Art and Tech

On Saturday the Gotham Gal and I attended Seven On Seven, a Rhizome project sponsored by AOL and held at The New Museum. Seven On Seven pairs seven notable artists with seven notable technologists. The seven two person artist/technologist teams are given 24 hours to develop and present a project. We attended the presentations on Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday, our son joined us and we attended the ITP spring show where NYU ITP students show off their senior projects. I’ve been attending the ITP spring show for quite a while now and it is one of my favorite technology demonstration events of the year.

Both events were showcasing what happens when art and technology come together. And both events provided glimpses into the future of technology and society. These projects could turn into startups, a number of the ITP projects have. But most of what we saw this weekend was art in the sense that it is intended to inspire and push boundaries more than have a commercial purpose.

It is not easy to try to stay out ahead of the curve in web innovation. And that is something I try very hard to do. I have found that these artistic exhibits are quite helpful for me in that pursuit. I would encourage everyone who is working in and around web startups, either as an investor or as an entrepreneur, to spend time attending events like these. There are no crystal balls in this business but art is as close a proxy as I’ve found.


Comments (Archived):

  1. gregorylent

    ¬†new media, as it’s called, is doing amazing things with tech, and often with no thoughts about the new religion called “startup”. ūüôā

  2. wfjackson3

    ¬†Fred,What are some other types of art events you would recommend for people that don’t live in cities where they have the ITP programs? ¬†I am only just starting to get into discovering art that inspires me, but access to these sort of mashup programs seems pretty limited to certain areas of the country.

    1. Steve Hallock

      Get on the mailing lists of the best galleries and museums in your area and see which events seem interesting to you. ¬†Most big cities have great shows at least a couple times/year.If you’re not in or near a big city, it’s very tough. ¬†There are a lot of¬†dilettantes¬†in the art world – the real value and inspiration is created mostly at the top of the pyramid. ¬†That being said, you can always get lucky and catch a great artist when he’s young – they come from everywhere!

      1. Guest

        Hopefully, one day soon you guys can discover great art through Artseeka, an art-spotting app I’m launching in the coming weeks.¬† The irony is that I was supposed to go to the ITP show tonight but I’m in working on getting this thing shipped.Steve, what do you mean by “the real value and inspiration is created mostly at the top of the pyramid”?¬† If you’re talking about financial value, then perhaps your right.¬† One of my goals with Artseeka is to allow “value” to democratically bubble up at all ends of the spectrum. The problem in the art world (which has been leveled by the internet with other media), is that value exists only when a high price tag is attached. I’d like to change that.

        1. Steve Hallock

          Cool. ¬†Looking forward to seeing the app.What I mean is that artists are like any other entrepreneurs. ¬†There are a lot of people with good ideas. ¬†There are less people with talent. ¬†There are even fewer with good ideas, talent, and a really big vision. ¬†And even fewer with all of that plus the persistence and skills to make their big visions happen.Like startup entrepreneurs, those are the artists who inspire me. It’s incredibly hard work to completely follow through on a big vision and make something out of nothing with great scale.

          1. atryon

            I look forward to seeing the web and other efforts change all that. I agree that there are a lot of self titled “artists” out there, but a smaller number with great talent. The problem is the few that receive recognition are often not the best talents – they are the best promoters.¬†I think technology will help level this – giving others the ability to easily promote the work they love so the artists can focus on producing it.¬†

          2. Steve Hallock

            Perhaps it’s a controversial position, but I feel that in order to be considered a “great” artist in the current world, you have to have the skills to get yourself known. ¬†It’s too easy to blame the system.It’s ironic to have this discussion here because I really do believe in order to be a great artist you have to have a lot of elements of a great entrepreneur. ¬†It’s not enough to have a great product and not follow it through to success. ¬†Of course there are exceptions, but in general I believe that anyone can succeed if they have the necessary skills.

