Europe has historically focused its attention in engineering on R&D and standardization, and historically innovation is viewed to be the core of a competitive economy. Today, however, an increasing number of high-tech companies throughout the world assert that, in addition to scientific and technological skills, the critical skills needed for innovation to happen and to be of value for society are rooted in forms of creativity found in artistic practices. In this context, the expertise of artists can directly drive and influence innovation in technology. They offer new perspectives, inspire new directions, and act as a catalyst for a successful and socially responsible transformation of new technologies into new products and new ecological, social, and business models. In recognition of this development the European Commission has launched the STARTS initiative—Innovation at the nexus of Science, Technology, and the ARTS to promote the inclusion of artists in research and innovation activities in Europe. Gerfried Stocker, Artistic Director of Ars Electronica, will kick off the S+T+ARTS Day with his keynote.
Gerfried Stocker (AT) is a media artist and an engineer for communication technology and has been artistic director and co-CEO of Ars Electronica since 1995. In 1995/96 he developed the exhibition strategies of the Ars Electronica Center with a small team of artists and technicians and was responsible for the setup and establishment of Ars Electronica’s own R & D facility, the Ars Electronica Futurelab. He has overseen the development of the program for international Ars Electronica exhibitions since 2004, the planning and the revamping of the contents for the Ars Electronica Center, which was enlarged in 2009, since 2005; the expansion of the Ars Electronica Festival since 2015; and the extensive overhaul of Ars Electronica Center’s contents and interior design in 2019. Stocker is a consultant for numerous companies and institutions in the field of creativity and innovation management and is active as a guest lecturer at international conferences and universities. In 2019 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Aalto University, Finland.