Archives for category: arts & culture

It’s May. How did that happen?! Anyway, taking a look at the TH blog I’m reminded of why I never kept a diary: that the minute there’s anything interesting going on in your life, there’s no time to write about it (professional diarists excepted, of course). Anyway, the point is, if you judged from our blog you’d imagine this has been a quiet year for us, whereas it’s probably been the most busy we’ve been since we set up shop together almost nine years ago. So, now that we’ve almost reached 2016’s mid-point, I thought I’d capture some of the highlights.

What you will have seen here, of course, is a lot of cross-posting from Angel Academe. For those out of the loop, AA is our network of largely (though not exclusively) female angel investors, set up as part of Sarah’s mission to encourage more female HNW’s to invest – and invest specifically in female-founded tech start-ups. So far it’s been quite a year for us. Among other things we’ve: screened close to 100 business; held our first 2016 pitch-based “studio” event (with another one right round the corner); closed three funding rounds since January, with another three in the pipeline; and run the second of our Investor Academe workshops for those new to angel investing. We also launched the third year of Entrepreneur Academe, the mentoring programme we run on behalf of the City of London.

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Birdsong, one of the 2015 Entrepreneur Academe conhort

For details on all our Angel Academe, Investor Academe and Entrepreneur Academe work, check out the AA website. Many thanks to our sponsors for their continued support of our work: Thomson Reuters, haysmacintyre, Kingsley Napley and of course the City of London.

Our big consultancy gig of the year has been working with the fabulous Wales Millennium Centre on their digital strategy. We’ve been in Cardiff pretty much every week since January, really getting under the skin of the organisation (as is our wont), and figuring out what it really needs to achieve through digital means. It’s a crucial point for the organisation as it begins to commission its own work alongside the work it does as a presentation house. If the musical Only the Brave, which we were lucky enough to catch during its inaugural run, is anything to go by, then there’s an exciting future ahead for the Centre, and we’re delighted to pay even a small part in that.

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Sarah takes a snap of the Wales Millennium Centre

We’ve been doing work closer to home, too. Our Future City is a project that brings together educationalists with professionals from the arts, culture & heritage sector to improve “the lives and life chances” of children and young people in the city through an engagement with creative practice. Simon’s been helping them think about the impact of digital media on young people and how they might develop a programme around “digital skillfulness”. It’s also been great to be working once again with our old friend Marc Jaffrey, OBE.

Following her success in last year’s UKBAA Awards and Tech City Awards, Sarah made the Maserati 100 list, which celebrates those helping to build the UK’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. There’s also been a fair bit of public speaking for us both, with engagements for (among others): Mass Challenge/Wayra, Cass Business School, the Digital Catapult, Goldman Sachs, the Association for Cultural Enterprises, Brighton Aldridge Community Academy… the variety alone should give you a good impression of how diverse our work has been over the year. Oh, and of course we’ve kept up our long-standing associations with UKTI and Innovate UK.

Lastly, I’m still managing to keep my skin in the creative game, with my DGMFS Media project now releasing digitally-distributed music: my own, and that of friends and fellow travellers. If nothing else, it’s an education about what it means to be a creative practitioner in the digital age.

That’s it for now: just a snapshot, as I say. As ever, you can keep up with us on twitter: @turnipshire, @simonphopkins and @angelacademe. We’ll try to back here with another update before the year’s out 😉

Simon

For so many reasons, 2015 was a watershed year for Turner Hopkins. It’s certainly been an enormously busy one, and one inevitable consequence of that has been that we’ve not been posting here as regularly as we’d previously done. A couple of years back we might have panicked a little about that; after all, a strong social media presence and an active blog are surely part of the toolkit for self-respecting digital media specialists, right? Too true, but we’ve come to cut ourselves a little slack on the issue, and accepted that living through interesting times often means you don’t have much time – or energy – to write about them. We’ve also been spending more time communicating through our newsletters – which if nothing else puts us on-trend! Anyway, enough post-rationalising, and on with the review.

It’ll be more than apparent to regular visitors here that Angel Academe, in all its guises, has been the dominant force in our lives for the last year. Here’s the 2015 round-up Sarah included in her most recent AA newsletter:

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Wow, what a year! We’ve made 7 investments with several other deals in the pipeline. The amount raised so far this year is nearly double our 2014 total and from double the number of investors. Many of the women and men investing were making their first angel investment, so congratulations to them as well as everyone else taking part. 