          3. randomlobster

            I think throughout most of human history charm* (especially in absence of the right lineage) has been very important for any kind of success. Internet has changed that a bit. But I don’t see some one very talented in any field, but without some charm, making it to a decent degree in pre-modern times. It happens to some extent now, some great hackers and founders are not what some may say as charming. But being that still helps.And sure they are some naked empty self-promoters who are not much good too.* I am probably not using the right word. I don’t imply the social, friendly disposition. But just that general thing which some people can lack today and still be¬†immensely¬†successful.

          4. Mark Essel

            We need more self title artists!Every artist titled by others begins as self titled, or at least as someone experimenting and struggling with an irresistible calling.Same goes for web developers, designers and founders. The more the merrier ūüôā

    2. ShanaC

      ¬†If you are looking for specifically new media based art, and don’t mind reading marxist stuff along the way – the central mailing list that I see constantly referred to is Nettime (¬†

      1. wfjackson3

        Thanks Shana. I will have to check google to see if there is some sort of marxist content filter I can use…¬†

    3. Guest

      Willis, KC has Kemper Museum. Get on their mailing list for upcoming events. The Nelson Atkins Museum has a young professionals auxillary too. They do a variety of special events, not sure if any of these events are like this ITP that Fred went to with his family.

      1. wfjackson3

        Geoffrey,The NYU ITP program is a masters degree program that offers what I can only describe as a mashup of arts and other fields in a semi-student led study field. ¬†Dennis Crowley has said before that Foursquare (and Dodgeball) is just an experiment on building what they wrote in a 100 page thesis for that program. ¬†Last year at Big Omaha he said they were about as far as page 10 or 15 or something like that.I don’t think we have anything like that in KC.¬†

        1. Guest

          Sounds like there is an opportunity for someone to build something like that in KC area then. KC Art Institute could be a player too.[ Update: For me personally, I get inspired by all kinds of art. I have never been to a ‘mashup’ style event I don’t think but I find inspiration in all kinds of artistic works & endeavors. ]

    4. jakilevy

      Check out – it’s a new site, but lists events, news, and ongoings in the #artstech world

  3. ash bhoopathy

    Great point. ¬†I’d also through student projects at the IIT Institute of Design and the associated design strategy conference into the mix, if you’re able to get out to Chicago. ¬†I think that the end of year show at the CMU program in Pittsburgh and the MIT Media lab in Boston are also pretty good.I think that the end of year show at the CMU program in Pittsburgh and the MIT Media lab in Boston are also pretty good.

    1. randomlobster

      We even had a course (Art that learns) that I never got to attend, which was more specific in that it melded machine learning with art. Though some of the projects which came out of it are used as art installations in our new CS building at CMU. Though I am pretty sure that they are more nerdy and less appealing to the general public, as opposed to the ones in ITP.¬†Any links to ITP one would be cool.Fred: I recently discovered the blog. It’s great, almost a public service for kids like me.

      1. ShanaC

         I wish I knew machine learning for one particular project stuck in my head

      2. ash bhoopathy

        I have friends at all of the different programs, and I’m an alum of the IIT program. I was considering CMU, the media lab, and IIT. CMU’s is way cool-geeky-technical, and has cool service design program, but I wouldn’t say that a lot of it was venture worthy. MIT media lab was similar– Very art oriented. I remember looking at a lot of projects feeling puzzled and thinking “gee whiz” that’s cool but what’s the point. Ultimately I ended up checking out IIT’s program because it was the most pragmatic and I think there are a treasure trove of venture worthy concepts that come out of there all the time. Surprisingly, I’ve noted that many of my colleagues haven’t been as interested in the startup world and end up going into consulting at shops like IDEO. I wonder if it’s the same for ITP alumni?–ash bhoopathy | 484 868 0246 | @AshBhoopathy |

        1. randomlobster

          Art that learns course (and the installations that came out of it) was more CS/ML focused as opposed HCI or Design. But yes, CMU is very geeky and academic in general. Even the School of Fine Arts stuff is not very practical.As for the startup world, I see that CMU is very job focused. Besides I find that academic pressures at CMU don’t leave much room to be creative, especially for CS undergrads. It’s a decent place to get¬†rigorously¬†trained though.

