An Artsy “Art Insider” on SF Tech and Art


In Artsy, Sabrina Buell, a San Francisco-based art advisor at Zlot Buell + Associates, considers the SF Tech community’s relationship to art collecting. The article opens by wondering why the 2010 SF Creators Project didn’t usher in a new age of art and tech in San Francisco. Ms. Buell then suggests that the Tech community simply isn’t interested in art+tech work, and proceeds to consider more traditional media artists.

Artsy: What are tech-world collectors buying? Do certain artists appeal to them?


SB: One trend that is commonly assumed, but is wrong, is that people in the tech world like to collect “tech art”—new media or art with screens, or that incorporates computer technology into the work. That’s not the case.

Is it self evident that art+tech work isn’t desirable by the Tech worker community? Can the rich community of art+tech work in SF simply be dismissed so easily? Look for the next Artup event to add your voice to this discussion.

“Minimum Viable Artwork” Questions the Incubator Model

Over at, Andrew Sempere writes questioning the current trend in starting Art “Incubators” to catalyze projects using art and technology.

That established cultural institutions are having a hard time relating to art and culture made with contemporary technology is painfully apparent. That they want to remedy this by turning towards the incubator model only shows how desperately regressive they are.

Arts Incubator at the New Museum

Over at the New York Times, an overview of the new Arts Incubator at the New Museum. This model of museums and institutions partnering with private sector and creating work will be one that is followed by many organizations nationwide.

“We’re not trying to be venture capitalists,” Ms. Phillips said. “We think of this simply as an extension of our educational mission — a think tank, a laboratory, a catalyst for ideas that might not come out of traditional business environments. We’re a young, contemporary museum that does not have a permanent collection and this is a result of us always asking ourselves what a museum can be.”

Ms. Phillips said she anticipated criticism from people who would question why a museum would want to be involved in nurturing businesses, but she added: “I think our notion of the art world as formed by New York City is a very limited concept. And I think museums can be places for creative thinking in ways we don’t normally expect. In the most basic way, this will be like what artists do in their studios: this will be a place to make things.”

Artup 3 Review: Art, Tech, and Gentrification in San Francisco

Artup 3 Panel Arts writer Dorothy Santos has penned a review of Artup 3 in Hyperallergic. She correctly identifies many of the points of contention and obstacles ahead in continuing the conversation on Art+Tech in the Bay.

The Bay Area has long been known for its diversity, activism, and social justice, which is a heritage we can be draw from to deal with these changes. But to truly understand how art and art practices may be able to help address what is driving the soul of the city away, it may be best to not succumb to the jargon based within institutionalized frameworks for legitimacy. Ultimately, the art and technology markets are just that — capitalist endeavors. A tension will always exist. Yet we need to be willing to build new infrastructures or models, such as The Bay Area Public School, Noisebridge, or Codame, to help advance and evolve the conversation on how we can reengineer arts and technology in the Bay Area.

Artup Grant 1 Given to SONICWALK

The First Artup Grant tonight was given to Geoff Morris for SONICWALK.

SONICWALK is a system for transposing soundscapes from one physical location to another. Participants can use their mobile device to make geotagged field recordings and upload them as a map. When a sonic map is loaded in another location, the sounds are transposed onto the local geography, which the user traverses by walking through physical space. Spectral processing techniques (manipulation of amplitude, panning, reverb, and frequency) are applied to simulate the field recordings’ distribution in space. SONICWALK is a timecapsule, a way of connecting to places you’ve left behind, a method of digitourism, and a means of collapsing physical distance.

We’ll be looking forward to seeing how this develops. Apply to our next grant at

Re-Engineering Art and Tech in the Bay Area w/ Mat Dryhurst and Brian Rogers

Artup co-Founder Mat Dryhurst just completed a provocative op-ed article for Art Practical around the issues confronting the culture and technology sectors of the Bay Area. Published in two parts, this conversation with Brian Rogers starts with a survey of the rich variety of artists, projects and organizations currently practicing in the Bay Area, and then starts to consider some potential investigative entry points to affect stronger cultural relationship between Art and Tech in the Bay. It’s a must read for anyone interested in the issues of the arts economy in San Francisco.

Excerpt from Part One:

MD: Once we get past generalizations, we will notice that the best people in art and tech share common goals and sensibilities. Identifying and creating conversations between these kinds of people is one powerful way to subvert the current climate that is pushing mindful people of all backgrounds out of the city. Making clumsy generalizations about “tech” antagonizes the venerable history of radical technology in this city and ultimately threatens to alienate those in tech who could help get everyone out of this mess.


BR: There’s a long local history of forward-thinking tech development on the West Coast. It’s not a mistake that California emerged as an (admittedly unwieldy) epicenter for technologies of the self, a moment that was at least an attempt to mutually grasp technological, conceptual, social, and aesthetic vanguards…

And Part Two:

BR: Art should make, to quote Negarestani again, “extreme hypotheses,” and should use any materials necessary (including and in particular technology) to make them. This isn’t an idea that artists should make inflated claims about aspiring toward, but it’s also a horizon that—as people who are nominally interested in how we work and how we work in the world—artists should recognize and use as a perspective from which to ask difficult but necessary questions.


MD: We need to recognize that this is the best place in the world to make art about tech. Decisions made about technology in the Bay Area will go on to fundamentally reconfigure the lives of people all over the world, and whether we take a supportive or antagonistic stance, Bay Area artists have first option to play a role in that discourse
and trajectory if we choose to.

  • Artup 2013