Design Thinking Project Insight Report: Global Mobility of Artist at Digital Art Field
About the Report
The project aims to increase global mobility of the artists by forging a link between digital art organizations in various locations in the world. Design Thinking methodology forms the basis of the project.
Artists, curators, art directors, designers and many other stakeholders playing an active role in the digital art field from 22 nations – being the Europe in the first place – attended the Research phase. This was the first stage of the project delivered by bang. Prix and ArtBizTech (www.artbiztech.org)teams.
Insights and foresights were determined on the basis of the research outcomes in collaboration with numerous stakeholders. Creative solutions will be proposed in order to increase the global mobility among artists taking account of these insights and foresights in the later phases of the project.
Design Thinking is a methodology implemented to deliver innovative and creative tasks, products, processes, services and technologies.
The methodology rolls out with the “Definition” stage. Accordingly, the challenge to be focused on is defined. Then, personas affected by this challenge are interviewed, and their needs and problems are noted in the “Research” stage. Patterns between these needs and problems are ascertained to define insights in the “Interpretation” stage. In the “Ideation” stage, creative and innovative solution ideas are provided with distinct thinking techniques. Then prioritized ideas take shape in the “Prototyping”. Ultimately, prototypes provided to personas are evaluated in the “Evaluation” stage.
The impact of the easily accessible technology makes the stakeholders such as artists and curators, who keep their productions up-to-date while conjoining them with the technology, widespread and visible. As the stakeholders of the industry begin to resolve challenges that they face in time, has led a positive increase in the mobility of the artists. This in a way forged strong bonds between countries, stakeholders and organizations.
These sturdy bonds ensure encounters and trigger inspirations between artists and other professionals through global mobility in different cultures while forming the basis for expansion and creation of a new language in the digital arts. This new language promotes artists as well as other professionals in this field in sharing their unique ideas and values while giving a boost to communications among artists and collaboration opportunities arising from these communications.
“Global Mobility of Artists at Digital Art Field” addresses these collaboration opportunities from different perspectives. It also probes into the mobility of artists, interactions among stakeholders in these field and positive and negative factors having an impact over these interactions.
The project consists of two different groups of participants: a) participants who deliver productions with an active involvement in the creation and productions processes of the digital art and exhibited works at the digital art events abroad (including artists, curators, software developers, directors, etc.); and b) participants who are active in the digital art field with their productions but have not exhibited works at the digital art events abroad (including artists, curators, software developers, etc.).
Findings and Insights
1. The Biggest Motivation in Attending Digital Art Events Abroad: to Experience Artworks
A great deal of data was obtained and analyzed about how long respondents are active in the digital arts field, what motivates them, and whether they attend events or not. The survey reveals that 82.2 percent of the respondents attended at least one digital art event (as the owner of work, visitor or staff), and 11.8 percent did not attend.
Answers demonstrate that 98.04 percent of the respondents with an experience over 10 years; 91.30 percent of the respondents with an experience between 5 and 10 years; 75.86 percent of the respondents with an experience between 2 and 4 years; and 50 percent of the respondents with maximum one-year experience attended at least one digital art event abroad.
Motivations behind the participation in digital art events abroad are listed respectively as follows: to experience a certain piece of art (66.7 percent); to be inspired (60 percent); to meet new people from different cultures (56.3 percent); and to follow up new trends in different cultures (43 percent). Respondents also stated that they attend digital art events held abroad with an intention to display performance, organize workshops, to create international awareness, and to take completely new opportunities.
In addition to these results 16.67 percent of the respondents also reported that demonstrating a piece of art as their biggest motivation. It has been observed that the rate of participation in the digital art events abroad with the aim to display pieces of art is directly proportionate to the experience.
2. Transition from Audience Role to the Performer Role in the Events Abroad
“Have you ever exhibited any of your works abroad?” is the diffraction question of the survey. The respondents who answered “Yes” to this question, convey positive and negative situations gone through by individuals working in this field with their general comments in the next phases of the survey. On the other hand, the respondents who answered “No” to this question (the ones who did not attend digital art events abroad to exhibit) talked about their observations in the digital art field.
75.7 percent of the artists participating in the survey have exhibited their works abroad, while 24.3 percent did not so.
It is seen that 96.08 percent of the respondents delivering works of art more than 10 years; 86.96 percent of the respondents delivering works of art between 5 and 10 years; 53.57 percent of the respondents delivering works of art between 2 and 4 years had the chance to exhibit their works abroad with global mobility. It was also found out that artists with only maximum one-year experience have not attended digital art events abroad yet, as they prefer to remain as audience (see Chart 1).
