The Big Picture, IV – How about a 21st Century Florence? Or for that matter, a new Hangzhou?

June 10, 2016 § 1 Comment

Athenian bowl, Chinese Song Dynasty compass, Michelangelo drawing, image of brain as circuit

“Silicon Valley’s continued success depends, ironically, not on some shiny new gizmo but on learning the lessons of history.”

“What jumpstarts a golden age is not necessarily what keeps it going. The good ones manage to change fuel sources midstream. The Renaissance was initially powered by the recovered ancient texts, but the Humanists who discovered them soon generated their own ideas, their own intellectual momentum. Silicon Valley, if it is to survive, needs to find alternative energy sources, new ways of being creative and not simply new creative products.”

– Eric Weiner, Geography of Genius

“History is a mirror for the future!”

– My parents. Or maybe Chinese axiom?

So it appears that the Bay Area has an art scene undergoing transformation, with exodus and influx both at play. My roundup in the last installment of the Series didn’t even include the Stanford Arts District — the one-stop, four-institution arts compound at Stanford University that is quickly ascending in national significance, with three new buildings in three years (at a cost of $235 million), adding to the existing Cantor Arts Center.

« Read the rest of this entry »

The Big Picture, III – Venture Capitalist Steps in on San Francisco’s Art exodus; Big Art Meets Big Tech in Silicon Valley’s First Serious Gallery

May 7, 2016 § 4 Comments

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This installment of our Big Picture series zooms in on Silicon Valley.

As the 2010’s enters its second half, something curious is going on between tech and art, in the oft-proclaimed “innovation capital”.

On the one hand, angry protests from San Francisco’s art community, against the new monied tech elites driving up real estate prices and edging out artists and other creatives, are still ringing in the ear. A personal anecdote (other than the fact that non-artist regular people like myself can hardly afford housing here too): just yesterday I was calling a string of art supply stores for a gift I’m planning on buying for a friend in China, only to find out that half of them have moved from their previously listed locations – the one in downtown Palo Alto has moved to Redwood City, after losing its lease to a “social networking company”; the one in San Francisco is in the process of moving to Oakland, vacating space for a condo development (perhaps  targeting employees of that social networking company). All-too-familiar stories, about the exodus of art. « Read the rest of this entry »

The Big Picture, II – Designers of the Future, Poets for Your Bots, and Anti-disciplinarians: the Emerging World as Seen in New Job Descriptions

April 16, 2016 § Leave a comment

We cannot foresee at this point which scenario is likely to emerge, and history suggests that the outcome is likely to be some combination of the two. However, I am convinced of one thing—that in the future, talent, more than capital, will represent the critical factor of production.”
– Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

Well, capital still seems pretty darn critical from where I stand, but that’s beside the point for this installment of our Big Picture series.  Continuing from “Part I, The Fourth Industrial Revolution” last week, this issue is a more concrete exploration of the future depicted by Dr. Schwab, through a particular lens – new talents and job skill demands emerging or anticipated at the leading edge of the tech industry.


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The Most Important Design Jobs Of The Future, from Fast Company, CO.DESIGN, by Suzanne Labarre « Read the rest of this entry »

The Big Picture, I – The Fourth Industrial Revolution

April 4, 2016 § 3 Comments

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond

By Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, for Davos 2016

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Excerpts:

“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. … « Read the rest of this entry »

First Quarter in Review: The Big Picture, Ahead and Around

April 4, 2016 § 4 Comments

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Unlike most of my posts, this issue (or this series, in multiple issues) does not feature specific artworks (which, by the way, many of you have told me to be beautiful–thank you!). Instead, I will share with you news, events and readings I came across in the first quarter of 2016, which collectively form a “big picture” context, helping to demonstrate that Essinova’s exploration into the arts is not just about beauty, although that itself is a worthy cause.

Top 10 skills 2020It is a big picture of the next industrial revolution and the future that mankind is entering, in which art and culture will be of fundamental importance not only to the human race as a whole but also to private industry. Philosophically speaking, art (with feelings) might become one of our last bastions of human privilege as machines can replace us in pretty much everything else. On a more practical level, culture and humanities, alongside science and technology, will become part of the very fabric of tomorrow’s businesses, rather than an afterthought marketing flair. This is necessitated by the new demands of solution design, consumer experience and talent development. « Read the rest of this entry »

Winter to Spring. Ancient and Contemporary. Science Art for Happy Chinese New Year!

February 7, 2016 § 1 Comment

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The marking of season’s or year’s change is possibly the most global and ancient manifestation of human “culturetech,” or integrated science and art. Tracking the patterns of lunar, solar, and seasonal cycle was among the earliest “scientific” works of man, yet also a key prompt for cultural sense-making and expression, from monuments to festivities.

Three days ago was Lichun (立春), or Start of Spring, the first of 24 Solar Terms on the East Asian lunisolar calendars. (For those scientifically-inclined, it is when the Sun is at the celestial longitude of 315°.)

Tomorrow Spring Festival(春节)will arrive, marking the beginning of a new lunar year, this time welcoming the Monkey.

As my family and I rush to finish house cleansing and get ready for dumplings, red lanterns, New Year’s Eve TV show and WeChat greeting storms, I would like to share the festivities with you by presenting a group of unique arts, courtesy of creators around the world. « Read the rest of this entry »

Beauty and Brains. The Nerd Wears Prada. My “Smart Jewelry” Reconnaissance.

January 16, 2016 § 2 Comments

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The first week of 2016 found me in Las Vegas, to attend CES, the giant annual Consumer Electronics Show, for the very first time.  In the sea of gadgets large and small, I wandered in the area designated for “wearables”.

Wearables have not, before now, really grabbed me, in spite of my coverage of health technology for years, and enthusiasm for the category in the tech world and beyond.  I tried out a Fitbit last year for a few days initially, then in a few more short stretches of heightened self-motivation, but have let it collect dust on my night stand ever since.

Just around New Year’s I learned of “smart jewelry,” and we featured two collections — Ringly and Tyia — in our Lifestyle gallery.  They made me realize why I had stopped wearing the Fitbit – many times I had been embarrassed by the unsightly plastic on my wrist, compromising my outfit.

With no better plans for my last afternoon at CES (my presumed primary mission having proven a bust the day before), I decided to just take it easy and see if I could find anything else like Ringly and Tyia that may actually be, well, “wearable”.  I’m glad I did – these last few hours made the whole trip worthwhile.

I now share with you my review and stories of five “smart jewelry” makers, including my picks from CES; as well as my thoughts about this new generation of “wearables”. « Read the rest of this entry »