This talk considers some histories of arts-driven innovation in and out of computer research laboratories. Through artist residencies, “renaissance teams”, and other multidisciplinary innovation methods, high-technology research laboratories have knowingly (and sometimes unknowingly) engaged with new-media artists for nearly fifty years, yielding meaningful dividends in both culture and technology. The first generation of computer artists, in the 1960s, were wholly dependent on such labs for access; most recently, however, the growth of personal computing power and rapidly-expanding cultures of commons-based peer-production have allowed loose, self-assembling networks of artist-hackers to innovate quickly outside the laboratory. The presentation includes a discussion about how commercial research labs might better harness the energies of this expanded talent pool, while returning value to these communities in ways they find meaningful.
Levin’s presentation is framed by a brief discussion of his own computational and new-media artworks, with attention to how the use of speculative gestural interfaces can support new modes of critical inquiry, interaction and play. His presentation concludes with an update from his laboratory at Carnegie Mellon, and its recent initiatives in real-time robotic arts, social and tactical media, Kinect-based cinema, and biological art