July 2019, San Francisco, CA
In June 2019, European cultural institutes from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland in the SF Bay Area formed a new alliance, EUNIC Silicon Valley, in order to explore together the intersection of Art + Tech. In the interest of achieving a meaningful collaboration, we first wanted to explore existing partnership models between the worlds of artists and technologists to then map out the full potential of these relationships. In July, the European Union awarded EUNIC Silicon Valley with a grant within the framework of the European ‘Houses’ of Culture project. This initial funding allowed us to get started and our ambitious initiative ‘The Grid’ was born.
The Grid was established to share lessons learned from investigating different modes and models of collaboration between artists, art institutions, and the tech industry. It furthermore aims at connecting all these actors in order to encourage a productive dialogue.
Silicon Valley is one of the world’s most productive innovation ecosystems. As the seat of the global tech industry, it spearheads technological and scientific progress, leading in pioneering innovation such as artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, AR, VR, XR, wearable technologies, 3D printing, 3D animations, full dome projections, machine olfaction, holography, etc. While these technologies have created enormous excitement and hyped-up expectations, there has also been increasing criticism regarding the lack of artistic content and reflection about the challenges and downsides that these technologies can bring along.
Nevertheless, the San Francisco Bay Area is also a center for numerous arts institutions dedicated to the intersections of science, technology, and creativity. The global tech industry has therefore established numerous arts initiatives, some related to providing content to commercially available technologies, others strongly linked to social impact, yet again others exploring the boundaries of technology and its implications for humanity.
There is a strong need, expressed by many local institutions and actors, to connect all the key players working at the intersection of Art + Tech and help create a vibrant space for creativity with an international and global perspective. Can Europe, drawing on its strong artistic and humanistic heritage, act as an instigator and facilitator by bringing together significant artists, thinkers, and institutional actors from both sides of the Atlantic?
Find out more by joining The Grid! #GetOnTheGrid