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NYPL Labs: Digital Art, Money and Independence


May 13, 2014

NYPL Labs and Leaders in Software & Art present an evening of discussion and debate

(Please arrive by 5:45 to claim your seat. Guests will be admitted from the wait list at that time. Event starts at 6:00pm sharp.)
As the software and electronic art movement builds momentum, profit-making opportunities seem to be increasing.  Interactive agencies are discovering tech art's eye-catching potential as a promotional tool, more tech artists are finding gallery representation and museum placement than ever before, and digital art auctions and private sales are rising.  But do the financial opportunities come at a steep price? 
On this panel, moderated by Isabel Walcott Draves, founder of LISA, we will discuss the following questions: Does a profit motive kill the experimental, independent nature of today's digital art?  Are artists still creating their best work when a consumer brand is funding their output, or when they are considering marketability in a gallery or collections setting?  Which is a better measure of independence to a digital artist, unbridled creativity or financial stability?  
How can artists think about money and still stay true to their creative work?  Given the collaborative, open-source and viral nature of much of the best software art, are eventual profits equitably distributed or are some people profiting at the expense of others?  When artists make money from their work is it "selling out"?  Once they start hiring out their skills, are they even still artists?  And if not by chasing the dollar (or the Euro, or the yuan), how else can talented tech artists make a living?
Addie Wagenknecht - Contemporary artist represented by bitforms gallery, co-founder of NORTD development labs, chair of the Open Hardware Summit at MIT
Amy Whitaker - Lecturer on art and business, author, and instructor, with experience working at the Guggenheim, MoMA, the Tate, Sotheby's Institute of Art, Yale, Williams, and RISD.
Barry Threw - Artist working in immersive and interactive experience, director of software at Obscura Digital (interactive installations on a massive scale), electronic music expert, manager at Recombinant Media Labs
Justin Bolognino - Founder and creative director of the Meta Agency (a talent agency for digital artists) and brand strategist, incorporating art into large multimedia events 
Kyle McDonald - Open-source artist, community manager for openFrameworks, subverter of networked communications and personal identity
Isabel Walcott Draves - Founder of LISA (a community of tech artists and popular event series); Internet strategy consultant and entrepreneur; started SmartGirl, the first social media website for teen girls, in 1996.
NYPL Labs is an experimental design and technology studio working to reimagine the Library for the Internet Age. @nypl_labs
Started in 2009 as a private monthly speaker series, the LISA community has expanded to include an annual conference showcasing state of the art practitioners.  We connect tech artists with curators, collectors, employers and educators. @softwareandart
Getting to South Court Auditorium at The New York Public Library:
  • From 5th Avenue entrance: cross diagonally to the left toward South Court, take stairs/elevator all the way down.
  • From 42nd Street entrance: take stairs to first floor, walk down central corridor (past gift shop and exhibition hall), turn right into South Court, take stairs/elevator all the way down.
There will be signs!