I had the opportunity to attend Hacking Arts Conference at MIT due to the generosity of the a2ru Student Travel Grant. Out of the many hackathons at campuses and universities around the United States, this one stood out to me, because it brought in the intersection between technology and art. Those two words tend to not get along because many people think, “How can something so technical and the other so abstract get along?” I wanted to figure that out and learn from the professionals who are bringing these two concepts together. During my time there, I recognized the overlap and intersection between art and technology is boundless.
The conference was held at the MIT Media Lab, a building in which you felt like the future was already present. You arrive on an open floor with people who have the same mindset as you do, and are welcomed by student volunteers and a pamphlet of the event that day. Throughout the day, there were talks based on interests – such as creative storytelling, virtual reality, and music. Leaders from industry and academia who are disrupting those fields, talked about what motivates them and to some extent, predicted the future of how we may use technology and art together. Even though I came to this conference alone, I met some students from Brown University. We discussed our same interest of wanting to work in tech, but make it a more welcoming and creative atmosphere. There were also performers that displayed such interesting concepts, such as a contemporary dancer who moved to the sound of experimental music, based on black culture.
Throughout the day, there was a tech expo in which small startups and businesses came together to share their new products they have created. One was a personalized robot for your own interests. It was astonishing to see how it interacted with humans. Another was enhanced LED and personalized clothing, which made me wonder, “Is this what the future of fashion is like?” The individuals who were at the tech expo shared their passion and are disrupting their field as well. I cannot wait to see these products in the market and/or just in our daily lives in the future.