Can artists change how we feel about tech?

Can artists change how we feel about tech?

Welcome to the 337 new techies who have joined us since last Friday. If you haven’t already, subscribe and join our community in receiving weekly tech insights, updates, and interviews with industry experts straight to your inbox.


This week we’re quoting Otto Plesner (Creative Director at RenaiXance)

What Plesner said: 

“I think the role of artists will be essential. For with the creation of art springs culture, and from culture springs the essence of expression, reflection and evolution.” 

What was he talking about? 

He was answering a question we asked him: about how artists might help humanity integrate new technologies into our lives in a positive, meaningful way.

And he added, “...the arts are essentially using imagination to dream up the future, and as time goes by, slowly but surely some of these dreams turn into reality.” 

We see this all the time

Plesner used the example of modern car designs – which “look exactly like something dreamed up from an artist in an AI movie.” 

And there are many more examples of art that becomes a reality. Even modern kitchen designs look like they were conceptualised by a sci-fi artist.

Art can help us imagine new ways of relating to technology

It’s not just about imagining new physical objects or places. Artists can help us imagine new ways of being in relationship with tech. And in the current landscape, that’s really important – to support tech adoption and, perhaps more importantly, to motivate diverse populations to get involved in shaping our technological future. 

Right now, we don’t know how to engage in a good relationship with AI. But artists could help us navigate that shift; by showing us that we need to build relationships with some technologies, figure out how to work with them, and not see them either as just tools or as just a threat. 

Artists have the ability to show us what our lives might be like if we use emerging technologies with a positive purpose. And artists can (and do) also show us what our lives might look like if we use technologies for harm. 

Importantly, Plesner pointed out that even those scary depictions of the worst possible outcomes contain valuable insights – that could, ultimately, help us work towards a good future: 

“There is nothing like art that can spread positivity. Even if at times the message can be dark it still holds profound truths – which then in turn is positive since it may open people's eyes towards issues in the world. So by using art as a cultivator of technology one inherently creates positive outcomes.” 

Art and technology have always been intertwined

Right now with the advent of GenAI, there’s a lot of talk about tech becoming a damaging force for art and artists. 

But it’s useful to counter that by remembering art and tech have always been intertwined: with new technological tools creating new artistic mediums, and artistic expression creating the potential for new technologies. 

In his 1980 book The Winding Passage, American sociologist Daniel Bell wrote:

“Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination. Art is the aesthetic ordering of experience to express meanings in symbolic terms, and the reordering of nature – the qualities of space and time – in new perceptual and material form. 

Art is an end in itself; its values are intrinsic. Technology is the instrumental ordering of human experience within a logic of efficient means, and the direction of nature to use its powers for material gain. 

But art and technology are not separate realms walled off from each other. Art employs techne, but for its own ends. Techne, too, is a form of art that bridges culture and social structure, and in the process reshapes both.”

Art and tech don’t have to be in competition. And by examining technology in their work, collaborating with tech, and embracing the creative possibilities that technological developments offer, artists can help to change how we feel about tech – enabling a meaningful, and very human experience of machines.

Read our full interview with Otto Plesner on the LEAP blog: It’s real - A positive relationship between art and tech


Have an idea for a topic you'd like us to cover? We're eager to hear it! Drop us a message and share your thoughts.

Catch you next week,
Richard McKeon
Group Marketing Director

Mark your calendars for 📅 10-13 February 2025.

Related
articles

Tech startups that tell beautiful stories

Welcome to the 253 new techies who have joined us since last Friday. If you haven’t already, subscribe and join our community in receiving weekly tech insights, updates, and interviews with industry experts straight to your inbox. This week we’re quoting Natalia Brzezinski (Founder and CEO at Absolute

How to become a tech influencer

Welcome to the 679 new techies who have joined us. If you haven’t already, subscribe and join our community in receiving weekly tech insights, updates, and interviews with industry experts straight to your inbox. This week we’re quoting Jordi van den Bussche (Founder and CEO at JVDB Studios)

Does sci-fi have a future?

Welcome to the 84 new techies who have joined us since last Friday. If you haven’t already, subscribe and join our community in receiving weekly tech insights, updates, and interviews with industry experts straight to your inbox. This week we’re quoting Primo Levi (Chemist and Novelist) and Tullio