How did Agora Start? Learn how the founder designed the Agora Concept in this interview for ArtTech.Institute.

1. How would you describe your practise/project and how did it start?

 Agora Digital Art is an art forum to talk about New Media Art and Technology.

The project was launched on 1 June 2020. Agora produces one to two virtual talks each month. It is currently like the typical sprint-run in any start-up. We check different hypotheses, then we see what works or what can be re-designed.

How did it start?

It took me some time to articulate the idea, but I knew that I wanted:

  • to support women artists,
  • to explain why Digital Art is Contemporary Art,
  • to create a platform where people actively learn, freely talk and truly connect,
  • to add a digital-like experience for the participants.

For those reasons, a forum is the best place to be. With the additional ingredient of the VR environment. 

In the Agora forum, the participants reflect and listen to what is said by the artist. Then, the audience actively interacts with the speakers and exchanges points of view. As a result, the entire community – artist and audience –  expand their perspective and gain a broader understanding.

For the networking part, you may sit with an artist, an art professional, a collector, a gallerist or a gamer without noticing at first. Overall, the VR element allows better quality networking, based on what you say rather than the way you look.

2. What was your first experience of innovating art by using technology

 In 2015, I wanted a website that did not exist yet. I wanted a 3D online gallery with multiple functionalities to catalogue and to reference the works of art, to sell but with personalised collector service and to create a private virtual collection anywhere in the world.

Today, I am delighted to see that all I longed for is arriving on the market.

3. How would you describe your community? Is it based on digital or in-person relations?

I have always used more digital than in-person because I work with a pool of artists that live in different parts of the world. 

Possibly with the last pandemic, people will be more at ease to link and build a working relationship over the Internet. Who wants to commute 2-hrs for a 30-minute meeting?

© Courtesy of Rhizomedotorg.

4. What would you recommend as the most important initiatives now in arttech?

I am curious about the project Superblue lead by Christy MacLear and now,  ArtLab from Hauser-Wirth in Menorca, Spain. I love the Rhizome project connected to the New Museum.

 The rapid evolution of technology – supported by the Internet and 5G – has a positive cultural impact in democratising the arts. After all, global access promotes cultural awareness and greater diversity.

5. Did you come across any local arttech projects that could have an impact globally?

 Yes, a friend is building something that will revolutionise your browsing experience. It is still in “Beta” development.

via GIPHY

© Courtesy of the artist.

6. The status quo has been challenged by COVID19, amongst others. What are the most pressing issues in the art world now, from your perspective?

The most important is to have a sound Digital Marketing Strategy.  All the recent artists, galleries or institutions, that shined on the Internet, were those who were prepared to the digital world. It is not about having a quick-fix website and “being online”; it is always about the purpose: using, as part of the entire marketing strategy, the “digital” as an asset.

7. Did your practice and environment change recently?

Yes, a bit. Although, the COVID19 only accelerated the evident need to be more digitally connected while bearing in mind the “quality networking” aspect. 

I looked at all the online networking possibilities, and I have picked the one that best serves my community. 

Moving from a physical-thought encounter to an avatar-based location is innovative and exciting. The person who risks nothing does nothing.  In the end, a virtual venue better serves the purpose of articulating the guests’ message and pushing the boundaries. The participants focus on the content rather than gazing at the audience.

8. What is your definition of arttech?

 Perhaps naively, I would say that art technology is the field that bounds the creator and the viewer in an enhanced art experience.

9. What is your 2020 #arttech statement?

  Agora Digital Art is the VR art forum to DISCOVER. DEBATE. CONNECT.

via GIPHY

© Courtesy of the artist.

10. How do you imagine the arts in 10 years?

As technology advances, everything will be AR, VR and XR available. The question is: would these high-tech tools be available for all of us or only for privileged countries?

11. What projects are engaging you now and where to follow?

 My focus is now on the Art forum. We are launching a series of theme-based talks in a cool immersive avatar venue. The first talk is on 24 June 2020, come and join us.

The website is AgoraDigital.Art and on all social media: @AgoraDigitalArt

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About Agora Digital Art

Founded in 2020, Agora Digital Art offers a range of content talks focused on New Media to expand our community’s perspectives on art, expression, and interpretation.

Agora Digital Art is a certified social enterprise that invites women artists to share their  “singular vision”  in the programme.

We rely on our community support to pay our volunteers and to finance our events. Everyone contribution, however big or small, is so valuable for our future. Support Agora Digital Art from as little as £1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

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