Art/tech scene

Art piece by Sylvie Fleury
An interesting quote seen in this NYT article I saw today:

“I’ve been a bit disappointed by the disconnect between New York City’s art world and technology space,” he wrote in an e-mail later. “It’s extremely rare to see start-up people at gallery openings, for instance.”

There are all sorts of plausible explanations: the tech industry is relatively new (especially in New York); its members are young, busy and most did not plod through four years’ worth of liberal arts syllabuses.

But as many in the art world point out, there is no reason new-media moguls cannot get a remedial art education now.

Why do I blog this? This remark about NYC would totally stand here in the Geneva/Lausanne area. Apart from certain exceptions, I generally feel the same disconnection. Although it’s hard to see what groups we are talking about here (tech moguls, developers, designers, new media artists), I don’t see many connections betweens these different people. When we started Lift a while back, we had intuition that it would be valuable to foster such a mix, and we were right. However, it’s kind of hard, for various reasons. Three of them bother me a lot:

  • The importance of silos here in French-speaking Switzerland (and the francophone countries of Europe I would say): with so many “sub-communities” trying to exist, there is a tendency from people to differentiate themselves from others and not try to be part of a community. For instance, the debate about the difference between interaction designers and new media artists can be problematic for that matter. So… if it’s already hard to bring these two together, how can we expect start-up people to go to art exhibit! That being said, I’m sure there are exceptions.
  • The idea that technology is for technicians and that it’s some sort of dirty thing that art should not really bother about.
  • The fact that art related with digital technologies (video games, new media art pieces…) is part of popular culture, and hence less important than more noble realms of art such as theatre pieces, opera, contemporary dance or literature. Spending time in California for the laboratory activities (and having fun), this looks utterly weird and passé.