We received and reviewed well over 500 applications to pitch to us this year from a very wide range of women-led technology businesses: from big data to healthtech, fintech and ecommerce. Of these, 15 passed our 3-stage screening process and then pitched at one of our “Studio” events attended by more than 80 angelinvestors over the course of the year.

We also ran 2 Investor Academe sessions, our half day investing workshops, with 25 of our angels as well as bite-sized Tax and Legal Academes prior to the last 2 Studio events.

Our second Entrepreneur Academe cohort has just graduated, taking the number of women founders we’ve mentored to over 50. We ran 12 mentoring sessions this year and, now that the City of London has confirmed sponsorship for next year, we’re in planning mode for 2016. 

In the summer we were honoured to received the UKBAA’s Angel Syndicate of the Year and last month we picked up Funder of the Year in the TechCities Awards.

But it’s not all been about Angel Academe, as we continued our broader-based strategic work for a range of both new and returning clients. Here are some highlights.

The BBC Academy invited Simon to curate two whole days of workshops for the organisation’s leadership, looking at various aspects of the digital landscape. We took on a pretty wide perspective, looking at issues as diverse as managing teams through disruption, “intrapreneurship”, new ways of conceiving and delivering concepts and the role of data in content personalisation and recommendation. We were particularly pleased to able to draw on our wider network to bring new faces into to the BBC, including Friday’s Anno Mitchell, Ramona Liberoff and Abundance Generation’s Louise Wilson. Our thanks to everyone who gave up their timely freely to make these days so successful.

As part of the sessions, Simon delivered a two-hour masterclass looking at his pet topic of the last few years (one which he’s since reprised for the BBC College of Journalism): how to become more personally and professionally effective in the face of potentially constant digital distraction. The sessions mixed theory with practical application and were of course highly interactive, and it’s fascinating to see the degree to which many highly experienced, capable and often brilliant people are really struggling to avoid distraction in their work.

We continued our ongoing relationships with several governmental groups, including UKTI, Innovate UK and the KTN, with work ranging from inward investment to funding competition design and general research. And of course, we continued to work with various other areas of the BBC, including the Market Engagement Team, for whom we delivered a set of detailed case studies.

We were also delighted to hook up with a couple of old friends and former colleagues.

Simon and Marc Jaffrey, OBE, worked together a decade and a half back at the BBC. A genuine polymath, Marc is currently consulting on a fascinating project running in our home town of Brighton and Hove. Our Future City is looking at the impact of education and the arts on young people in the city and kicked off the year with a series of workshops mapping out the terrain. Marc asked Simon to come along and provide a “provocation”; the result was a 20-minute tirade outlining his worries about young people and technology. You can read Simon’s presentation in full here – if nothing else it really was a provocation. In any case, we’re delighted to say that we’re continuing to work on the programme in 2106.

It was also good to be working once again with the pioneering British internet outfit state51, on whose behalf Simon attended Forum Europe‘s Future of Digital Content and Services conference in Brussels.

We’ve read a lot between us over the year, but a handful of books stand out with regard to digital technology:

We continue to get most of our news from two principal sources (ones with mercifully international perspectives): The Economist and The BBC World Service. But of course the podcast continues its inexorable rise and rise and several have been mainstays for us over the last year, including:

And finally, cultural highlights of the year have included Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at Glyndebourne, Brecht and Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at the ROH, Purcell’s Indian Queen at the ENO, and three standout visual art shows: Magnificent Obsessions a the Barbican, The World Goes Pop at the Tate and Joseph Cornell – Wanderlust at the V&A. And we’ve been delighted to witness the thriving of Jazz in the Round, the monthly show put on at the Cockpit in Marylebone by our good friends at Jazz on 3.

So that’s been our 2015. We wish everyone a thriving, prosperous 2016 and look forward to seeing many of you throughout the year.

Sarah and Simon

 

 

On Tuesday 21st I braved the apparently dire storms and broken trains to trek up to The Studio, just round the corner from Birmingham New Street station for the fourth in a series of events hosted by the KTN Company on behalf of the Arts Council and Innovate UK. Like its predecessors (in Bristol, Manchester and Sheffield), the session brought together artists, arts administrators and creative technologists to help brainstorm what kinds of projects the two organisations might be able to spearhead to bring art and technology together in a way that’s creatively, strategically and economically meaningful.

