Searching for Authenticity

Now that business has concerned itself with “authenticity”, the term may become as meaningless as “natural” is (in the context of commerce).  The discussion about authenticity has transcended the start-up sphere and entered the conference rooms of established conglomerates.  Many of these organizations – comprised of layer upon layer of people with similar backgrounds, credentials and points-of-view – don’t know how to “get real. It’s difficult to transparently engage the purchasing public in such insular, isolated conditions.  

Today’s sophisticated consumer seeks truth and transparency, because the relationship between brand and consumer is like never before. Increasingly, what we do and what we buy is connected to the individual identities we cultivate and ultimately transmit to the world.

WÆRK’s business is built upon the belief that the keys to truthful connections between corporations and their customers are held by artists.  It is artists who possess the tools that connect heart and mind, who can reveal the chimerical facts of human existence in practical form, and who can encourage the conscious exchange of goods and services.

Please visit our What and How pages to learn more about what we do.

After a Night with Patti Smith

Yesterday, Patti Smith’s “M Train” was released.  On Saturday night, I had the awesome pleasure of observing her conversation with David Remnick as part of the New Yorker Festival.  Days later, the thoughts and themes she articulated remain at the forefront of my mind.

Ms. Smith invoked a downtown (Manhattan) that wasn’t a glossy caricature of the artist life, but instead fecund soil for creativity.   She did so in a tone of voice that was suffused with fatigue rather than nostalgia.  Perhaps she was tired of reminding people that there were times when emerging art and outsider artists were vital sources of energy in the city, when the substance of art - not its sheen - was prioritized. 

She warned the audience against the pull of disposable culture, and reminded us that it’s good work and good deeds that endure.  In a world focused on immediacy, how often do we allow ourselves the time to do truly good work?  Do we allot ourselves enough time to contemplate before we render something complete (or comment, or send)?  How focused are we, honestly, on good deeds?  When did we decide that simply looking good was enough?

Technology isn’t the enemy, but it’s not the answer either.  We humans, individuals, communities, are the most powerful forces of advancement, and the arts are the vessel through which this power is best communicated. 

It is the root that holds the magic that makes the flower bloom and bloom again, while petals inevitably shrivel.

I believe that widespread collaborations between the art and technology sectors will lead us to a future we are proud to inhabit.

Sacha Wynne, WӔRK Founder

Book cover image via Amazon

Art, Technology and the Internet of Things. Part 4 of 4.

In Conclusion

Contemporary popular culture – especially music, film and fashion – is dominated by nostalgia: sequels, “reboots”, “reinterpretations”, and “rehashes” are the norm. Could this be the manifestation of fear of the future, because we inherently know that a future dominated by technology, without mediation by the arts and culture, isn’t somewhere that we necessarily want to go?  Are we subconsciously rebelling against the inevitability of the unmediated Internet of Things?

It is important to consider the actual value of the things that we so freely allow to influence our lives. Consider this:  what would a world without social media look like?  Now contemplate a world without arts and culture.  You see, there are limits placed on joy in a life defined by efficiency, while there are no limits to joy in one defined by expression.  Digital technology undoubtedly provides tools that help us to manage our hectic modern lives, but it is the arts and culture that provide sanctuary from its difficulties. 


View Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Photo by bjones27/iStock / Getty Images

Art, Technology and the Internet of Things. Part 3 of 4.

Part Three of our series on Art, Technology and the Internet of Things continues to highlight ways in which inclusion of the arts (or the artistic point-of-view) within the Internet of Things can address technology's shortfalls.

Collaboration as Means to Avoid Miscommunication

As its ability to convey nuance is limited, our increasing use of technology has contributed to fissures due to misunderstandings and fractured interactions between people.  As the arts and culture are the original means through which we communicate complex ideas, increasing their presence within technology may provide access to diverse perspectives, advance understanding, and strengthen the sense of community throughout the worldwide web.

  • By helping us to unravel symbols, the arts and culture encourage the development of greater understanding of the inner workings of the world.
  • The arts and culture encourage observation with all senses, as well as with heart and mind, and transcend language and culture, to connect people fundamentally. 
  • The implications for combining code and pixels with metaphor, rhythm, beat, etc. carry the potential to create both immense beauty and forge previously uncharted bonds. 
  • The arts and culture’s focus on universal truths facilitates cross-cultural translation.  Specifically, it can deepen sharing across platforms and boundaries. This will enable increased empathy for those who are different from ourselves, provide opportunities for collaboration and facilitate understanding of issues foreign to our immediate experiences. 
  • Data may be interpreted into stories.  Stories facilitate understanding and there are no better storytellers than artists. 

Collaboration as Means to Discourage Feelings of Isolation

The online world has exponentially expanded the social circle of the average individual, yet many of us feel alienated, despite maintaining hundreds of friends and attracting dozens of followers.  The arts and culture can help us to build authentic connections, in a world filled with those that are superficial. 

Creativity and imaginativeness are not the exclusive provenance of artists.  However, it is artists who traffic in the certain uncertainties of life, and whose work has the ability to heal, connect and decipher matters of heart and soul.  Our talismans, the song, the scene, the sonnet can successfully cure, strengthen and guide us through adversity and uncertainty in ways that the sciences and technology cannot.

  • Technology can bring people to a place, while art and culture find ways to fundamentally connect the people within a place.
  • Art and culture link not just to something, but profoundly to our emotions and to one another.
  • The incorporation of an arts/culture perspective into technology may encourage people to start showing up for one another, instead of just showing off to one another on social media.

View Part 1 and Part 2.

Photo by KingJC/iStock / Getty Images

STEAM Links Tuesday: Stanford School of Medicine's Compassion Journal

"The first publication of its kind, Compassion Journal offers a comprehensive view of compassion in its many forms — including how compassion is expressed in the arts and literature, the latest in the science of compassion, and the gift of compassion in the daily lives of people all over the world."