ArtsTech LA (and tumblr page) launch!

Our very own Sharon Ann Lee has been instrumental in bringing the popular ArtsTechMeetup to Los Angeles, where she will serve as  the group's Director (and Tumblr-er).  Here's her latest post about last month's inaugural ArtsTechLA event: ArtsTech-Los-Angeles-Maker-City-LA-1

ArtsTechLA Launches

Last week, we had our very first ArtsTech LA gathering hosted at Maker City LA. We had a fantastic panel including ArtsTechMeetup founder Julia Kaganskiy to kick off our event.  The focus of our first meetup was to showcase a variety of Arts + Tech projects happening in LA and discuss the city’s unique ecology of communities experimenting and making work.

Julia began with the origins of the meetups in NY and how she wanted to bring the disparate communities of arts organizations, startups and tech artists together to share ideas and talk to each other.  She also touched on the Art, Tech, Design incubator she is now heading at the New Museum called New, Inc.  This experimental project is in part a response to the ongoing changes in the ways artists and creative are working today: cross-disciplinary, collaborative, leveraging technology and increasingly straddling the line between culture and commerce.

Amy Heibel shared news of the revival of LACMA’s Arts + Tech Lab which originally ran from 1967-1971 and paired artists like James Turrell, Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg with major tech companies.  The twitterverse was all atwitter as Amy told a story about Oldenburg’s many thwarted attempts to animate his giant hydraulic, pneumatic mechanical icebag. She noted that “a really important part of the Art+Technology program is the pursuit of purposeful failure.”

Mileece, one of Maker City LA’s Artists in Residence shared her work and philosophy of using technology to highlight the dire environmental disaster headed our way.  Her work uses clean energy to produce art objects and immersive experiences that reconnect us to plants, the earth, and each other.

George Bloom shared how Hollywood is using 3D laser scanning to recreate locations that are problematic to shoot like The Great Wall of China and The Vatican.  He also talked about the possibility of pairing laser scanning and the Oculus virtual reality system as a way for artists to create new worlds with very little costs.  Just a few days later, Facebook announced that it was purchasing Oculus.

Bret Nicely talked about how was started to expand the conversation they were having with their audience.  Being “the artist’s museum,” MOCA intended to create content that was compelling to the digital natives of YouTube, not just typical “museum” content with talking heads giving lectures.  The energy of’s collaborations with artists like Bjork and Yung Jake are great examples of how an institution with a clear and relevant POV can reimagine the museum in the digital age.

Mark Allen, founder of Machine Project, one of LA’s longest running experimental incubators, also lit up twitter when he said “there are more artists than the world can pay for.”  At Machine Project, Mark creates artist lead events, classes and experiments that test ideas that may or may not work. The environment is friendly and inclusive, unlike the traditional gallery vibe, allowing the diverse ecosystem of LA’s creative community to experience emerging ideas in progress without judgment or fear of failure.

During the panel discussion, we had some great questions from the community that sparked possible future event topics.

Some themes emerged from this session about the landscape of LA that makes it uniquely hospitable for Arts + Tech .

  1. A variety of small independent projects percolating all over the city—from guerilla radio networks to experimental video games
  2. Direct access and informal collaborations between indie art projects and city institutions
  3. LA’s openness to new ideas, complex thinking, willingness to experiment and fail
  4. LA is known for Hollywood, but it also has deep science and technology roots like JPL and new innovators like Space X
  5. The variety of international communities that call LA home—enriching the city with great food, art, cultural practices and global thinking
  6. A willingness to share information and learnings with the community
  7. The great weather

Thanks to everyone who participated and came to our 1st event.  Judging by the enthusiasm, it looks like LA was really ready for ArtsTech LA to happen.  Apologies to all of you on the wait list who couldn’t get a ticket this time.  Please follow us on twitter  for the latest announcements on future events.

Thanks again to Julia for giving LA a great start. A big thanks to artist and photographer Jody Asano for taking these awesome photos of the event. And thanks to our sponsors GreenBarCabo ChipsStumptown Coffee, and Joia for making our event so delicious.

See you soon at a future ArtsTechLA gathering!

Sharon Ann Lee, Director of  ArtsTech LA

Read full post on Tumblr here and stay tuned for future events, new and Arts + Technology coverage!