The session was hosted by Graham Hitchen of Directional Thinking and expertly facilitated by Jason DaPonte of The Swarm (and a former colleague of mine from the BBC back when we were all trying to figure out exactly what it meant to be doing “internet stuff” for the corporation). The shape of the day was pretty straightforward: an open discussion in the morning helped to identify recurring themes and to cluster them; some attendees presented work of their own in this area to bring it all to life; and the afternoon saw us break into groups to pick off some of the emerging themes in which we were interested.

Now I had gone along not in my usual KTN role, but purely out of personal interest. Readers of this blog or of my own, more personal rantings on DGMFS will know that the coming together of art and tech is both a personal interest to me and a cornerstone of our business practice. Anyway, as a result I was “stuck in” as an attendee and not taking such rigorous notes as is my wont. So what follows is more a set of recollections about the day and the themes which emerged during lengthy, and often rambunctious, discussions.

Digital art is tending towards the immersive. Now I think there’s a real spectrum here: there’s what I think of as “traditional” immersion (being deafened and smacked around in a mosh pit comes to mind, but then so does sitting in the best seats, bang in front of the proscenium arch for the performance of a great play or opera); there’s technologically enhanced immersion or Augmented Reality; then there’s screen- based virtual reality; and finally fully immersive, virtual environments of the kind the Oculus Rift may allow.

I think these are important distinctions to draw, but it’s certainly going to be fascinating to watch new art forms develop right along the immersion spectrum.

Digital art often plays with the senses and perception. Now again, I would suggest that all art in some ways changes perception (arguably it’s the whole point), but the advent of digital is driving more direct interventions with the senses, from sensory deprivation, through binaural sound to the stimulation of traditionally overlooked senses in the arts – especially smell and touch.

There’s a strong sense of play here. This closely relates to the observation about senses above, and of course to gamification more generally. I lost count of the number of times Minecraft came up in conversation (there were, I suspect, a lot of parents in the room). I sounded a slight note of caution here. I love play – it’s a crucial part of a healthy life, and of healthy art. But there are many darker sides to humanity that art has always sought to explore or even celebrate (consider a 40,000 year arc from the Chauvet cave paintings to Norwegian Black Metal). It would be great shame – and hideously short-term thinking – if digital art got hung up overly on “fun”. (For what it’s worth, I this is just a “phase” as my mother might say.)

Production is being democritised. I don’t personally like to “D” word in this context, but I get what it means, and I think it’s hugely important. Specifically, ever-cheaper tools and the wide availability of accessible publishing platforms are allowing the re-emergence of serious amateur art making (often referred to – hideously – as the rise of the prosumer). The emergence of cheap computing, too (the Raspberry Pi, the Arduino etc) are accelerating this. But how does the traditional art world respond? And how will artistic practice be altered? For me, it’s return to normal after the blip that was art in the age of mass media. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a paradigm shift.

Multi-disciplinary practice is becoming the norm. As The Unseen’s Lauren Bowker pointed out about fashion and technology in the London Fashion Week panel I hosted last month, multi-disciplinary working is not so much preferable as essential. And this is certainly the case in art. I believe we’re going to see more and more group-created multi-disciplinary art (consider the work of 2010 Turner nominees The Otolith Group). Does this mean the disappearance of auterist art? And how will that play out? Again, this is potentially a seismic shift in how art is produced.

Shared spaces are necessary. Something that closely relates to the rise of collaborative art practice is the need for shared workspaces – spaces where radical experimentation and the sharing of ideas and practice arise naturally. There’s was considerable discussion about this, not least as Birmingham lacks a space like, say, Bristol’s Pervasive Media Studio or Liverpool’s FACT. (And in case this all sounds a bit Newspeak, remember that there’s a hundred-year old precedent for a shared, multi-disciplinary space where artists and technologists can work together: The Bauhaus.)

“Art for art’s sake”. There was quite a lot of discussion about the need to think about art on its own terms. and I heartily concur. I recall a speech Sir Nicholas Kenyon gave on launching a Proms season in the early noughties. He discussed how in the Thatcher years art had been considered part of the tourist or (another hideous term) “heritage” sectors; under New Labour art had all been about regeneration. But these positions are merely two sides of the same coin, and both see art as a means to socio-economic ends. He suggested that we need to change the discourse about art, and frankly, a decade on, that still stands. Indeed, if anything, the advent of digital has only intensified the debate, with new digital art once again being discussed constantly in terms of collateral benefits, rather than considered in its own right.

Business models must evolve. Business models for the arts don’t need to be continually re-examined. Far from it. I was struck that of the day’s discussion was almost exclusively about the role of digital in the making of art. Yet from my experience of working with some major players in the UK art scene (commercial and public sector alike), the principal interest in digital media is about how it can create new business models and frankly drive income: more people through the door, more bums on seats, higher profile, online content distributed to new audiences and so on.

I’m not saying that changes to artistic practice wrought by digital technology aren’t fascinating in and of themselves (or I wouldn’t have spent 1400 words talking about them). But the new technologies offer huge business opportunities to artists and arts organisations of all statures. How those opportunities are grasped, of course, is at the heart of the disruption challenges facing not just this arena but almost every corner of contemporary life.

The series of events concluded with a session in London yesterday at Cecil Sharp House. (One wonders how the folk song collector and archivist Sharp would have responded to digital technology? Interestingly, archiving – another personal obsession – was entirely absent from the discussions on Tuesday.) I’m very much looking forward to hearing how that session pans out and how, more importantly, this little “tour” influences where ACE and Innovate UK go next.

Simon

The Barbican’s Digital Revolution has become one of London’s must-see exhibitions of the summer; with queues up to 100-long waiting to get in at pre-alloted times, its popularity is the kind generally experienced by the blockbuster art retrospectives put on by the larger London galleries. But in every way this is a very different show: Digital Revolution is about the impact made on creative practice generally – and the arts specifically – by the rise of the PC, the internet and, in its wake, the world wide web.

Digital Revolution Trailer from Barbican Centre on Vimeo.

 

Now just to be clear from the outset, I’m not an art critic, nor any other kind of critic for that matter, so the handful of observations here are those of someone who’s simply lived through this particular “revolution” as a consumer, as a citizen and as a professional participant. (Google “digital revolution reviews” to get a sense of what the professional critical establishment made of it. Actually the spread of opinion – summarised neatly by The Week – is almost comically predictable, with WiReD calling the show “spectacular” and the Telegraph dismissing it as “gimmicky”!)

The first thing to say is this is not the Barbican’s first foray into this arena. Two previous exhibitions in the Centre’s main gallery, Serious Games (1997) and Game On (2002) looked in curatorial depth at games technology and its place in the wider culture (and Culture). But more than this, of all the main London arts centres, a pretty strong case could be made for the Barbican being the most technologically adventurous across its three principal areas of output: theatre, music and the visual arts. And as I write, only last weekend the centre was effectively taken over by the Wikimania conference. As a stolidly modernist institution, the Barbican feels as though it gets digital.

To get down to specifics then… The heart of the show takes place in the Curve gallery and begins with “Digital Archeology”, a look at the early days of digital technology in areas such as music, video games and film making. Later it looks at, among other things, how collaborative practice has been enhanced by digital, at how musicians and film makers have worked with digital technology to go way beyond the expected pop promo, at the pivotal role digital post production plays in contemporary film making, and at how developers are using code to create art (more of this in a moment).

The curatorial approach in the Curve has been to combine, essentially, a museum-style history lesson with an art show. Forty year-old pieces of electronic kit, classics from the world of video games and snippets of technologically groundbreaking film making vie for place with art work using or else inspired by digital tech. For some this might seem an odd fit, but for me it really worked, setting the work of important (although very different) artists such as Chris Milk, Björk and James Bridle in a context of a revolution that very largely played out in the entertainment arena.

The exhibition continues throughout the centre, with an area dedicated to “lo-fi” or “indie” video games (no coincidence that these terms mirror those used in music), and finishing with the installation that graces most of the show’s advertising, Umbrellium‘s playful Assemblance, a darkened space in which laser light appears to respond “personally” to the movements of the audience and which somehow encourages collaboration and non-verbal communication between strangers.

 

So the themes that emerged for me, then?

Well the most immediately obvious one – in the Curve at any rate – is that the curators have gone maximal. Put simply, the minute you enter the show you’re overwhelmed, with countless visual exhibits glowing or else lit up in the dark to a soundtrack of Peter Gabriel and Afrika Bambaataa. And so it continues, with the sound and light bleeding from one exhibit to the next.

