When an innovative artist hears the word "programming," it means events—exhibitions, lectures, workshops. When an innovative engineer hears "programming," it's a synonym for the act of coding. Artists and engineers don't even speak the same language. But if they did, would it make a difference? Would they find that they actually want to do similar kinds of work in the world, and all they needed was translation? That's what Susie Lee and Hsu-Ken Ooi wanted to know. So the artist and the Decide.com cofounder created an event last month that brought together 10 artists and 10 technologists to have 100 conversations over the span of two hours, with live-tweeting "chaperones" (of which I was one).
Some of what was overheard at The Project Room event:
Issues raised included: how to receive the Japanese tsunami debris washing up on the West Coast (tourism to explore/commemorate? Sculpt it?), whether boredom is dead, how to design 2-D experiences that direct people back into the physical world rather than act as unhealthy escape hatches, how it feels when you get hold of an idea, what causes things to go viral, whether it's harder than it used to be to do something new, what it means that feel and smell are missing from technology, whether code is a living thing, and the meaning of competence.
For more about the event and The Project Room, here's the whole story in this week's paper. Here's information about the Speed Dating Part Two event that's open to the public, free, and happening on Wednesday, July 11. And all the Tweets from Part One are at #10art10tech.