'I don’t believe that people will ever stop wanting, and needing, to create'

  Lindsay Bartholomew is Exhibit Content and Experience Developer at the MIT Museum at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her passion for science began with a planetarium trip at age five, and after working in museums, classrooms, observatories, and field stations on four continents, she hopes to do the same on three more.

Five questions, five answers

1. How would you explain your work to a five year old?

I am very lucky because every day in my work I get to tell stories. These are stories of science, of experiments, of discovery, and of people trying to understand the world around us. Working in a science and technology museum, it’s my job to find out what researchers are working on, take that information, and find creative ways to communicate that to everyday people. I create exhibits and interactive experiences where people can learn and experiment for themselves, and my goal is always to inspire people to ask questions and open their eyes to the amazing things that science can tell us about the world.

2. What do you believe is the most interesting trend or development on the crossroads of art and tech?

I think that the crossroads of art and tech are where brand new audiences who may not have had an interest in either side, can get engaged in one or both sides. The real potential happens when one can provoke questions about the other. When art can prompt questions about technology – the ethical use, equitable applications, and impacts of technology on our lives – it compels us to consider futures we may not have otherwise imagined. When technology opens up new discoveries and understanding of our world, it can inspire artists to comment on those new perspectives in their work. Either way, at the crossroads of art and tech are new conversations among broader groups of people.

3. Do you think manual art will disappear altogether in the future, and everything will be designed and made by AI fed machines, computer software, or robots?

I can’t imagine any future where manual art altogether disappears. People are inherently creative beings, and need creative outlets. I do believe that people will continually push the boundaries of technology in all aspects of our lives, including its role in all manner of artistic expression. And I think there will be increasingly heated conversations about what it means to create art, and about where the boundary, overlap, or gap is between what humans can do and what machines or AI can do. But I don’t believe that people will ever stop wanting, and needing, to create.

4. What is your favourite artwork of this edition and why?

This is a hard one. They are honestly all inspired pieces. One that sticks out to me is ATLAS by Jon Voss. I love that different people could interpret it differently. Is technology supporting us, coexisting with us, or a danger to us? I love the playful interaction in Future You by Universal Everything. Is it more AI responding to your movements, or more you trying new things to see how the AI reacts? I can imagine VOUW’s Chairwave achieving the impressive feat of creating a situation where people actually enjoy interacting with the stranger sitting next to them, and it was all at the invitation of technology. I love how all of these artworks, and others, provoke questions and conversations about technology, with technology.

5. What are things visitors should pay extra attention to?

I think that visitors to the Amsterdam Light Festival should give everything a second look. Certainly, appreciate the stunning visual impact of all of the light installations. But then, stop for a moment to think about what each is trying to say, and what it really means for your life or for the world and our collective future. The artists whose work is showcased in this edition all had brilliant concepts for their pieces, and if you stop for a minute to consider what they were trying to say, you might be amazed, inspired, or even concerned, but in any case, you’ll see things in a different light.

Chairwave, VOUW (2023)