Article By Andi Tendaji
The Intersection of Art & Technology and What It (This) Means for Black America
The most valuable aspect while in a room, is of those who come together at an event.
It’s also of importance that we talk amongst each other; be it discussing the complexity of the intersection of art & technology, the identities such as techie, creative or artist. Or, how to leverage strategy with your content in this digital age. This event was exactly that and much more.
Gathering in more than just a room (but) in an institution where the expression of the African of the Diaspora is showcased. MoAD’s Vanguard Leadership Council, a volunteer group of young professionals and young spirited individuals, brought together three individuals whom have seemed to effortlessly intersect their mediums into the various aspect of digital communication.
MoAD Vanguards’ panelist were Justin Gerrard, the co-founder and CMO of the BAE app which is the fastest growing Black app in the world and is in top 50 for lifestyle apps. Then there was Yetunde Olagbaj, a multidisciplinary artist and collaborator who utilizes multi mediums to bridge the past with the present and the future. The third panelist was Adrian Octavius Walker, a native of North Saint Louis and a self-published author who creates sensitive portraits based on his studies of human interaction in the intense environments.
With technology at our fingertips, conversations around what is ‘subjective art’ is emerging and now those who create and appreciate art have the ability to sidestep the traditional gatekeepers of art. As expressed by Adrian, intersection is the means of bridging the gap (art & technology) with the medium (his is photography) of that you study. This partnership that is being formed, by way of the intersection of art and technology, has allowed for the playing field in the arts to level out.
This inclusion being crafted by artist such as Adrian and the two other panelist Justin and Yetunde, not only eliminates the ability to exclude an artist due to their skin tone. It questions the status quo of what’s considered acceptable when defining excellent art. Additionally, the incorporation of technology into our black artistic expression is starting to blur the lines of how, we as, Blacks define the standards of excellence through a white lens.
Yetunde shared an excellent observation of how technology has become the platform where blacks are able to tell their stories as in U.S. history doing so has been essentially non-existent. Technology is now the hub for the inclusion of authentic African art and presently there’s a technology revolution happening. To give the audience an idea of what this looks like, Justin gave an interesting fact when he shared how “Blacks make up 13% of the population, 30% of Twitter users are Black and we create 50% of the content.” Clearly we’re dominating the social media platform, just follow Black Twitter when a public figure or large corporation, in the digital world, needs to be informed of their ignorance.
As Blacks we’re creating the culture. We’re the most mimicked and now when it comes to the platform of technology we have control over the dynamic, such as the you would with algorithms. Meaning we have the ability to change the conversation around us.
We get to represent the underrepresented. Just as Adrian, when it came to the riots in Ferguson. We can take photographs that tell our truth, combating the portrayal of our blackness produced by mass media, on our so-called behalf. We’re able to take our mediums directly to social media sites such as Twitter or Instagram. Or tap into the “app game” as Justin and create a platform for a problem that not only your close friends are experiencing, but in general black singles.
Lastly, we (Black community) even have the ability such as Adrian to deny request for work from mass media, as he refused to sell his photographs that went viral from Ferguson. Or as Justin and his co-founder, who turned down the request of a sale for their app BAE to Google and Microsoft. Community this is what the Intersection of Art & Technology means for Black America.