3. Festivals Receive Majority of the Artworks Abroad
Respondents were asked about at which digital art events and organizations they exhibit their projects.
Participation in the festivals ranks first (86.4 percent) as they address to larger masses and offer much more artworks in one go. Festivals are followed by research and exhibition conferences in the digital art field, artists in residence programs contributing to their productions, nonprofit organizations and exhibitions in the public areas (see Chart 2). Artists also exhibit their works at fairs, museums, performance areas, theaters, biennials, private events and schools besides above stated events.
Artists state that they put emphasis on if the event has a unique aura and prestigious reputation. On the other hand, transportation and accommodation assistance, payment to the artist for the creation, no fees for the application, level of interest in the explicit call contact and financial status of the artist have an impact over the selection of events.
4. 73.8 Percent of the Respondent Artists Receive Invitation for the Events Abroad
In another question, the respondents were asked if they attend digital arts events by way of invitation or by application. Based on answers given to this question, the percentage of experience of the invitees to the events were revealed, and then the opportunities offered to the participants by the events were analyzed.
It is seen that 73.8 percent of the respondents whose projects are exhibited in the digital art events fall under the group of invitees and 26.2 percent of them fall under the applicants.
There is a positive correlation between the years of experience and rate of invitation. Regarding the experience years of the respondents, 53.33 percent of the artists with an experience between 2 and 4 years and who have exhibited their artworks at digital art events abroad; 69.23 percent of the artists with an experience between 5 and 10 years and who have exhibited their artworks at digital art events abroad; and 85.71 percent of the artists with an experience over 10 years and who have exhibited their artworks at digital art events abroad consist the group of artists who were invited by the event organizers. It is observed that 90.91 percent of the invitees receive support from the event organizers, and 77.78 percent of the artists receive support even though they are not invited.
5. Face-to-face communication is still a channel of communication as predominant as Internet
Respondents were asked about through which channels they access to digital art events abroad. The purpose of this question is to investigate the role of different channels of communication in the mobility of artists.
77.68 percent of the artists who exhibited their works abroad learn about the events through Internet (website, social media, e-mail), and 58.25 percent through their social circle (friends, event committee members, galleries, etc.). Survey results reveal that face-to-face communication is as much important as the Internet in accessing events. 39.8 percent of the respondents get notified about events via social media. To ensure more efficient use of social media it can be transformed into an alternative channel with higher potential.
6. Funding Access is the Most Frequent Challenge
The survey also analyzes common challenges faced by the artists throughout the exhibition as they exhibit their artworks at the digital art events abroad. Funding is the primary challenge (48.5 percent) faced by the artists. Then, challenges faced during the installation and disassembly of the exhibition, customs clearance procedures, technical assistance and communication with event organizers (see Chart 3).
Funding difficulty ranks as the primary challenge. Experience years of the respondents were taken as basis and analyses were delivered by concentrating on the funding issue. It was observed that 47.06 percent of the artists with an experience over 10 years in digital arts and who have exhibited their artworks abroad; 46.15 percent of the artists with an experience between 5 to 10 years in digital arts and who have exhibited their artworks abroad; 56.25 percent of the artists with an experience between 2 to 4 years in digital arts and who have exhibited their artworks abroad have funding difficulties. This result indicates that as the years of experience increase, funding difficulty does not diminish.
Funding is regarded as one of the biggest challenges. It is understood that 93.23 percent of the respondents who participated in the digital art events abroad receive support from various channels. These channels and rates of support are detailed on the following chart (see Chart 4). It is obvious that funds mainly cover transportation (82.5 percent) and accommodation (74.8 percent) needs. In addition to these, it is found out that needs for the shipping and customs (68.9 percent), artist fee (62.1 percent) and materials required for the artwork (39.8) are covered by these funds. Per Diem, insurance, studio, and transportation and accommodation needs of the companions are covered with 22.33 percent.
Regarding the artist fee, which is necessary for the artists to maintain their creative activities, to remain more visible and to sustain the artist mobility, both general and years of experience were compared.
It was observed that 74.32 percent of the artists who were invited to participate in the digital art events abroad, receive artist fee, while 29.63 percent of the artists who participated in by application, receive this payment.
Considering the correlation between artist fees and years of experience, 70.59 percent of the artists with over 10 years, 43.48 percent of the artists with an experience between 5 to 10 years receive artist fee. On the other hand, 10.71 percent of the artists with an experience between 2 to 4 years receive this payment. There are not any respondent artists with experience up to a year who received invitation or artist fee. This shows us the link between artist fee and experience.
