I had been invited to CTW and did not quite know what to expect. What is all this about a mashing up creativity and tech? Do we really need another dot dot dot Week? According to the website:
From VR, 3D printing and hackathons to fashion tech, data visualization, digital art, interactive installations and STEAM, Creative Technology is front and center in innovation success stories across the corporate and non-profit landscape. Creative Tech Week… is a crowd sourced festival created to showcase the cutting-edge research, art, media, and community initiatives being generated in the field of creative technology.
The evening’s speakers broke it down further. Founder and President Isabel Davis spoke about the festival, and how it all came together over the past year. CTW It is an extremely ambitious undertaking, spanning ten days, two boroughs, and hundreds of lectures, satellite events, demos and art installations. There is an expo, and three hubs: Community, Arts, and Industry (all explained in the About page). The Expo and Community hubs are in Brooklyn; Arts and Industry, in Manhattan.
See this link for more about the impressive team behind CTW. After Isabel spoke, we heard from Asher Remy-Toledo and Mark Bolotin, directors of the Art Hub. They explained their roles, and ties to Hyphen Hub: a center (Hub) that encourages connections (Hyphen) between art and tech. CTW Co-founder Dawn Barber (also co-founder of NY Tech Meetup) said a few words, before Paolo Antonelli of MoMA took the stage and delivered a great keynote.
In between the talks I had the chance to check out the exhibits at Clemente Center Arts Hub. I was curious about how Arduino, big data visualization, and 3D printing can help create to art. My eyes got wider as I checked out Arduino-driven hammers that smash plexiglass; computer-driven musical instruments, sculptures, videos and images.
If it all sounds a little gimmicky, the results were anything but; they were stunning and brilliant, as you can tell from the images. One of the most eye-grabbing (some might say shocking) was a wall of what looked to be ghostly white PVC plastic phalli that go up or down based on the price swings of associated stocks (it looked to be a heavy trading day).
It is not just about eye candy or art; there are many weighty topics and impressive speakers throughout the festival (which started 4/29 and will end this Saturday), addressing subjects that aim to connect art, design, community, tech and industry.
Here is the schedule. I will try to get to a bunch of the sessions over the remaining days, and encourage you to check it out; there is just so much good stuff here.