It is a pleasure to welcome you to the new eyebeam.org. More than a website, we aim for this space to be an active and vital hub for learning, inspiration, and discovery. As an organization nearing its 25th anniversary in a few years, we have a lot to share with the world and this site is our home for making it more widely accessible.
Begun essentially as an artist collective in 2000, Eyebeam has always been committed to the equation that artists + technology = discovery. In the early years of this century, this resulted in exploration of how computation can aid and abet wild creativity, through the Eyebeam OpenLab and the Moving Image Studio, along with countless exhibitions, talks, parties, and even sleepovers in our old Chelsea warehouse space on the far west side of Manhattan. Now, as we move to a digital-first, hybrid strategy, building deep relationships with our brick-and-mortar friends, eyebeam.org plays an even more central role in acting as the centrifuge for unlocking the work of our community from the past as well as sharing the work of Eyebeam’s current family of inventive, playful, and profound artists, thinkers, and technologists.
In the face of the pandemic and as rapid shifts take place in technology, we made the decision to move to a fully digital-first approach in our fellowships and programs. This has resulted in a whole new way of operating as an organization, forcing us to ask big questions such as, How can humanity live in the future and what is human about technology? We are opening immense opportunities for artists to come together across continents and collaborating towards the same goals but through different frames and languages. In this time of siloed thinking and rising concern about the role of computational intelligence in our lives, our commitment to opening windows of co-creation is stronger than ever.
This website aims to be an accessible, inclusive index of the inspiring and challenging work of the Eyebeam artist community–past, present, and future made more open to all through intentional design and an organizational commitment to “walking the walk.” To that end, the website fully meets WCAG standards. Additionally, I am pleased to share that as an organization, we have made huge strides in pulling out of the “Big 5” tech companies’ digital cauldron of sketchy privacy and exploitative practices. We have engaged Underscore, a values-driven engineering and technology partner, in order to ensure that all of our institutional information is kept both private and is fully owned by us and not absorbed into corporate profits. This has been transformational, and as the process continues we look forward to sharing that work with the larger community.
I am not aware of a moment in history wherein the act of discovery by artists is more necessary. We need them to bring the innate mental, spiritual, and physical aspects of humanness into play and inquiry with technology in order to affirm our role as creators, not spectators, of our collective techno-future. This is a critical step in this moment as we become more aware of the dangers of emerging AI, in the loss of individual sovereignty in the face of capitalist surveillance industries, and in the potential for hard-won gains in human rights to be erased.
I hope that you enjoy exploring this new digital home for the organization as much as we enjoyed building it. It is our wish that Eyebeam may serve as a place to which you can always return in order to fuel discovery and to find beauty in technology, wherever you may be.