        2. ShanaC

          You need to change your signature.I keep seeing practical ideas coming out of ITP, and I think a couple have been venture backed already…¬†

  4. Steve Hallock

    ¬†Sounds very cool.I grew up knowing and being exposed to lots of business people, but with insignificant exposure to art. ¬†I am now married to a brilliant and very successful artist (I figure I’m allowed to brag about my wife!). ¬†The exposure that has provided not only to art and culture, but the people who are creating the great art and culture, has fundamentally changed me as an entrepreneur and businessman in countless ways.I can’t imagine a more relevant and valuable passion for anyone looking to create value in the world.

    1. ShanaC

       Ok, some of those links are extremely extremely cool

  5. Anthony Hartman

    Coming from an art background, I think that art does what great technology should, and often does do, and that’s inspire. ¬†In designing the platform for my new tech project I can only strive to do the same. I think that in either case, in art as in technology, if you inspire your fan/user base then your fan/user base will contribute to your project ten fold.

  6. William Mougayar

    That sounds like a great combination. Is there a place online where we can see what’s emerging from these collaborations?¬†

  7. Donna Brewington White

    Love this partnership between art and technology! It’s a match that makes perfect sense.Maybe not exactly what you are referring to, but I am excited about and impressed by what¬†@ScotterC:twitter¬†and his co-founder are doing with ¬†¬†¬†— online art gallery with pieces that you can try or buy. Personally, I think it’s¬†brilliant! ¬†I suspect I’ll have one of their pieces on my wall before long. ¬†For a CTO, Scott is quite the salesman.BTW, love this quote:”There are no crystal balls in this business but art is as close a proxy as I’ve found.”Tweeting it now!

    1. Scott Carleton

      Thanks for the shoutout Donna! ¬†It’s been great to see how many people have identified with what we’re doing and we’ve just gotten started!¬†

      1. leigh

        oh that’s very¬†interesting. ¬†My mom worked at a premier Canadian Art¬†Gallery (Called the Ba- xi)¬†¬†growing up so i’ve always been surrounded by it. ¬†I made a pledge couple years ago that¬†every time¬†something major happened in my life I would buy a piece of Canadian art (marriage, sold two properties my son being born etc.). ¬†Having trouble finding the right piece this last event (my father’s death last summer) and your start-up would have been perfect. ¬†Well there will surely be more events to come so hurry up and come to Toronto. ¬†Lots of incredible art and¬†artists¬†up here too ūüôā

        1. Scott Carleton

          ¬†We’re on our way :)I’ve seen some fantastic art coming out of the Toronto area. ¬†Can’t wait to expand!

    2. markslater

      A friend of mind is also doing something interesting @caseyrankin:disqus  is building Рcheck out the video Рthats him and his girlfriend. Really simple and great idea -creating frictionless commerce in an opaque marketplace.i hope they can pull it off.

  8. Scott Carleton

    ¬†I’m feeling quite bullish on the art world myself ;)The ITP spring show was awesome. ¬†I missed you there on Sunday Fred. ¬†Great seeing the use of Kinects and that one artist who had a community board of sounds with different characters was incredible.

  9. David Gilford

    Seeing this post upon getting home from ITP tonight, your description rings true and could indeed be a subtitle for the Spring Show: “what happens when art and technology come together.”As ubiquitous as Xbox Kinects and iPads are becoming, the things people are doing with them at ITP go beyond what Microsoft or Apple could anticipate or develop in-house. ¬†These projects, driven by passion and curiosity,¬†offer just a glimpse into how technology can change our interactions with the world.To pick just one example, “Budget Climb” ( created a physically interactive data environment where people can explore 26 years of federal spending data by moving themselves around (again building on Kinect hardware and a community of hackers and innovators).Watching an 8-year-old interact with “games” such as this,¬†you can imagine how technology combined with art can change not only business and entertainment, but government and society as well.These innovators and experimenters may not yet have a business model,¬†but that is no reason to discount their transformational power.

