The Pugetopolis Manifesto

on Art, Technology and Social Justice


We observe (){

That the Northwest is home to a vibrant community of artists working with and about technology;

That there can be no consensus on the term for artists working with or about technology;

That artists work with systems, algorithms, interactions, networks, information, mechatronics, data, immersions, hybrid situations and amplified scenarios;

That we are losing spaces capable of exhibiting this artwork;

That the loss of art spaces happens with every tech boom in the Northwest;

That the loss of ___ spaces happens with every tech boom in the Northwest;

That the tech boom radically displaces whole communities;

That technology spaces are increasingly homogenous;

}

We declare (){

That homogeneity begets homogeneity;

That tokenism is not diversity;

That Culture Fit is a problematic concept;

That people unlike you may be missing from your spaces for reasons that you need to fix;

That you can throw classes and conference passes at women and other communities all you want, but until your space is non-toxic it is toxic;

That you should build bridges and solutions but recognize and respect that sometimes the work is already underway and you should support it instead;

That allyship is critical, speak up for those who are missing until they arrive support them when they do;

That as Seattle Curator C. Davida Ingram observes “Allyship is awkward,” embrace this fact but do the work and aspire to be a data sponge;*

}

We look back(){

and see that philosopher Leibniz asked us to think about New Systems in 1695;

and see that programmer Ada Lovelace gave us the computer;

and see that programmer Grace Hopper gave us the bug;

and see that Lillian Schwartz and Vera Molnar have been making art with computers since 1968;

and see that artist Lygia Clark explored interactivity throughout the 1960’s and 70's;

and see that Dr. James W. Washington, Jr. serves as an example of a life dedicated to art and social justice work in the Northwest;

}
We demand(){

Technological Literacy be understood as a basic human right;

That art spaces be maintained, supported and invented;

That every tech company have an Artist-in-Residence and a Chief Design Officer;

That you understand that the ROI of art & design is well documented;

}
We symbolically reject these terms(){

Art and Technology;

As with the other members of the Philosophy wing of the Seattle Art & Technology Workshop we officially reject the term Art & Technology as the Greek root of technology is “art, skill, craft in work; method, system, an art, a system or method of making or doing.” However, this phrase can and will be used until a semantic fix has been crafted. First and foremost we are artists;

Prosthetic;

Augmentation of our physical body is not the same as having a database in our digital device. The prosthetic metaphor in human-machine coupling should be referred to as Amplification;

}
We promise(){

To act as Empathy Machines;

Empathy may be posited as the opposite of analytical thinking but this is a false dichotomy. Analytics and empathy are together critical for the design and building of structures that support and amplify our humanity;

To explore Computational Aesthetics;

We should think about what we are doing as creating art with recent tools. Our art is about creating and composing new experiences for humans;

To act as Data Sponges;*

10 years ago at the Interactive Telecommunications Program the DriveBy was created. It sought to augment educational hierarchies by creating a space for students to absorb and release each others skills, knowledge and experience. When we teach each other we create a highly effective tool in combating the trend towards homogeneous spaces. In every exchange we should expect to learn something and to teach something;**

To embark on Liberation Technology;

}

/*Signed Meghan Trainor and whoever else will join me in programmatically constructing our Pugetopolis

July 4th, 2014

Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art. -Will Durant

Systems analysts are not cold-blooded logicians; the best have an ever-expanding grasp of human needs and limitations. -Jack Burnham, Systems Esthetics

We do everything so automatically that we have forgotten the poignancy of smell, of physical anguish, of tactile sensations of all kinds. -Lygia Clark

Special thanks to Jite Agbro, Tim Detweiler, Robert Twomey, Whitney Ford-Terry and Scott McKnight.

*Simply put, if you are a member of homogenous group, in talking to someone not like you, ask them to teach you something that they are very good at doing.

**This concept was inspired by the term “each one teach one” a quote often repeated at The Evergreen State College */