NEW INC DRIVES DEVELOPMENT OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES FOR ART MUSEUMS THROUGH ADDITIONAL $660,000 INVESTMENT FROM KNIGHT FOUNDATION

August 2, 2018

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New cohort of arts tech innovators announced

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, [email protected]

Paul Jackson, Communications Director, and Nora Landes, Press Associate, New Museum, 212-219-1222 x209, [email protected]

New York, NY—August 2, 2018—NEW INC, the New Museum’s incubator program for cultural practitioners and creative entrepreneurs, has announced it will extend its museum technology focus track for two additional years, with a new investment of $660,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. 

Building on the successes of NEW INC’s first museum technology cohort, which completed projects in 2018, members of the forthcoming cohort will research and develop transformative new technology applications for art museums. The second cohort, whose projects are described below, will begin in September 2018. 

NEW INC is a shared workspace and professional development program based at the New Museum on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. It brings together more than 100 cultural practitioners and creative entrepreneurs for a twelve-month program that focuses on museum technology, immersive experiences, creative experiments and social impact. Members engage in business and entrepreneurial training sessions; group critiques; peer-to-peer learning and critical discourse about the changing nature of culture, technology and entrepreneurship.

In the first year of NEW INC’s museum technology focus track, launched in 2017 with an initial investment of $250,000 from Knight Foundation, NEW INC supported six groups through ongoing professional development workshops, mentoring and networking opportunities to incubate innovative products and services in the museum technology space. The cohort traveled to three cities (Detroit, Miami and Philadelphia), visiting over a dozen museums and cultural institutions and meeting with staff to discuss the successes and challenges of integrating technology in the cultural sector. In July 2018, cohort participants from the pilot year shared lessons learned during the Museum Tech Summit, hosted at the New Museum.

“Through Knight Foundation’s continued support of our work at NEW INC, two more cohorts of members will have an unparalleled opportunity to pursue greater innovation in museum technology and respond to growing needs in the field,” said Lisa Phillips, the New Museum’s Toby Devan Lewis Director.

“To increase audience interest and engagement in the digital age, museums need access to products and services that help to make technology part of their culture. The NEW INC program offers the space, resources, and community for entrepreneurs to experiment with and develop the kind of innovation that changes mindsets and systems,” said Victoria Rogers, Knight Foundation vice president for arts.

Projects from the first year included modular virtual reality exhibition pods by the Digital Museum of Digital Art (DiMoDA); an online collaboration tool for museum professionals to execute an exhibition by Bika Rebek; an exhibition design prototype that aims to bring digital collections back into the physical space by Studio TheGreenEyl; and a digital archive of memorabilia from the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs by Raycaster. At the close of the cohort this year, NEW INC awarded prototyping stipends to four projects that showed promise in addressing technology challenges faced by museums. 

The second cohort, which will complete projects in 2018–19, includes the following participants:

  • Bika Rebek will return for a second year to develop her promising software service Tools for Show, an online collaboration tool for museum professionals that brings all the necessary information to curate, design and build an exhibition into one digital model.
  • Micah Walter Studio will return to continue developing its toolsets for museums looking to expand their ability to interface with technology. The studio is using two existing public museum collection datasets to support an API that will allow two studios (Luxloop and Studio TheGreenEyl) to express these collections in a new and unique way.
  • Abstract Nomadic Media is a film production company based in New York that will develop an application for using an AR-enabled app as a visitor engagement tool for experiencing video art.
  • Dot Dot brings storytelling, design and engineering together to create innovative experiences in both on-screen and real-world environments. They will explore a low-cost, portable VR solution for museums.
  • Movers and Shakers is a coalition that executes direct action and advocacy campaigns for marginalized communities using virtual reality, augmented reality and the creative arts. The coalition will explore how to apply their methodology in a museum setting.
  • DOME is a Brooklyn-based experience design studio combining design, technology, and strategy to create lasting brand experiences. DOME will focus on working with museums to translate its service-based practice into a scalable resource for the museum field.

About NEW INC

NEW INC was cofounded by Lisa Phillips and Karen Wong in 2014 and is the first museum-led cultural incubator dedicated to supporting innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship across art, design, and technology. NEW INC’s Director is Stephanie Pereira. For more information, visit newinc.org.

About the New Museum

The New Museum is the only museum in New York City exclusively devoted to contemporary art. Founded in 1977, the New Museum is a center for exhibitions, information, and documentation about living artists from around the world. From its beginnings as a one-room office on Hudson Street to the inauguration of its first freestanding building on the Bowery designed by SANAA in 2007, the New Museum continues to be a place of experimentation and a hub of new art and new ideas.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.

Image (top): A mockup of Studio TheGreenEyl's design prototype that aims to bring digital collections back into the physical space. Credit: Studio TheGreenEyl.