The Vision: A laboratory for useful, esoteric,
and activist creative projects which is fast, competitive, market-savvy,
Background: Several months after Interval Research
abruptly closed in 2001, I wrote an open
letter to the Presidio Trust proposing an "arts lab"
in the Presidio. It began: "An extraordinary opportunity exists...
Actually, several opportunities converge, including 1) filling a
open niche in the U.S. arts community, 2) creating value for industry
and commerce, and 3) demonstrating not-for-profit financial sustainability."
The Presidio is chartered to be financially self-sustaining by 2013.
No reply from the Presidio Trust, but a proposition from the Rockefeller
Foundation: it would fund a one-year "feasibility study."
In 2002-2003, I traveled extensively around the US, Europe, and
Japan visiting art centers with a research component and research
labs with an arts component and listened. The
Arts Lab report was published under the auspices of Leonardo/MIT
Press in 2003.
The upshot is that several different means for financial sustainability
exist, which are very likely symbiotic: pursuing commissioned research,
selling art, seeking grants, licensing IP, and finding sponsors
all under the same roof could create a truly enlightened environment.
It's also never been tried.
It would also provide an alternative to chosing between the blockbuster
mentality of the for-profit world and the pledge-drive mentality
of the not-for-profit world. Exemplars exist on both side of the
fence, such as The New Press
(not-for-profit but earns 75% of its revenue through the marketplace)
and Newman's Own (for-profit
but has donated over $200 million to charities). Nothing like either
exist for the creative or research communities.
Next steps: Either find a patron (could be for
a loan rather than a grant, since the goal is sustainability) or
produce an exemplar arts lab project.
(last updated 2 April 2006)
4 Aug 2007: Chairing an art
panel at Siggraph for Leonardo
journal entitled "Artists have changed: Art, Science, Technology
Interaction" and will present Arts Lab findings, 7 August 2007,
3 Aug 2006: On closing panel to present the Arts Lab report at PICNIC
'06 Cross Media Week, Amsterdam, 27-29 September 2006.
back to big