Many modern artists and architects continue to imagine and build
the world technologically. Their beliefs remain firmly rooted in their
assumption that the liberating forces of technology freed them from
previous artistic traditions while making available vast means of
production and a plethora of materials. All artistic traditions were
seemingly put aside by the paintings of Cézanne, the poetry of
Baudelaire, and the architecture of Le Corbusier.
apparent freedom French critic Jacques Ellul, author of the classic The
Technological Society, found an absolute slavery. The artist was the
handmaiden of technology, a relation the artist no longer understood,
like other citizens of technological culture. Artists acclaimed their
unbridled individualism while being intensely determined by the forces
of technological culture.
Ellul examines this process in modern
art from the beginning of the 20th century where the sense of art - its
meaning and embodiments - is reduced to non-sense. Ellul's study is in
the tradition of Guy Debord's The Society of Spectacle and Theodor
Adorno's Aesthetic Theory but moves significantly beyond their Marxist
perspectives that were, from Ellul's view, co-opted by technique.