    1. ShanaC

       I loved that piece, Though if I had to make any change to it, I would want the piece to give me some pushback about the politics of the budget and the deficit.

  10. ShanaC

    ¬†So I partially disagree with you about the ITP show (I literally just came back from that show). There is definitely not enough theory education going on, and it shows up in chunks of the work and in chunks of the¬†discussions¬†I had with people (though it is better than last year, I saw more¬†pieces¬†that I like). ¬†I did see a lot of stuff there that I think did emphasize more of an art attack.I’ve never been to the rhizome project (though my plan is to be in the artbase by the end of the year!!! I finally got my creativity back!!). ¬†I did see David Karp’s work up at the New Musuem. ¬†I hated it, and not in the way I hate Jenny Holzer (her work is arresting and pisses you off on purpose, which is what makes it brilliant). ¬†It makes me so annoyed about some of the lack of growth in this field.I get the feeling whenever I am looking at this stuff, that we are really really not pushing the technical and artistic limits of New Media art. ¬†I want to see art about algorithms, I want to see art that admits to the policalization of big data, I want to see a real understanding through art of the information age.*sigh* Then again, I’m the proud owner of Phaidon’s “Art and electronic Media”, know what “shoot an iraqi” (Info:¬†… is, and know that one of the first location based games was “Can You See Me Now?” by blast theory. ¬†(… ¬†(also total sidenote in my head…why does it seem like everyone I read about in Nettimes is a european? ¬† Where are the amazing media centric Americans???)

    1. sigmaalgebra

      Art about algorithms?(1) The movement of a high end, mechanical Swiss watch.¬† So, it’s a ‘finite state machine’ that goes “tick, tick, tick” and shows seconds, minutes, hours, phases of the moon, etc.Artistic sense:¬† A beautifully made mechanical thing that has lots of very subtle functionality.(2) Matrix inversion via Gauss elimination.¬† At each step in the algorithm, print out the data and make it into a movie.¬† Will see a nice evolution of the pattern of numbers that start out garbage but end up with lots of 0’s and 1’s.Artistic sense:¬† A powerful and inevitable case of getting order out of chaos.(3) Lagrangian relaxation with two Lagrange multipliers.¬† If the primal problem is maximization, then the dual problem is minimization of a convex function.¬† The surface of the graph of the convex function and the region above it is closed and convex and can be approximated as closely as we please with supporting planes.Each step in the algorithm tacks on one more plane.So, at each step, have some computer graphics that shows the convex function and the planes with some partial transparency.Make a movie out of the steps.Artistic sense:¬† See something nice and smooth and convex made from lots of seemingly wild and violent slices.(4) The martingale convergence theorem.¬† A martingale is a stochastic process.¬† With not very severe assumptions, it converges, but each sample path converges to something else.So, make a movie where start 100 sample paths at the same time and then watch them all converge to points that initially are wildly unpredictable.Artistic sense:¬† Hidden, powerful, seemingly inevitable order from chaos.(5) Have a linear digital filter with a frequency response of a nice orchestra tone.¬† Pass white noise through that filter.¬† At each sample, look at the sample power spectrum of the output and play that as a musical note.Listen to the noise, different for each trial, converge to the orchestra sound.Artistic sense:¬† Beauty from chaos.(6) Least cost network flows.¬† Display a large network, that is, arcs connecting nodes.¬† Make the arcs directional.¬† Give each arc a cost per unit of flow and a maximum flow as an integer.Have some nodes bring flow into the network, some other nodes bring flow out of the network, and have flow conservation at the other nodes.¬† Have the flows in be whole numbers.Then apply W. Cunningham’s ‘strongly feasible’ min-cost network flow algorithm.¬† At each step, there will be a spanning tree of nodes.¬† The tree will continue to evolve in very tricky ways.¬† So, make a movie showing each step.Artistic sense:¬† Something really complicated being attacked by something much simpler, the spanning trees, that keep changing but always end up with the same tree and, thus, illustrate more order from complexity.(7) Fractal Landscape.¬† Start with a desert.¬† Add a few simple fractal clouds and a few random points, say, as rain drops.¬† Make fractal surfaces out of the points.¬† Add points from more rain drops and refine and grow the fractal surfaces.Have the surfaces slowly grow in height and complexity.¬† Add some fractal fog.¬† Color the surfaces based on altitude with desert brown on the bottom, lush green at the intermediate altitudes, and snow caps on top.¬† Also grow the clouds.At the end, have the clouds and fog evaporate and leave just the landscape.Artistic sense:¬† Beautiful complexity evolves from randomness with clouds and rain starting with a stark, flat, empty desert.(8) Music appears.¬† Take a piece of familiar music that ends big sound, say, something from ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’.Partition the frequency spectrum into, say, 100 narrow bands.At random pick one band and set its power spectrum to 1 and set all the other bands to power spectrum of 0.Play the music so filtered.At random, change the bands one at a time that are still at 0 gradually to 1.The music will start as noise but will slowly gain clarity and end with the full, familiar sound.Artistic sense.¬† Resolving complex normalcy from emptiness.¬†

