Why I left the arts to join tech?

JiaXuan Hon
Jul 16 · 2 min read

In 2013, whilst working in dance and theatre management, I had this niggling feeling about technology. I am happy that I did set off on a path to find my answers. In the following 5 years, I became a producer, ran companies and produced art/tech projects under my company Blackwinged Creatives.

“How the computer sees us” from book “Physical Computing”: Drawing of a finger with an eye and two ears.
“How the computer sees us” from book “Physical Computing”: Drawing of a finger with an eye and two ears.

I am proud to have worked with the artists I worked with, and produced the projects that I’ve produced. I am also glad that with the rise of voice technology in the mainstream in the past year or so rendered one of my favourite images almost obsolete (though there are more body-related ponderings in tech development).

But it was not enough for me.

I closely followed the developments in technology, e.g. AI and its biases, mediocre-ly designed apps that give more problems than solution, the education system that got rid of arts and humanities subjects in favour of STEM, the future of work, the implications of fourth industrial revolution…

Whatever I was thinking and obsessing over, it was no longer about producing a great piece of work, or working with talented artists. If I stayed in the arts, I will probably fail as a producer, and I had to make space for those who actually pour their souls into the work.

So I left, to be closer to this beast called technology. Dare I even dream to bring the arts and humanities to tech, and bake them into my creation in tech with my own hands. I might be disappointed, but at least, I have something to look forward to. You don’t forget where you come from, so this is not a farewell. I’m just on my next adventure.

PS: These ideas below are what I hold on to now. I might even be lucky if they are worth something.

PPS: After graduating from Flatiron School’s 15-week coding bootcamp, I am thrilled to be joining ThoughtWorks in August 2019 as a Consultant — Graduate Developer. It is a global tech consultancy, but also the only one where I didn’t even need to explain why I worked at the intersection of arts and technology, because of they do it too — ThoughtWorks Arts.

“Lisa highlights three major issues in the technology industry that are changing the world around us — not for the better — and offers three practical steps we can all take to become more active participants in the technology system.”
JiaXuan Hon

Written by

Malaysian, Chinese, London, dance, tech, citizenship, and doughnut economy

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