Launching The Grid: Art Powers Technology

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

Dec 4, 2019 | Gray Area Theatre, San Francisco

On December 4, 2019, ‘The Grid’ was launched at the Gray Area Theater in San Francisco. The launch was celebrated as a great success by all partners and marked the first public appearance of EUNIC Silicon Valley, the recently founded EU cluster for art and technology. The content-packed evening served primarily as a matchmaking event for local partners from the local arts communities.

The co-authors of The Grid’s Art + Tech Report 2019, Dr. Nadav Hochman and Alex Reben, presented the findings of their three-months long investigation with a clear set of recommendations to introduce new ways of collaboration between artists and technologists. Afterwards, cartographer Victoria Beckley demonstrated how artists, technology companies, and technologists can #GetOnTheGrid by pinning themselves on an open-source virtual map that helps facilitate interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration.

Furthermore, three impulse presentations from the perspective of an entrepreneur (the Austrian designer Julia Körner), an institution (Christian Lölkes from ZKM Karlsruhe), and an artist (Alex Reben) demonstrated innovative approaches using art thinking for tech development processes.

A round of experts discussed the question of whether art can counteract the dehumanization of technology: Kenric McDowell, Head of arts and machine intelligence program at Google Arts + Culture; Christine Payne, author of MuseNet at OpenAI; Aza Raskin, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology; Jeremy Crandell, former program director of Burning Man Project; and Melissa Huerta, Senior Program Manager at the Mozilla Foundation.

Finally, the members of EUNIC Silicon Valley gathered on stage with their local partner organizations to wrap up the evening with a clear “call to action”: #GetOnTheGrid and stay connected!

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