      1. randomlobster

        And then there is also that beautiful intersection of art, algorithms and real world (more precisely social networks).I love these three:- The Small-World Phenomenon: An Algorithmic Perspective- The ‚ÄúNew‚ÄĚ Science of Networks- Multiscale, resurgent epidemics in a hierarchical metapopulation modelThe simulated graphs alone in the last paper are pretty. And to talk of brevity in description, I find it a little sad that graphs that come from most social network based models I know of get more pretty with increasing complexity.

        1. ShanaC

          Art doesn’t have to be pretty. ¬†And the fact that you are sad about these graphs points to the fact that you can/should make ¬†a point with the data. ¬†What does “ugly complexity that you can’t stop staring at, it is so arresting” look like to you? ¬†And why does the complexity bother you that you think it shouldn’t be a pretty picture

      2. ShanaC

        What does this say about the process of making art 

        1. sigmaalgebra

          My usual, first-cut, ‘operational’ definition of ‘art’ is “communication, interpretation of human experience, emotion”.You asked for “Art about algorithms”, and I gave some candidate examples.A major theme in several areas of math is showing some ‘convergence’.¬† So, what start with might be a mess, but from the convergence end up with some one thing anyway.¬† So, there can be an ‘artistic sense’ of getting order from chaos.¬† For one more step, as in E. Fromm, the central problem of life is getting security from the anxiety from our realization that we are vulnerable to the hostile forces of nature and society.¬† So, chaos can be seen as an example of such hostile forces.¬† The convergence can be seen as something stable, predictable, and secure evolving from the chaos.¬† So, the “human experience” communicated is getting security from chaos which could be comforting, i.e., reduce the anxiety.For the “process” of creating art, from my definition, start with some “human experience, emotion” and communicate and/or interpret it.From some algorithms, if use them in selected ways as analogs, then can get cases of “human experience, emotion”.¬† Then for the “process” of creating the art, just display the working of the algorithm so that that “human experience, emotion”. can be communicated to, and interpreted by, others.But my appreciation of art is meager, and my ability to create it is much worse.Broadly, though, for much of the drive and accomplishment of humans in math, science, and technology, it is common for there to be a “human experience, emotion” of seeking security, physical, material, social, emotional, from “the hostile forces of nature and society”.¬† That is, it is common for nerds to be have emotions motivating them.¬† So, in the “process” of creating art related to “algorithms”, for the emotions to communicate or interpret, start with those that commonly motivate nerds.So, that’s a “process” for creating art from algorithms.Good art?¬† I doubt it!

          1. ShanaC

            Actually, good art can come from very similar places 

    2. fredwilson

      the best thing to do when you get annoyed by the lack of creativity is to engage and provide some of your own. maybe this is where you should focus some of your effort shana.  