It was observed that the possibility of having difficulties with an official from the event is not dependent upon whether the artist exhibits artwork in the event by invitation or application.
7. It is Possible to Reach Larger Masses
Respondents were asked whether they get the chance to reach enough audiences in the countries where their artworks are exhibited. It was observed that 78.43 percent of the artists with an experience over 10 years in digital arts and who have exhibited their artworks in the digital art events abroad; 71.79 percent of the artists with an experience between 5 to 10 years in digital arts and who have exhibited their artworks in the digital art events abroad; 66.67 percent of the artists with an experience between 2 to 4 years in digital arts and who have exhibited their artworks abroad think that they are able to address sufficient number of audiences.
Respondents state that they always desire to reach more audience, and the access rate generally vary by countries and cities where the event is held.
8. Artists are in Search of Alternative Events to Exhibit Artworks Abroad
89.3 percent of the artists who exhibited their artworks abroad want to be included in festivals, 78.6 percent in galleries, and 63.1 percent in public spaces. These spaces are followed by conferences, guest artist programs, non-governmental organizations, fairs and other areas (museums, biennials, virtual exhibitions) respectively.
Artists who did not exhibit any artwork abroad stated that they want to be included in festivals, galleries, public areas, guest artist programs, conferences, fairs and non-governmental organizations in the same order. Considering both groups gave similar answers (see Chart 5) festivals, galleries and public areas reveal the emphasis put on these fields.
When comments given to this question are analyzed, it is seen that artists who try to have a presence in digital arts field lack enough knowledge about alternative channels to exhibit their artworks; experienced respondents reach more different fields and want to exhibit their works.
9. Coding Needs Support as a First Priority
Artists were asked about the areas that they lack the support predominantly among coding, engineering, sound design forming the basis of production in the digital arts. Following chart (see Chart 6) shows the areas that all survey respondents have stated to need external support.
Artists with maximum one-year experience in the digital arts utilize the scarce resources at hand and need to be supported only in the coding field. It is also apparent that they do not prefer to get support in the design, sound design, conceptual script writing. It is also figured out that artists with an experience between 5 and 10 years need support in the coding, engineering and conceptual script writing fields predominantly.
Outcome and Evaluation
The survey divided respondents into two groups: a) artists who have exhibited their works abroad at least once; b) artists who have never exhibited works abroad. These two groups are compared and analyzed based on years of experience, topics that they need in their artistic creations, their motivations in exhibiting artworks and visiting exhibitions. In addition to the comparisons and comments their interactions with the digital art events abroad, and all findings are thoroughly reviewed from a broader spectrum.
Respondents reported that their primary motivations in participating in the events (as the owner of the work, visitor or staff) are to experience artworks and to get inspired in the survey. It has also been observed that the rate of participation in the digital art events abroad is directly proportionate to the experience. It has also been seen that most of the participants are motivated by the urge to present their projects to the audience at the events abroad.
There are two substantial and intriguing implications of the survey in which artists put forth their comments with similar answers. These include the difficulties in reaching funds to ensure the continuity of productions and mobility as well as the urgency to get interdisciplinary support (coding, sound design, design, etc.) in the production phase.
Technological developments, diversifying tools used in the digital arts, latest trends emerging in the production phase, and new findings help artists deliver unique projects. Emerging differences become wider and vary with in line with the experience of the artist, volume, reach and location of the project delivered by the artist. This results in the necessity towards much more funding support thereby enhancing the expectations. This explains the reason as to why funding necessity always ranks first irrespective of the experience, and never-ending concerns felt by the artists.
As artists begin to adapt new tools into their productions each day and differentiate their productions they are in urgent need of the technical support particularly in coding and engineering. However, it is seen that the volume of needs in these technical matters remains lower among the less experienced artists in digital arts. Narrow-scoped projects and refraining from utilizing the constrained budget with external technical support could be envisaged as the reasons as to why the need remains lower at during the initial stages.
Artist fee stands out as another important issue other than funding difficulty as well as demand towards professionals in other disciplines in the production phase. Results of the survey reveal that foreign events prefer covering only production expenses of the invited artists. The survey also clearly shows that artist fee correlates with the experience.
Considering the comments of the respondents it is seen that artists are on a quest to be always more visible. If digital art organizations share content in a way to reinforce visibilities of the artists through websites and social media channels, it is thought that the motivations of the artists in participating events will increase. Similarly, this may create brand-new motivations and opportunities for the artists who have just started to go into action in the digital arts.
