The business world is teeming with tech incubators and co-working spaces geared toward startups, and they’re populated with young entrepreneurs looking to develop the next big blockbuster idea. But what of the creative entrepreneur—those more interested in mashing up art and culture and commerce in the spirit of experimentation? For them, there’s NEW INC. Founded by New York’s New Museum, it’s the first museum-led incubator dedicated to art, design, and technology that intends to fill in that gap between the art and startup worlds by fostering interdisciplinary collaboration.
Since the program was announced in March, NEW INC has been accepting applications and today the organization has revealed the first group of artists and innovators that will take part in the year-long incubator program. Of the first selection of members, NEW INC director Julia Kaganskiy says, "We’re really interested in bringing a diverse range of perspectives together because we think they have a lot to gain by being in dialogue with one another. And I think that's one of the things that will really drive this program for us: this investigating of new, sustainable business models for creative practice."
The first group of members are: Sougwen Chung, Cla (Janos Stone, Sheena Matheiken), Adam Harvey, Kunal Gupta, Maxrelax (Drew Lustro, Don Kim, Jesse Chorng, Paul Castellana), Accurat (Giorgia Lupi, Gabriele Rossi), Lisa Park, PARTY (Masashi Kawamura, Qanta Shimizu, Tom Galle), Tristan Perich, Print All Over Me (Jesse Finkelstein, Meredith Finkelstein, Kate Weintraub, Hayley Martell), Sabine Seymour, Paul Soulellis, and Charlie Whitney.
The accepted projects span new platforms for digital to physical manufacturing (Print All Over Me, clā), wearable technology (Sabine Seymour), countersurveillance products (Adam Harvey), software development (Kunal Gupta, Tristan Perich), cutting-edge creative agencies (PARTY, Maxrelax), information design (Accurat, Paul Soulellis), as well as installation and performance art (Sougwen Chung, Charlie Whitney, Lisa Park). Adds Kaganskiy: "We were looking for people who were bringing an experimental approach to utilizing technology for the purposes of art, design, and creative services. The way we’re conceiving this is to be about bringing different tribes and organisms to coexist as a whole."
As a cultural institution, the New Museum has been known for supporting new art and new ideas, challenging assumptions and rethinking the role of what a museum is, according to Kaganskiy. So when the museum purchased the adjoining building in 2008, it put in motion the beginnings of this cross-disciplinary, art-led incubator.
"The New Museum had been thinking about how to use the space and extend this idea of pushing boundaries," says Kaganskiy. "They had been thinking about experimenting with a new model, one that mixes art with the practices of some of the neighboring co-working incubator spaces that we saw springing up around us. We wanted to create a space that would foster work that’s at the intersection of art, design, and technology and that would be more experimental. It’s about creative inquiry as opposed to being the next Facebook."
There will be 40 full-time and 40 part-time members of the NEW INC incubator all of whom will have access to the space, shared resources, and professional development programming, as well as access to a network of members and advisors. The NEW INC advisory council, which was also announced today, includes:
- Sunny Bates, CEO, Sunny Bates Associates
- Lauren Cornell, New Museum Curator, Curator, 2015 Triennial, Digital Projects, and Museum as Hub
- Kate Crawford, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research
- Fred Dust, Partner, Ideo
- David B. Heller, Private investor and philanthropist (NEW INC Advisory Council Chair)
- Aaron Koblin, artist and Creative Director, Google Creative Lab
- John Maeda, Design Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, former President of the Rhode Island School of Design
- Neri Oxman, Sony Corporation Career Development Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab
- Yancey Strickler, Cofounder & CEO, Kickstarter
- Andrew Weissman, Partner, Union Square Ventures, and Cofounder of Betaworks
- Mark Wigley, Dean, Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation
NEW INC is still accepting full-time and part-time applicants on a rolling basis until June 6 and the full roster of members will be announced in July, with an official opening date in early September. This initial announcement of names was, in part, to help articulate just what one could expect from an art and technology incubator from a museum, certainly not a known quantity.
"With any new initiative people don’t exactly know what to expect. Even in the earliest interviews we did after we announced the program, people wanted to know who it’s for," says Kaganskiy. "I think this was a way for us to demonstrate, through the selection of this first wave, a more concrete example of what the program can be and to demonstrate the range. I’m really excited about the range of experience in the members—we have some people coming in with a lot of experience in running a business and they’re coming to this to maybe try something more experimental. That provides an opportunity for peer-to-peer mentorship. A lot of other incubator spaces that we’ve visited feel a little homogenous; we really tried to bring more variety, not just in race and gender diversity but also in the experiences."