      1. ShanaC

        That hit me last night, and actually has been throbbing at the base of my head for a while. ¬†I finally am feeling more like parts of myself again (confidence is everything in these sorts of things)If you got any thoughts about the words “alphabet” or “characters” this would be a good time to let me know ūüėČ

        1. fredwilson

          i like that the chinese alphabet characters are entire words. makes itpossible to say a lot more in 140 characters

          1. ShanaC

            hmm, i may have a vague idea in there for something 

    3. student

      Bilal is a professor at NYU, and came to speak at ITP a couple of months ago. And I am well aware of blast theory. There was ITP centric location-aware games work done before Foursquare. I agree that we should think more critically about big data and move past pretty “data visualization” in the thought stream on that subject. But don’t worry-there’s more to us than blinky lights.-ITP student

      1. ShanaC

        ¬†I really wish I could meet Wafaa Bilal. ¬†Seems like an interesting guy.I know there are students at ITP that do care more than the blinking light (I saw a bunch of projects that definitely fit more into the “thinking about this subject” than not, and definitely more projects that did well in this regard than last year…no idea why that is)I keep looking because I keep wondering if long term it is the right type of program for me long term, when I know I am negative on these sorts of subjects. ¬†Despite the fact that on a material skills level I love ITP, I’ve actually sat down with some people and have been trying to figure out if their solution to the problem is the right one for me.

      2. ShanaC

        Also, I apologize for sounding a bit rude

  11. ShanaC

     Also, if anyone knows anyone who wants to do media based art let me know!  I want bounce around ideas with people

    1. randomlobster

      I am working on a project where people will create art about media.¬†It is in some sense a meta-art.¬†Currently the focus is on movies. And there are some algorithms which automagically give a rough estimate of aesthetics, which along with crowdsourced measures would be used to rank them. So if someone is a cinephile and likes creating visuals, they may like it.¬†What’s the point: well art need not have any purpose, but the end result here is to use this meta-art for a beautiful kind of browsing/ exploration. In a sense it’s opposite of the stuff done by and others.It will take another month for the alpha to get done. It’s web-based, and if anyone would like to give that a try in a month, do reply here.¬†ShanaC: Sending you a mail.

      1. ShanaC

         Sent you mail.  And I think you made my day when you told me there are algorithms that can roughly judge aesthetics



    1. Donna Brewington White

      I forget how funny you are.  And graphic. 

    2. ShanaC

      you have no idea 

  13. Guest

    Art!  Sweet post! I am not long winded tonight I guess.

  14. daryn

    For many years I was involved with a good friend’s project “Born Magazine” ( ) which married tech & design with prose & poetry. The¬†collaborations¬†were pretty amazing.¬†

  15. BuyGiftsItems

    These innovators and experimenters may not yet have a business model, but that is no reason to discount their transformational power.Kamagra

  16. Ivan Vecchiato

    When art and technology come together, new suggestions and motivations rise for both tech men and artists. I give you an example of what I’m saying:…This is a virtual visit of the “Canal Grande”, the main waterway of my wonderful Venice.This is an art exhibition but, as my friend Marco, who conceived it, says, it is a mixture of technology, history and poetry.When a technologist is involved in a project like this, different kind of ideas come to his mind, no matter if he is reusing code and techniques, because if he is aware of being inside history, poetry and visual expression he exploits his knowledge in a someway “valuable” way.

  17. Mark Mc Laughlin

    Fred. Block T in Dublin… always has good exhibitions similar to the below. The fact that an increasing number of start up founders went to art school and not from an engineering background is an encouraging trend as the focus moves increasingly to design and UI.¬†

    1. fredwilson

      that’s a big part of the NYC tech scene too Markart is increasingly important in the tech business¬†

  18. RichardF

    Two of my favourite periods in history are the Classical age and the Renaissance.  During both of these periods there was a strong mix of the arts, philosophy and science. Like a big mashup! To get to the bigger picture I think you do need to embrace all strands of thinking.Science Fiction writing can be a bit of a crystal ball I think.

