Too often we hear about STEM being important to the future prosperity of our youth, but what’s glaringly obvious in its absence?

Art. STEM should become STEAM.

Throughout history, the constant has always been art. It reflects the time, the dreams of the future, and the challenges we may face.

Rob Siltanen who authored the famous ‘Here’s to the crazy ones’ that was made legendary by Steve Jobs and Apple, was an artist.

His work has been taken on as a mantra by the entrepreneurs and creators of today. Art does that. It inspires, it creates connections that wouldn’t be there otherwise.

Tonight I attended an opening of a piece of digital art at the Aotea Centre, Auckland. Digital Art Live is an ongoing exhibition sponsored by AUT’s CoLab and Auckland Live.

Jean Dubois of Université du Québec à Montréal displayed his new piece Tourmente. An interactive piece where the viewers called a number, and blew into their phone. This blowing caused the subjects to be battered by wind.  The strength of the blowing changed the strength of wind.

The shock of a 200 km/h wind was evident in the tears running down subject’s faces. Jean also showed his previous work, focusing on the interaction between viewer and exhibit.

One exhibit that drew my attention (and I apologise Jean for not catching the name), was an older one. In the pre-iPhone days, Jean had approached a number of manufacturers to create a multi-touch screen for an exhibit. His idea was pooh poohed by them, describing multi-touch as useless as people only want to use one finger.

So he went out and did it himself, creating an exhibit that showed off multi-touch long before Apple ‘invented’ it.

And that’s where (for me), we miss out. Art is about pushing limits, creating work that inspires, challenges, and confuses people.

The creativity of the human mind is infinitesimal, and we need to encourage it. A friend of mine told me that code is poetry, well that shows me that an important part of our STEM future is art, and let’s embrace it.



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