No: 01 Ideation Workshop – Akbank Sanat (İstanbul)
Different stakeholders from 22 countries playing an active role in the digital art field participated in research and insight definition stage. The first ideation workshop of the design thinking project aimed at “increasing global mobility of artists in the digital art field” was organized at Istanbul Akbank Sanat. Artists, curators, academicians, engineers and executives of the art foundations working in this field took part in the workshop. Research results and insights were analyzed utilizing Empathy Mapping, Mind Mapping and Affinity Mapping techniques at the ideation workshop together with the participants. Then, creative ideas were generated in a way to affect global movement of the artists as well as communication and interaction between stakeholders positively with the Brain Dump technique on the basis of insights. The second part of the ideation workshop will be held in London in April. All ideas generated at the workshops will be published on www.bangprix.org web site.
1- The Biggest Motivation of Taking Part in Digital Art Events Abroad is to Experience Artworks
A- Experiencing an artwork abroad
– The intention of the artists for testing how a project delivered in Turkey is perceived abroad,
– Concerns among artists that their local creations are too simple and giving up on delivering the project. These concerns scale up as the experience increases. If these concerns are not overcome at younger ages, they will remain as permanent problems.
B- The intention of the artists for going abroad to collaborate with individuals from different disciplines and areas2- Switching from the Position of Being Audience to Exhibiting Artworks in the Events Abroad
A- Lack of experience
Feeling inexperienced due to lack of experience among those who have just began to deliver artistic creations, and as a result of this, the urge to have every work approved by an experienced person and lack of self-confidence
B- The problem of not being adapted to abroad
In line with the context of the country, concerns about non-adaptation in terms of the content of the artworks and whether artworks delivered will attract attention or not
C- Lack of information about applied events
– Lack of adequate information about the festivals or other events that young artists or those who have just started to discover and work in the digital art field apply for.
– Mistakes made during the application process and not being admitted to the events abroad due to insufficiency of artistic language
D- Limited network in the digital art field
Young artists who have just started to deliver artworks in the digital arts, not getting to know the curator or other artists, and therefore lack of self-confidence arising from not knowing where to get support or from where to start
E- Communication problem (Lack of foreign language)
Lack of self-confidence as one of the obstacles in going abroad due to foreign language incompetency
F- Recognition concern
Concern about differences in communication between the artwork and audience, since Turkish audience views an artwork based on aesthetic judgments while foreign audience views an artwork based on experience process
3- Festivals Receive Majority of the Artworks Abroad
4- Being Invited to the Events Abroad
A- The need to receive support for mentorship /Experience transfer
The need to listen to the challenges from an experienced artist to be faced by an artist who will take part in an exhibition abroad for the first time, and differences in culture and audience profile
5- Peer-to-peer Communication is as Important as the Internet
Lack of information on how and how much to use social media: Thinking that the desire to be more visible on the social media will reduce the impact of the posts, while the ties with the channel will be broken if sufficient amount of content is not posted.
6- The Biggest Challenge is to Reach Funds
A- It is hard to start a project without financial support
Discouragement for exhibiting artworks abroad from the creation stage due to lack of financial strength
B- Delivering artworks locally
Tendency among young artists in an attempt to exhibit artworks abroad without exhibiting adequate number of artworks in their home countries and failing to gain experience and benefit from the potentials.
7- It is Possible to Reach Larger Masses
The impact of the increase in the number of collectors who collect digital artworks in Turkey and in the world, and the impact of artists reaching more collectors locally and globally on the sustainability of artwork creation and exhibition.
8- Artists are in Pursuit of Alternative Events to Exhibit Artworks Abroad
A- Disapproval among artists towards certain events
– Negative perceptions of the digital artists towards events and organizations where they can exhibit artworks reduce their artistic creation motivations
9. Artists Need Support in Many Fields
A- Lack of technical information
“I found a tool, but I don’t know how to use it.”
B- Artistic Language (The struggle to make the language aesthetic)
Use of an insincere and artificial language while attempting to describe the artwork or project based on a theoretic and academic reference.
C- Failing to materialize the ideas
Failing to realize the ideas thus remaining as projects due to financial causes, environmental effects (“can you even do that?”), lack facilities
D- Support for technological equipment
Organization failing to supply technological equipment in order to exhibit the artwork at the event
E- Carrying out maintenance on the artwork
Obstacles and challenges due to deficiencies in carrying out maintenance and providing necessary support of the technical staff during the event
F- Need for craftsman and workshop
Challenges in meeting workshop and craftsman needs due to momentary changes in the installation of the artwork abroad
G- Consultancy / mentorship challenge
The need to resolve the problem and advancing the project with firm steps by the artist by accessing qualified persons quickly regarding technical or other problems faced occasionally at any time during project creation processes