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.

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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.

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Art, Technology and the Internet of Things. Part 2 of 4.

Last Wednesday, we began a four-part series on "Art, Technology and the Internet of Things".  This installment, Part Two, highlights ways in which inclusion of the arts (or the artistic point-of-view) within the Internet of Things can address technology's societal shortfalls.

Collaboration as a Means to Lengthen Shortened Attention Spans

In our era of iThings, the “i” may well stand for “immediate” or “instant”, instead of “Internet”.  We expect to attain everything we want, on demand, and patience is longer considered a virtue.  Society is suffering for our shrinking attention spans in ways that we may not yet fully understand.  These unrealistic expectations of perpetual immediacy may be tempered by arts-tech partnerships.  For example:

  • The idea of “failing better” can be influenced by the draft /edit process, and may encourage more significant gains in each iteration or “edit” than other methods allow. 
  • Technology can facilitate contemplation and comprehension within the artistic environment, through participatory installations or by encouraging repetitive motion and/or thought as a standalone.
  • Technology can encourage focus by providing access to instruction and digital tools that facilitate amateur arts practice.

Collaboration as Means to Make Sense of the Proliferation of Information

We are in a time of the rise of the know-it-all: we want answers instantaneously, without taking the time to contemplate the world around us. We are trained to search, not to explore.  A perspective informed by the arts and culture can provide a sieve through which the immense volume of digital information and data may be filtered, to deepen understanding.  It is the presence of the arts and culture perspective, alongside technology that will truly empower the relationship between human and machine.

  • The mutability of data lends itself to review by artists and culture bearers, who are trained to expose order among ambiguity. 
  • Data requires interpretation and artists are experts in interpreting the living and the ephemeral.  
  • Analysts are not informed with a critical eye in the way that artists are.  Artists read between the lines to find authenticity.
  •  Artists identify themes that are unarticulated by individuals or groups or unidentifiable by a model or algorithm.

View Part 1.

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