    1. fredwilson

      yes, Snowcrash is a bit of a bible around our firm

  19. Dave W Baldwin

    Glad you posted this Fred.A piece of advice from an artist on the sound side regarding the¬†Art for Sale vs Original & Inspiring.Shostakovich was quite the composer stuck in a government that¬†was very totalitarian.¬† What emerged was a pattern where¬†one work was well within the USSR ideals (boring), alternating with the more ‘on the fringe’.If your livelihood depends on art, produce¬†several pieces where you have the mix of what gains attention, what sells and the ‘on the edge’.@twitter-19274150:disqus¬†@wmoug:disqus¬†@donnawhite:disqus¬†@ShanaC:disqus¬†@randomlobster:disqus¬†@atryon:disqus¬†the best way for art is utilizing the random.¬† This is the true reason to wed the artist with the programmer for programmers see everything too 2 dimensional (1s & 0s).¬† Proving that math¬†establishes all things in order is, well, not exciting.¬† Hence, writing algorithms too prove you can isn’t the point.¬† Writing those algorithms to push toward random works is the key.Talked to a probable investor yesterday, catching him up and explained my idea where it comes down¬†to changing from the 2 dimensional over to the third.¬†¬†I plan to work on that per promise to a couple of people made this week.¬† This friend is an MIT alumn in engineering and he thought it a good idea.The problem with Classical is it is too much like Baroque¬†with too many rules where the Renaissance promoted free thought where later in the Romantic you painted murals in the mind that would change in color and shape per the observer… in a sense, mulitple works happening and growing with the increasing size of audience and what’s going on when the observation takes place.The real fight comes when the ‘critics’ take something that is 3D (or 4D) chopping it up into ‘normal’ so they come off as the expert.¬† This immediately limits the true life/scope of the work.¬† Then the writings of the critic are taught vs. what it was the artist was truly after.For those worried about their geographical point of locale, remember we are in a different age where what is happening somewhere else can be shared with other locales… it only our slowness that forces it not being in real time.

    1. randomlobster

      Yes, what is beautiful for a programmer (or math guy) is not what is beautiful for most people. People prefer concrete, which is probably why the appeal of music or art is far more universal- you don’t have to be a artist to appreciate art, but in most cases you have to be know a specific domain of math to appreciate something beautiful there. For instance the beauty of examples by sigmaalgebra or me is not accessible to almost anyone not familiar with those topics.And yes, people like to chop something multidimensional (at least for the creator) to a simpler model which can be aptly explained by prevailing jargon. It’s not just critics who do that, and it is a standard way to upman someone used in most areas.As for the angle I was trying to bring to art and tech, it’s not just algorithms that can do something pretty. It’s using the power of people to create art. I work with someone who almost brought the idea of crowdsourcing to the technology mainstream. It’s a bit funny that it is a buzzword today, but no one seems to have noticed this: look at reddit or 4chan and you begin to see how creative people can be. A way for people to easily create useful art, and channeling the results properly can create something¬†significant.I may not be the one who will profit from this angle, but I want to see what the power of people¬†collaborating/ contributing* on a large scale¬†can do to art. And that is why I bring it up here.¬†* Efforts like fractal flames and deviantart are still old-style contributions, as opposed to the kind that Wikipedia brought.

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        You are right… my post was not meant as critique, just something to think about.Where you’re¬†coming¬†from is if¬†over the mobiles, PC’s and WebTV’s you could present a canvas where the act of throwing wad of color at the canvas could be done once by anyone.Break that down into their having the ability to get crazy with the tint of the wad, going beyond the primaries, though the mixing of the random primaries will form tints anyway.Then you have original random, yet 2D.As we move forward and¬†the wads begining to lump/run/splatter starting¬†gain¬†depth along with length and width, you move a step forward.Then you start to have something that can be looked at from different angles, distance, including from below upward.Hang in there regarding the money thing.¬† A real vision¬†is worth much more than throwing money at old hat¬† ;D¬†¬†

    2. wfjackson3

      I am with you, but most programmers don’t see the world in binary. ¬†That is us electrical engineers ūüė鬆

