Celebrating the Marriage of Art and Technology at the Creators Project

BY Molly Finnegan  July 15, 2010 at 4:40 PM EDT

“What would you do if you could take time and resources and just do the most dreamy project you could possibly think of?”

That was the provocative question filmmaker Spike Jonze posed to Vice Magazine’s Shane Smith that inspired the creation of the Creators Project, a traveling showcase of artists, electronics, and the creative marriage that leads them to inform one another.

A partnership between Vice and Intel, the Creators Project was launched on June 26th in New York, bringing established and emerging artists from around the world together to explore the use of technology in art.

“There isn’t really a global community for all these creators to come and share,” said Smith. “Once we started, the greatest thing that we saw was they would actually get on the site and start talking to each other.”

As the project website continues to aggregate news about the artists, their work, and future collaborations, off the web a traveling (and rotating) salon of artists will visit five cities around the world.

One of the uniting factors among the artists in this showcase is their adoption of technology (though through differing forms and approaches) to create their work.

Mira Calix, a composer and electronic musician has collaborated with visual artists to create installation pieces such as ‘My Secret Heart,’, which combines her classical training with electronic elements to create compositions enabled by, rather than designed for, new technologies.

“I love choral music, but I really love the mixture between the classical and what I’m doing. I love that juxtaposition. I love the really old wooden thing with the new shiny thing,” she says. “Probably one on its own doesn’t really interest me.”

In contrast, video artists Kirby McClure and Julia Grigorian, who make up the LA duo Radical Friend, created an installation for the Creator’s Project called “The Digital Flesh” that explicitly interrogates the role of electronics in our experiences. Viewers are invited to enter a “temple”, where they are scanned in three-dimensions. Radical Friend uses the data collected to create an ever-evolving composite face, which they will present when the Creators Project reaches Beijing, the final stop on its tour.

“We really like exploring that whole idea of digital technology being like the new religion and people building temples for it,” Grigorian explains.

The interactivity between art and spectator fostered by projects like “The Digital Flesh” permeates the Creators Project, where viewers can walk through sculptures, influence soundscapes, and use musical instruments and technological equipment to create images.

The Creator’s Project makes its next stop in London on Saturday, July 17th.

Editor’s Note: Intel is an underwriter of the PBS NewsHour.