We Need Artists To Help Us Navigate This New World

Tuesday night last week, sometime past 9PM, the absurdly skeuomorphically designed dials on the New York Times election page started shaking, vibrating, and nearly spinning. As the probability of a Trump victory skipped and jumped into the high 80’s, it was an indication that we were moving from what felt like a frightening simulation into an even more frightening reality. Without any understandable sense of the connection of what was driving those stuttering dials, seemingly designed to resemble the tacky dashboard on an 80’s Cadillac, we were tugged along into this frightening present. This event heralded the ascendancy of those who want to “see the progress in the world slow down a bit just so they can catch up”, as described by the aptly named Robert Lee in a day after op-ed in the Guardian.

Much of the story of how we got here can be found in the realm of how we as a culture have digested emerging technologies, from AI to social networks, and the closing off of education as to how these machines guide our lives. As Siri drives people literally into the lake, we’ve not come up with a means of functionally relating to our machines, instead letting them create silos of a commonality of convenience. We’re all riding in a post-factual clown car of contrived differences: how could Trump not be in the driver’s seat?

The usage of art as a means of navigating technology, and thus the world, is at the core of Eyebeam. We support works that use the act of artistic creation to directly challenge the inherent ideology in many forms of technology. We launch projects that point to things that were once at the fringe, now central to civic conversation, showing how artists are the ones to “see around corners” and help identify topics we will be exploring for years down the road.