Fortuna: Drawing, technology, contingency

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This article explores the relationship between drawing, technology and contingency in three artists' work since the late 1950s, to engage the relationship between forms of artistic labour, the autonomy of the studio, and the internalization of the techniques and tempos of the contemporary life world more broadly. Each artist hybridizes drawing with more modern technological modes: in his solvent transfer method Robert Rauschenberg brought drawing to the condition of collage and into direct contact with the contemporary printed mass media; William Kentridge’s ‘Drawings for Projection’ and his more recent ‘flip-book films’ engage with increasingly obsolete forms of visual communication to explore both the fraught recent history of South Africa and the potentials articulated in physical acts of making; and in her Motion Capture Drawings British artist Susan Morris employs biometric digital technology to generate lines directly from the unconscious movements of the body, measured over extended durations, in a contemporary form of surrealist automatism. While not wishing to propose too close an alignment between these three practices, this article explores the ways in which in each case automatic, contingent, non-conscious, or otherwise ‘dark’ aspects of drawing are brought into focus as drawing is aligned with other more recent technological forms. The implications of this contingent aspect – or fortuna – are examined in the context of the growing power of measurement, quantification and control to structure contemporary life more broadly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-166
Number of pages32
JournalO que nos faz pensar
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Susan Morris
  • William Kentridge
  • Robert Rauschenberg
  • Krcma
  • Drawing
  • Technology
  • Contemporary Art
  • Dante
  • Motion Capture
  • Digital

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