Art + Technology: The New Frontier of Creativity and Innovation
Author - Kim Chestney-Harvey, Pittsburgh Technology Council
Pittsburgh - City of Trailblazers
To some, the intersection between art and technology seems like an oxymoron. But to those who work with creative technology, it is the new frontier. For the past several decades, artists and technologists alike have been charting new horizons with the ever-evolving advances in both genres.
The Art of Technology exhibition brought high tech to the traditional arts festival
Today, where would technology be without art, and vice versa? Dan Pink, author of A Whole New Mind and contributor to Wired Magazine, asserted that the MFA is the new MBA. To create technology, you need to know how to create – you need to know how to design. And, on the other hand, technology opens up whole new worlds for the expression and production of the artist.
The Pittsburgh Technology Council’s The 15 Minutes Gallery is a corporate art space that regularly show cases art and tech.
City of Innovation
Pittsburgh is one of the first cities to recognize and fully embrace this synergy. The transition to a largely technology-based economy in this city – a city that is in the process of reinventing itself – has created fertile grounds for the exploration of new and innovative pathways.
In 2008, the Pittsburgh Technology Council launched The Art + Technology Initiative, which kicked off with a grass-roots new media art and technology exhibition – drawing more than 350 attendees. The initiative has grown steadily since then, with 2010 witnessing the first ever Design, Art and Technology (DATA) Awards, hosted by pop artist Burton Morris, and also the first ever art and technology exhibition at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, titled The Art of Technology.
Internationally acclaimed pop and tech artist, Burton Morris, hosted the 2010 DATA Awards in Pittsburgh
Continuing this trend of growth, the 2011 DATA Awards are slated to be hosted in Pittsburgh by the Creative Director and Executive Producer of Cirque Du Soleil, Lyn Heward. As an example of both the fine art and commercial applications of creative technology, Cirque Du Soleil has received global recognition for its creative applications of technology and its merging with the fine art genre.
The 2011 DATA Awards will be hosted by the Creative Director of Cirque du Soleil, Lyn Weward
The most recent, and arguably the most exciting, addition to the Art + Technology Initiative is the Pittsburgh Entertainment Technology Project. With its inception in the fall of 2010, the two-year project aims to forge a pipeline between Pittsburgh’s emerging entertainment technology sector and the West Coast motion picture industry.
The project is made possible by a collaboration with four of the region’s heavy-hitters:
- The Pittsburgh TechnologyCouncil
- Pittsburgh Film Office
- Idea Foundry
- Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center
The project will feature networking events, educational workshops, the
implementation of a searchable company database, and, ﬁnally, annual
pitch-trips to Los Angeles to showcase new products to industry leaders.
The Pittsburgh Entertainment Technology Project is creating a new pipeline between Hollywood and Pittsburgh Entertainment tech.
The film industry is a prime target for the entertainment technology cluster, particularly in Pittsburgh, as it is one of the nation’s hottest movie-making locations today. This past November, three big-budget feature films – all shot in Pittsburgh – hit theatres, in what some have called “Pittsburgh Movie Month.”
"Unstoppable” starring Denzel Washington, “The Next Three Days” starring Russell Crowe and “Love and Other Drugs” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, opened last year, with more titles, including “I Am Number Four,” “One For The Money” and “Abduction,” starring Taylor Lautner, releasing in 2011.
The Pittsburgh Technology Council’s annual Design, Art and Technology Awards honor creativity and innovation
Supporting the Art-Techno Community
The multifaceted nature of the creative technology industry can be applied to the movie production process in many ways, spanning the gamut from production, to distribution, to advertising. Pittsburgh’s assets include companies specializing in gaming, mobile applications, robotics, animation, post-production, new media advertising and more. Companies like Deeplocal – who featured their Chalkbot at the Tour de France with Nike in 2009 – and Evil Genius Designs – whose recent game is featured on the new Beauty and the Beast release from Disney – are leading the way in the new applications of entertainment technology.
Deeplocal’s Chalkbot at the Tour de France with Nike
With companies like this in the local kitty, Pittsburgh is poised to assert itself as a leader in this innovative genre. The Pittsburgh Entertainment Technology Project is currently taking inventory of all of the region’s capabilities, and has more than 100 companies in the network so far. The upcoming Pittsburgh-to-Hollywood Awards – which will send a handful of emerging talent out to the West Coast – will be announced this spring at the 2011 DATA Awards in Pittsburgh.
What’s next for Art + Technology?
It’s anyone’s guess. But one thing is for sure – the new frontiers are ablaze.
In 2009, the BurghBot Project gave 10 east coast artists robotic frames and created a competition for the best work of robotic art, in a partnership between the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab
About the Author:
Kim Chestney Harvey
is the Creative Director of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, as well as the Founder and Director of the Council’s Art + Technology Initiative and the 15 Minutes Gallery. During her nine-year tenure at the Council, Kim has merged her passion for the arts with the business of technology, a process that has reached its fruition with the recent establishment of the Art + Technology Initiative.
With over 10 years of experience as a graphic designer and fine artist working in the tech industry, Kim was well-poised to collaborate with Council CEO, Audrey Russo, to establish an innovative initiative focused on connecting and incubating the intersections between art and technology in the Pittsburgh region.
For more information on the Art + Technology Initiative, visit:
For more information on the Pittsburgh Entertainment Technology Project, visit: