LACMA relaunches Art + Technology Lab

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has announced that it has relaunched its Art + Technology Lab, an innovative approach that brings two seemingly disparate worlds together.
It was first conceived in 1967 and ran for four years. The programme was widely celebrated for its creativity and its ability to experiment in an extremely original way.
The original version was popular and saw artists like Andy Warhol, James Turrell and Claes Oldenburg lend their imaginative abilities to the technological savvy of major tech corporations.
Continuing in that vein, in a similar but completely different paradigm – both technology and art have come a long way since the late sixties – the museum is committing itself to a new era of possibility.
“The Lab is inspired by the history at LACMA, but the program we’re launching now differs in some respects,” the institution explained in a blog post.
“Today, compared to the late 1960s, the boundary between art and technology is much more fluid. We fully expect to see participants in the program that move easily between both disciplines. That makes aligning artists and technology developers all the more exciting and fruitful.”
Organisations that have already signed up to the project, whose advisory board is made up of Dan Goods (visual strategist at Jet Propulsion Labs) and Ken Goldberg (professor of industrial engineering and operations research at the University of California, Berkeley), include Accenture, NVIDIA, DAQRI, SpaceX and Google.
The Lab will be housed in LACMA’s newly refurbished Balch Research Library and both artists and collectives are welcome to apply for grants worth up to $50,000 (approximately £30,626) by January 27th 2014. Successful applicants will receive support from both the advisory board and the participating technology companies.
“The good thing about this project is that we don’t know where it’s going to go,” Michael Govan, the museum’s director, was quoted by the New York Times as saying.
“Artists are always using technology as tools — you couldn’t have made a lot of Jeff Koons’s work in 1967. The interest on both sides is constantly bubbling and the question is whether a museum can serve as a forum for pulling it all together more formally. That’s what we’re going to find out.”
At its core is a commitment to ingenuity, which should complement both disciplines. The new thinking that arises when you are placed outside of your normal sphere of reference.
Two seemingly disparate worlds colliding need not be catastrophic. It can give birth to something new. You have to be curious to experiment. If all else fails, at least you gave it a go. Risk is welcome in that context.
“We’re enthusiastic in our support of LACMA’s Art + Technology Lab,” said Thomas Page Williams, Google’s senior director of engineering and Los Angeles site director. “It’s daring and intriguing as a publicly accessible experiment between two worlds that can be well served by spending more time with each other.”
Cadogan Tate has extensive experience in shipping fine art all over the world.