Now “Immersive” or “interactive” might be more polite terms to use than “overwhelming”, and Digital Revolution is both of those things of course; but “overwhelming” feels to me more accurate, and certainly less modish. And to be clear, I mean this as a positive; I think it’s a commonplace that the life we all now lead in the developed world (and, increasingly, in the developing world, too) is defined by technological overwhelm. In the Curve, this feeling is captured brilliantly, and in this sense the show itself is a meta-exhibit.

Then there’s the flow between entertainment and the arts to which I alluded earlier. It’s often asserted that high art is decades ahead of entertainment in terms of technical practice, and there’s some truth in this. But it’s a more complex picture than that. Digital Revolution makes it clear that there’s been a constant two-way traffic between the two arenas. Indeed, one of digital technology’s chief impacts has perhaps been to blur the boundaries between the two.

And yes, it’s a cliché, but I was struck too by the sheer speed with which this has all happened – in less time than I’ve been alive – and its sheer magnitude. If you want a graphic illustration of Moore’s Law, look no further than a couple of early exhibits in the show, a sampling synthesizer – the Fairlight – and Linn drumm machine. Now both have their retro charm – not least to a music geek like me – but my God, the Fairlight in particular is huge. Moreover, it’s a dedicated piece of kit, that largely did one thing (albeit to great effect); its functionality might be no more than a plugin in a contemporary Digital Audio Workstation.

Or look at the FX-driven classic films, extracts from which run throughout the “digital archeology” part of the show. Terminator 2, The Abyss and Jurassic Park are all arguably fine bits of storytelling, but alongside the two films highlated later – Inception and Gravity – they don’t look any less hoaky than Ray Harryhausen or Gerry Anderson’s work, and certainly less charming. (Interestingly, by comparison, Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey” sounded, to these ears, easily as contemporary as the Will.i.am piece that takes centre stage later on. Simon Reynolds might have something to say about that.)

As it happens, both Jurassic Park and T2 both tackle themes that I personally felt could have been explored a little more in the show: the downsides of technology. In this regard, James Bridle‘s piece Dronestagram is a standout. Bridle’s work in general is intriguing; on one hand he’s an advocate of “The New Aesthetic” on the other hand his work frequently forces the audience to consider the political implications of technology, from Wikipedia revisions about the Iraq War to the role of drones in modern warfare (and beyond). But the curators seem to have steered clear, largely, of the negative aspects of this particular revolution. Even the overwhelm that I talked about earlier comes at a price – often a very significant one – but that’s not tackled here.


But this caveat seems churlish, especially when considering what for me was the most inspiring exhibit in the show, albeit one outside the main exhibition spaces. Not Impossible Labs have developed BrainWriter, which uses a combination of brainwave recognition and eye-tracking to enable the paralysed graffiti artist TemptOne to communicate and perhaps even make art once again. It’s a moving story in itself, but beyond that points to one of the next frontiers in digital technology: the direct control of objects in physical space by mind alone.

 

But my single favourite piece was part of the DevArt space, which brings together pieces commissioned jointly by Google and the Barbican from developers creating art from code. Zach Lieberman‘s Play the World feels somewhat overlooked in the coverage I’ve read, yet for me it’s the best – and most evocative – piece in the show. It consists of a single piano keyboard surrounded by a circle of speakers; a note played on the keyboard triggers software that finds that very note being played that moment on a radio station somehwere in the world (the station and country are displayed on LED screens below the speaker from which the sound emerges).

Now of course the results aren’t as musically perfect as those created, ironically, on the Fairlight, sitting in a vitrine near the exhibition’s entrance. Indeed, from a certain perspective what comes out is cacophonous. But the way that Lieberman has used code to summon up a sense of our place in a world that is at once culturally heterogenous and yet irreversibly connected represents, for me, the very best kind of digital art: interactive and immersive, yes, but more than that, profoundly thought-provoking and, well, human.

 

Simon

[Disclaimer: the Barbican is a long-standing client of Turner Hopkins.]

It’s the morning of May 7th and the week of back-to-back seminars, briefings and brainstorms continued, with one of the Southbank Centre’s famous “think-ins”, one aimed at launching the SBC’s Web We Want Festival – slated for this autumn, the Centre’s contribution to a year of activity led by Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation.