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Ha, good one!¬† You know I’m using¬†exxageration to show perspective.OTH, at a conference in Memphis a ways back, I talked of my¬†thoughts where down the road (10+/-) moving into a liquid (with¬†heavier¬†density) set up that would be more nano scale (starting bigger)¬†ball like RAM component with info related orbiting, those todbits being more femto in size.¬† If you have those components in a more fluid set up, the charges would work….at least this would be more brainlike.A gentleman from East Europe (very much a genius) was about to get into a fist fight with me and all the geeks surrounded.¬† I thought MAN!¬†¬†So those guys are more binary than you think…¬†and some won’t appreciate my use of¬†stacked circuit boards vs. a more hydro approach as a means of analogy.¬†

  20. Guest

    I had to smile at notion of converging thoughts. @Tednews:twitter  on twitter just sent out this link related to tech-inspired interactive art

  21. Mhermann8916

    For those interested in this subject, I suggest reading Daniel Pink’s ¬†“A Whole New Mind.”

  22. panterosa,

    As a RISD grad/artist/designer I often feel reading AVC every morning that I am a total outsider, which is not all bad. But with today’s post I feel very at home here, and I am loving ¬†having this cross section recognized. Blending art and design in a new business, which is the space I am working in, is very exciting. The artist’s mind reaches for ideas, and pushes technology along with it.I had the privilege of knowing well the creators of Emergency Broadcast Network at RISD, and then and now, and other such artists.The conversations with those creators about their work, others’ work, and my work, continue to be the most interesting and exploratory.¬†If only we made more money we would make you more art. Fix that and you will all be happier. Art moves life forward.

    1. markslater

      wow – have not heard about EBN in a long time! We did a bunch of shows with them. My brother was a 93 RISD grad. Fun times they were! Shephard Ferry was in the mix then too. I think you’ll also find Jon Adams (early twitter fame) played with them.¬†we’re all secretly artists!

      1. panterosa,

        ¬†They were good times. I think I met you then. If you are nostalgic for EBN video projection props then check out the Baby Grand Master, which live mixes video. It’s very cool.http://www.babygrandmaster….

  23. reece

    i hit up ITP on Sunday and saw some great web stuff, but some cool projects that could definitely get going on KickStarter…great to see the creativity there. ¬†definitely makes me look at that group as a talent pool for the future…¬†

    1. fredwilson

      Web may be old hat. Internet isn’t though

      1. reece


  24. J.R. Sedivy

    This reminded me of one of the Apple Keynote slides which illustrated the intersection of Technology and Liberal Arts. Truly unique innovation will emerge from the combination of fields which appear unrelated.  

  25. paramendra

    David Karp was at one of these a year or two back, participating, I remember reading somewhere. 

  26. DJ999

     wondering what you think about how this relates to social.

  27. Tr Ludwig

    I went on Sunday too. It was amazing to see some of the ideas. Probably most impressive were the Kinect hacks with sound and motion. A true idea lab.

    1. fredwilson

      i love kinnect hacks in general

  28. Doug Kersten

    Your comments are very interesting here since I have just been doing some work with¬† Arduino’s and they actually were developed by artists for use in their projects and transitioned into the tech/web world.¬† Open-Source electronic prototyping and wireless sensor networks are very exciting areas for me, where I can envision phenomenal growth opportunities.

  29. commercialdoorcompany

    think you’ll also find Jon Adams (early twitter fame) played with them.¬†Roll-up Doors

  30. Imran Ali

    This is one of the reasons we have an art programme very closely tied to our tech conference programme at FutureEverything‚Ķ the intersection of art and tech can provide a large scale, public ‘lab’ that reveals and surfaces fragments of the future ūüôā

  31. ShanaC

    I have this idea stuck in my head that it would be awesome to do machine learning on “the best 100 photographs”*, attach said data to a hacked camera, and it¬†occurred¬†to me last night that I should put the camera on all terrain wheels. ¬†what kind of picture do you think it would take? ¬†I want to see those photos. Would they fit into the “cannon” of good photos?*The best 100 photographs are a semi-arbitrary¬†list. Data in, data out issues