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DATA Awards Recognize Art and Technology

on Mon, 04/29/2013 - 09:53

In 2008, the Pittsburgh Technology Council created the Art + Technology Initiative in order to showcase the connection between these two related disciplines within the region. “By exploring the various intersections of Art and Technology, and creating unprecedented strategic partnerships, the Initiative aims to enhance the productivity of both groups, while fostering this nexus to spur regional progression,” the Pittsburgh Art + Technology website states. “Founded on the idea that art and technology share the fundamental characteristic of innovation, as well as a synergy at the forefront of cultural innovation, the Initiative and its partners are dedicated to unearthing the possibilities of this leading-edge fusion.”

To facilitate their mission, the organization also launched the Design, Art and Technology (DATA) Awards the same year. The ceremony attracted over seventy-five artists to the 15 Minute Gallery on Technology Drive, and has continued to grow ever since. Luminaries such as Cirque de Soleil creative director Lyn Heward, The Sims video game creator Will Wright and J Moses, former president of MTV Russia, have been among the special guests at the annual awards ceremony. 2013 again sees the DATA Awards taking place on May 15th at a much larger local than the 15 Minute Gallery—this year at the Grand Hall of the Priory on the North Side—as well as local science author Chip Walter, whose latest book, Last Ape Standing, was released in late January, serving as presenter.

The 2013 version of the DATA Awards also allows for the general public to cast their votes for the eventual winners. “It’s all about engaging the public and pulling interest from beyond the business community this year,” organizer Kim Chestney Harvey told Pop City. “It’s really important to keep the community element, which is what the DATAs are founded on.” Among the categories, meanwhile, are “Apps and Information Architecture,” “Design and Art,” “Interactive and Multimedia,” “Gaming,” “Kids and Creative Technology,” and—new for 2013—a “Student” category.

“Technology is important to art because it connects creativity with innovation and the spirit of inventiveness,” Kim Chestney Harvey explains on the Pittsburgh Art + Technology website. “Whether we are using technology to create our art, or to share our art, it challenges artists to explore new realms of aesthetic experience and cultural relevance. But, on the other hand, art is important to technology for the most important reason of all—art gives technology its humanity. And our humanity is the driving force behind every new technology we design and every product we manufacture. We are all makers. Without creativity, we don’t make anything. If we don’t make anything, we don’t progress.”

Pittsburgh has a strong tradition in both the art and technological fields, and thanks to the Art + Technology Initiative, the best of those two disciplines are annually on display at the DATA Awards.

Anthony Letizia (April 29, 2013)

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