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Journal Article

Where Art and Technology Meet

01 Jan 2017-Research-technology Management (Industrial Research Institute Inc.)-Vol. 60, Iss: 1, pp 2
TL;DR: Art in Residence (AIR) as discussed by the authors is a program that brings artists into companies to work at close quarters with scientists and engineers, and it has been used extensively in the past few decades.
Abstract: In his writings about what he described as "the two cultures," the novelist and civil servant C. P. Snow described what he saw as an intellectual chasm between individuals qualified in science and those trained in the humanities in mid 20th-century Britain. He argued that scientists knew more about the arts than arts graduates knew about science, pointing out that very few individuals who lacked scientific training could understand--or even quote--the laws of thermodynamics. Things are different today. Arts majors may still be unfamiliar with thermodynamics, but many of them feel comfortable with the products of modern computer and communications technology; it's not uncommon for professional artists to integrate coding, 3D printing, and other technologies into their processes and products. Sculptor Scott Kindall, for example, has an understanding of code and looks for ways to combine it with his sculptural metier. Jeffrey Thompson, director of the Visual Arts and Technology program at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, has a similar background. "As an artist, a lot of my work is about technology, involving personal and poetic relationships," he says. "I use a lot of technical tools in my work, writing a lot of code, using tools in a functional way, and exploring them from a critical perspective." At the same time, the focus on STEM topics from elementary school on means that engineers and scientists often lack much knowledge of arts and humanities, and with it the broad sensibilities of the gentlemen-amateur scientists of Snow's era. Amid broader questions about the effects of that separation in disciplines, the firms responsible for many of today's technological innovations increasingly see the value of introducing artistic sensibilities into their wares and their cultures. Indeed, as in many other things, Apple's Steve Jobs was a leader in this area. Discussing the quality of the Macintosh, Jobs once noted that "people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world." That awareness has resulted in an increasing number of Artist-in-Residence (AIR) programs that bring artists into companies to work at close quarters with scientists and engineers. While different companies run their AIR programs in different ways, each typically gives its resident artists the opportunity to mix with scientists and engineers, study and use the firm's technology, create works of art in their own specialty, perhaps have some input on product designs, and generally contribute to the firm's creative culture. The concept is intended to benefit both artist and company and, at least indirectly, the corporate bottom line. "There's a clear business case to be made for AIR--the tangible effect on the culture of the institutions," says Thompson, whom Nokia Bell Labs appointed as its first artist-in-residence in the middle of 2016. Bell Labs is just one of several high-tech sponsors of AIR programs. Elsewhere, Autodesk, a California company that creates software for 3D printers, manufacturing plants, construction sites, and architects, has an ambitious program that twice a year brings in 16 artists for four-month terms of residence at its offices in San Francisco's Pier 9. Facebook has a largely unpublicized program in which artists produce works for the company to display. Google, meanwhile, recruits data artists, who translate digital information that they or others have gathered into works of art, for its residential program. The nonprofit research world also offers artist residencies. CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland, and the US Department of Energy's Fermilab both bring in artists for short terms of service. And the Los Angeles County Museum of Art runs a hub that pairs artists with science-based organizations such as NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and SpaceX. …
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A generative biological–digital mirror was architected by which the viewers see their faces resynthesized as the result of the interactions between the artificial remodelled differentiation processes and the participants’ activities at the project’s physical place and its Twitter page.
Abstract: Bio-pixels is a stem cell-based interactive–generative interface designed to investigate the concept of ‘self-making’. The project uses stem cells as a biological prototype of an identity-free subs...

7 citations

References
More filters
Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A generative biological–digital mirror was architected by which the viewers see their faces resynthesized as the result of the interactions between the artificial remodelled differentiation processes and the participants’ activities at the project’s physical place and its Twitter page.
Abstract: Bio-pixels is a stem cell-based interactive–generative interface designed to investigate the concept of ‘self-making’. The project uses stem cells as a biological prototype of an identity-free subs...

7 citations