Philly’s reputation as an arts hub is beginning to share the spotlight with its technology scene.
Electromagnetic resonators, augmented reality and location-based audio technology for smart phones were just a few of the topics presented at ArtsTechPhilly‘s second official event since the meetup’s inception in July. (Join the Meetup group here.)
Presenters, including postdoctoral research associate at Drexel’s ExCITe Center Ray Migneco, CEO and founder of Lokadot Cliff Stevens and CEO of Perfect Prototype Matt Browning, talked for about 10 minutes each on Tuesday, Oct. 23, about what their respective companies are up to in the interactive tech world.
Artists gathered this week at Rittenhouse coworking space Benjamin’s Desk to listen to the tech lovers’ ideas and see how they could work together to enhance the ways audiences experience art.
“If I’m smart enough about this, I can collaborate with some of these artists of technology to really put into practice more of the conceptual ideas that I have,” 28-year-old Philadelphia artist Vinson Houston said.
Houston mentioned his interest in speaking with Browning about his idea for a new design for skateboards. With Browning’s interactive tech models, like augmented reality, it might lessen the hassle for Houston in his design process.
“The concept’s been sitting for a while,” Houston said. “I would like to run it through a check to see if it would function right in the real world without having to do excess modeling or designing.”
Browning, 37, said his interactive tech company currently works with museums, trade shows and corporate visitor exhibits, but would like to interact more with fine arts.
“My true love has always been fine arts and trying to find a way to get away from the project level and do things more experimental,” Browning said. “To have a different purpose and a different meaning than the educational and the marketing stuff.”
Browning said Kensington-based Perfect Prototype has equally recognized artists who are interested in tech for creative purposes and tech people who have ideas that they want to implement out to artists.
Uri Pierre-Noel, the 20-year-old curator and organizer of ArtsTechPhilly, along with Todd Hestand, said art communities are starting to figure out how to effectively use technology.
“The art world is realizing that everything is being democratized,” Pierre-Noel, executive director of James Oliver Gallery, said. “However, the democratization of the arts has been something that has always been a frightening conversation to have for gallery directors and museum directors. It’s sort of trying to quantify where the value is of seeing art and experiencing art. Is it in person? Is it via tech? And how to collaborate that new world using the web as a platform for that.”