The morning was kicked off by the Southbank’s Artistic Director, Jude Kelly, who discussed the centre’s genesis in the deprived years of the post-War period, as part of the Festival of Britain. Thinkers then had called for a “propaganda of the imagination”, and Kelly has sought to build on this legacy with a series of festivals dedicating to exploring given themes in real depth; they’ve included Women of the World, Being a Man and Alchemy.

The Web We Want would start from the question: “how do we care for the web, as we do (or should) for the planet?” Kelly also set out her stall by saying that she wanted the festival to take into account the reality of the continuing digital divide in the UK and the fact that the tech space was still quite so heavily dominated by men. The morning was intended to bring together people from a wide range of disciplines to help develop the festival’s content, but before we got to that, we had a real treat: Kelly in conversation with Sir Tim Berners-Lee himself, whom I’m assuming needs no introduction here.

Sir Tim covered a lot of ground both in his talk with Kelly and in response to questions from the floor, so I’ll just jot some headlines down:

  • He echoed Kelly’s remarks about the lack of women in the tech community and encouraged more girls to be geeks.
  • The web had begun as an unmonitored phenomenon (John Perry Barlow’s “hippy commune”) but business and government had encroached more and more on that until perhaps that encroachment’s apotheosis: Mubarak’s turning off Egypt’s Internet access.
  • Corporate business had deliberately obfuscated the issues around Net Neutrality in a deliberate, coordinated “push back” against it.
  • The World Wide Web Foundation was set up to champion issues around Internet Freedom and was looking to create a “Magna Carta” for the web.
  • Good work was already going on in the area in Brazil, led by President Dilma Rousseff herself.
  • Meanwhile the EU is doing good work, led by the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes.
  • Other countries doing encouraging work included Estonia and Kenya.
  • The WWWF will build on this work with pilot schemes in a range of countries including Brazil, Nigeria and Ecuador.
  • The UK is very much a mixed bag. There’s good stuff going on with publically available data (he cited TfL’s great success in driving efficiency through its publication of APIs – an alternative to trying to “build everything itself”). But the public are wrong to trust the government in terms of privacy, with GCHQ being “the hand maiden of the NSA”.
  • He acknowledged that society always needed to balance privacy and security but that the law as it stands “offline” should be the basis for the security services’ activity online.
  • Similarly, the balance between the right to privacy and its abuse in the form of trolling is a tricky one to negotiate.
  • There was also some discussion about advertising and the fact that “attention is gold” – and everyone is after ours.

Perhaps the most moving moment of the morning – certainly the one that got a spontaneous round of applause – came during the Q&A, when a young schoolgirl made an eloquent attack on the impact social media was having on articulacy. That once we “ran out of hashtags”, what would we be able to express? Quite.

And I’ve really just scratched the service here; it was a very full morning.

I’d like to close with a couple of my own observations. And I stress my own.

Web-native art – I thought, given that this was an event hosted by the SC, that there might have been some discussion about what kind of arts might develop that are in some way native to the web, or to digital generally. I’m thinking here partially about James Bridle’s New Aesthetic, but also about interactive art in general. It strikes me as somewhat ironic that the most immersive or interactive art I’ve experienced over the last year has been in the field of (relatively) traditional theatre: Punchdrunk’s Drowned Man and Theatre Delicatessen’s Spaced.

Communities of practice – It seems to me that one of the great achievements of the web has been to bring niche communities of practice together across international borders, communities that could not have existed previously in any meaningful way. I’ve seen just how widespread, diverse and passionate this phenomenon is in communities built on three very different areas of activity that are close to my own heart: paleo health (Marks Daily Apple), contemplation practice (Buddhist Geeks) and, of course, extreme metal guitar (SevenString.Org). How can these kinds of communities in the arts world re-shape artistic practice?

The future of the content industries – I’ve said it til I’m blue in the face, but the content industries’ future needs to be where it always has been: in scarcity (that’s just basic economics). But the nature of that scarcity has changed profoundly with the un-coupling of content and artefact. Someone in the audience raised the issue of artists being rewarded for their work. Fair enough, but no-one can agree what that work is worth, least not in the digital realm, and that’s because there simply is no inherent commercial value in creative practice. That commercial value arises from, again, simple economic circumstances, and again, scarcity is surely the chief one. If that scarcity isn’t in the form of artefact (yes, the vinyl boom is great but you’re having yourself on if you think it’s going to preserve the kind of record industry we had in the 90s) then it surely has to be in experience. So what new kinds of “scarce” artistic experience can be created in the realm of the digital?

Simon