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Art, a Human Factor in Technology

Symposium of the STARTS European programme at the Centre Pompidou, co-organised by the EPFL+ECAL Lab.

MIT, Leonardo, Polytechnique, Ars Electronica, IRCAM and a vast majority of organisers of artist residencies in scientific environments attended the symposium jointly organised by the EPFL+ECAL Lab and IRCAM at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The two days of presentations demonstrated how artists can contribute to dimensions as varied as the impact of technology, its social consequences, new prospects for use and innovative creative forms. But also to the ability to foster a new highly fruitful dialogue in the framework of research laboratories as well as educational methods.

Photo by Adora Goodenough on Unsplash

This symposium was one of the closing events of the STARTS Residencies European programme, which organised more than 45 artist residencies and led to the publication of a global methodological approach devised by the EPFL+ECAL Lab and published by Leonardo MIT_Press. The results show in particular how to create a common framework for artists and scientists, the essential role of a mediator, and the tools which facilitate such collaboration over several months. A digital platform was developed as part of this programme. Several of these residences emerging from this three-year effort were presented at 104, innovation hub in the French capital, in the artists’ presence. They showcased concrete results on themes as diverse as the recovery of plastic waste, the confrontation between humans and robots in transport, visual principles in virtual reality, and the appropriation of personal data by users when faced with tools such as blockchain.

Beyond the artistic proposals, certain projects are already the subject of scientific publications, demonstrating that such collaborations also contribute to creating knowledge at an academic level. The methodology developed by the EPFL+ECAL Lab itself, which aims to create sustainable innovations by involving users, constitutes a novel approach capable of responding to new challenges, both societal and economic.

The symposium closed last week with the decision to form an international network of institutions committed to integrating the humanist dimension into science and technology through the contribution of artists.

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