Julia Kaganskiy wants a revolution.
“The arts are primed for some creative disruption by means of technology,” she argues. “Part of the reason it hasn’t really happened yet is so many of the traditional arts organizations are afraid to open up the floodgates to social media because they’re afraid of diluting their authority.”
However, with Kaganskiy’s body of work, it appears that the digital art renaissance is upon us, with her at the helm. Remember the social media frenzy surrounding the Marina Abramović exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York? Yeah, she worked on that. “It was something that went viral on its own,” Kaganskiy remembers. “This isn’t even something that the museum planned.”
The arts journalist turned digital strategist recently went back to her roots, becoming the editor of The Creators Project, a network of digital artists around the world that puts on events internationally. Kaganskiy also leads the “Arts, Culture & Technology Meetup,” where professionals who work across the fields can come together and discuss emerging issues and trends.
Technology and social media can play competing roles in the arts. On the one hand, artists use technology to create user-generated projects and challenge general perceptions of technology. Kaganskiy’s Blue Box Gallery, a mobile pop-up gallery, focuses on generative art, or “art that looks to use algorithms and computer code to create work that is generating in real time. Basically a computer program that creates this beautiful work of art.”
On the other side, arts institutions are nervous to let technology usurp their power. And Kaganskiy questions whether current technology is effective at capturing art; new technologies may be required to truly experience art digitally.
“You get these iPhone apps with these tiny images that you can’t really see,” she says. “They don’t really work for the medium that they’re being displayed on because the institutions are still abiding by these old laws. When the laws catch up with the realities of the digital age, these things might be remedied.”
However, whether the screen is too small or the art doesn’t translate, Kaganskiy believes that social media can take over if institutions and artists are willing to make their work available.
“When you give people access to that kind of material, they will take it and they will re-mix it and put their own interpretation on it,” she says. “Giving people access to material if it’s very strong, powerful, captivating material, like hopefully all art exhibitions will consist of…It can take on a life of its own.”