European Commission (EU)
It has long been an established fact that innovation is at the core of a competitive economy. Europe has historically focused its attention in engineering on R&D and standardization. Today, however, focusing only on technology is not sustainable. An increasing number of high tech companies, world-wide, assert that, in addition to scientific and technological skills, the critical skills needed for innovation to happen and to be of value for society are skills such as creativity rooted in artistic practices. In the context, the Arts gain prominence as a catalyst of an efficient conversion of science and technology knowledge into innovative products, services and processes.
In recognition of this development the European Commission has launched the STARTS – S&T&ARTS initiative – Innovation at the nexus of Science, Technology, and the ARTS. The constant appropriation of new technologies by artists allows them to go further in actively participating in innovation in society and business. By using ICT as their medium of expression, artists are able to prototype solutions, create new products and make new economic, social and business models. Additionally, by using traditional mediums of expression and considering the potential of ICT, they propose new approaches to research and education and reflect on the role of innovation in our society.
Ars Electronica (AT)
Art, technology and society—since 1979, Ars Electronica (AT) has been investigating how they’re interrelated and where they overlap, and seeking causes and effects at work among them. In doing so, the Ars Electronica Festival functions as a proving ground, the Prix Ars Electronica is an international competition to honor outstanding achievements in media art, the Ars Electronica Center is an educational institution and Museum of the Future open throughout the year, the Futurelab is Ars Electronica’s in-house R&D facility, and AE Solutions is the business division that carries out assignments commissioned by clients in the private sector. All these entities constantly monitor their respective domains to identify what’s happening in science and research, art and technology, and to mutually inspire one another.
The Centre for Fine Arts (CFA) is a public law company with limited liability and with social purpose (nonprofit entity). A leading multidisciplinary federal cultural institution in Belgium, often referred to as BOZAR (a homophone of “Beaux-arts”), it includes exhibition and conference rooms, a movie theatre and a concert hall which serves as home to the National Orchestra of Belgium. With a national, European and international mission, BOZAR serves an artistic and policy platform for new ideas and concepts. Creativity, quality, and artistic diversity have been at the heart of the Centre’s mission since its foundation. But for art not to be something abstract and distant, for it to be truly part of the “culture” of a society – and particularly in a city as variegated and international as Brussels – the public must be able to experience it in a way that is both natural and lively. Art and people must find and recognize each other, must interact with and enrich each other.
Waag—technology & society—is a pioneer in the field of digital media. Over the past 22 years, the foundation has developed into an institution of international stature, a platform for artistic research and experimentation, and has become both a catalyst for events and a breeding ground for cultural and social innovation. Waag explores emerging technologies, and provides art and culture a central role in the designing of new applications for novel advances in science and technology. Artists and designers know better than anyone that they must question technology in order to get to the bottom of things, overthrow sacred cows, stimulate imagination and fantasy, create unexpected connections, and—above all—search for meaning.