Future of Art … Future of Systems.
In my role as a technology media writer I’ve attended many conferences, typically they’re great for meeting new people, although after a while it’s the same new people, and great for free drinks and canapés, although after a while it’s the same free drinks and canapés, and yes, it all becomes a little bit familiar and samey.
Last week changed all that. I had the absolute pleasure of attending an UnConference, happily, on The Future of the Art Market, organised by Creative United in partnership with various companies including Vastari.com, the Directors of whom I first met back in the startup daze in London.
The brilliant thing about Unconferences is that they’re actually a series of debates, not lectures. No slides, no death by PowerPoint, just engaging, sometimes heated, always intelligent polite and respectful debate. At a conference, if a talk goes on for an hour it’s dreadful. Here at the Future of Art Unconference each hour long session passed too quickly. And from this cauldron of creativity, new ideas emerge, now ways of seeing and thinking are disclosed, people get to know one another and hear other peoples perceptions. Everyone in the room has expertise, everyone has something to learn, and everyone has equal right to speak and share. It’s a brilliant formula for creative sectors to apply. The old fashioned conference with the same speakers and audience format is obsolete.
Rather than spectators and presenters there’s a circular model to the talks, which enables everyone to have input. This meant the attendees were invited to join different talks on different subjects, loosely moderated by the UnConference team. These groups included opening questions such as: In an age of climate change is it justifiable to send artworks around the world by plane? Is Ai art really art? What is the role of data? There was six talks at any one time, I would happily have attended than all but I’d already been drawn into the debate titled ‘What would an ethical supply chain in art look like?’
I was delighted to share my own experiences of adding Humaitarian Interventions into the supply chain to make it hugely more ethical. Each artwork, when purchased, funds an intervention, each intervention is documented and proof provided to the artwork buyer. And here’s where the immutable record keeping system on blockchain can come into play. And indeed, the same system can be used for the adding of humanitarian interventions into any supply chain of any goods or services.
Art is the thought leader in creativity, at least it should be, and included in this Unconference were platforms selling thousands of artworks a month, a blockchain company creating a ‘Fair Trade’ type certification system for the art market, and even some VR art that I found strangely pleasing and totally immersive. There was experts from every level of the art markets and all were equally heard.
I believe the future of art will impact everyone everywhere. There was talk of minimising impacts, but someone, perhaps it was me, suggested the role of art and artists is to maximise impacts, to have a giant footprint, to focus on making the impacts huge and culture defining rather than worrying about trimming the edges off the negatives. Better to place a rock on the positive impact arm of the scales than take a few grains of sand off the negative one.
Creating new systems to change the World. That’s the art of today. Conference organisers please take note.