 2015
Autopilot represents an artistic collaboration between human and technology. The rendering of a female body in digital charcoal is positioned alongside a fractal pattern, software generated. Exhibiting in the image a sporadic form, fractals are, in fact, repeated pattern in an ongoing feedback loop, continuing infinitely without smoothness, but remain part of a dynamical system.
The artist first exerts his agency in deciding to use the first pattern the software generates, initiating a struggle to work with what the technology has given him then relinquishing his own agency. The fractal dictates the stance, motion, and positioning of his drawing. Without the ability to predict what the software might generate the artist works with, rather than against, the fractal. He uses other technology to facilitate an interaction and find a harmony and a way to incorporate his own ideas.
The work, completed using a digital tablet, may seem wholly dependent on the use of technology. Traditionally, technology is seen in opposition of the natural. In art, it is often used as stand-in for the human whereby their qualities are transferred or one acts as replacement for the other. In this sense, distinct separation and lines of bodies are drawn. However, the difference between technology and nature, or what is natural, is nonexistent. In this case, fractals are not new. Even when technology is used to generate it, fractals exist everywhere in nature from coastlines to clouds and from trees to water. Nature can showcase the limitations of technology, but so technology can make visible what is hidden in nature.
The only visually recognizable element in the image is the human, yet she does not stand alone. All of her environment is represented. The fractal blends into her figure and become part of her. The lines between human, technology, and nature intertwine and each dissolves into series of processes. Their interactivity makes their separate agencies indistinguishable from one another. Autopilot is the reunion of human and nature through technology.