New Media Artists are the unpaid R&D of Ad Agencies

Just read the most heartwarming presentation slides by Golan Levin. I’ve been saying all this for years, but not just about ad agencies. This was a DELIGHT to read from someone so high profile at such an event (thanks @HonorHarger for posting the below on twitter).

>”New-media artists are the unpaid R&D department of ad agencies”@jldevicente quoted by @golan in a great presentation

those slides embedded:

[scribd id=110907265 key=key-hjtl9qrk8ey052p0w8u mode=scroll]


It’s all too easy to jump on the latest off-the-shelf tools or ‘recontextualise’ some other person’s smarts in a new and much more demanding age. Just yesterday I got annoyed reading a Forbes writer call someone using social media to promote his art a ‘pioneer’. Did he build the platforms? Did he create a new form of engagement that had never been seen or heard of before? No; he used a bunch of free, off-the-shelf products that have been around for years. What’s so pioneering about that?

Why does this make me so mad? Because media artists are consistently innovating the unimaginable, and then being ignored or forgotten when maybe a decade later some commercial company takes that idea as their own and makes a fortune. What’s worse is that they give nothing back to the artist or the sector that they came from, not even a Thank You. As Golan says, this is not sustainable. But more than that, it’s downright bloody RUDE.

We must consistently look back at the giants upon whose shoulders we stand. You need help knowing who some of them are? Here are two phenomenal archives of powerful geek arts minds coming together and an entire global network of smart folk. And they only just begin to scratch the surface. In looking backwards so we not only give credit where it’s due, but we could LEARN SOMETHING NEW and at a MUCH FASTER RATE than if we reinvent the wheel all over again.

Bless Golan Levin, Evan Roth and all the very many others who have been repeating this message for years. You non geeks increasingly need us now. You know how I know that? Because YOU KEEP ASKING ME FOR THAT HELP. We can help you. We want to help you. But we only want to play with nice people; people who respect what we do, and how we do it. People who recognise they’re part of an ecology, not working purely for their own sole benefits.

It’s great that these discussions are becoming so much more common now. Maybe finally media artists can stop being considered as those weird people mucking about with strange stuff in dark rooms and get some recognition for their astonishing insight.


Golan Levin’s presentation from FITC’s ETA Conference in Toronto, 19 October 2012.
Slides embedded from Scribd courtesy FITC/ETA Conferences.

Check out Golan’s work via Flong & follow him on twitter via @golan.


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