By Alina Cohen
September 03, 2015
Credit: Courtesy of NEW INC

From a radical interpretation of a cotton candy machine to an app that tests color perception with a game, some of today’s coolest art, design, and technology projects are coming out of NEW INC, the New Museum’s incubator led by Director Julia Kaganskiy. NEW INC provides participants, selected from an applicant pool, with a collaborative workspace, mentorship, opportunities to attend events, and additional resources. At July’s End-of-Year Showcase at Red Bull Studios in Chelsea, the public viewed some of the work emerging from NEW INC for the first time. The reaction to the showcase, said Kaganskiy, was “one of surprise, delight, wonder, and curiosity.” Given its success, it’s no surprise that she and her team “plan to continue showcasing NEW INC members past and present through events at the New Museum in the coming year.”

NEW INC, according to Kaganskiy, was inspired by what’s already happening in the city. New York is becoming a “tech hub,” she says. “By the year 2020, half the work force will be freelance—we’re moving into an entrepreneurial age.” The New Museum was concerned about how this would affect creative practitioners. New Museum Director Lisa Phillips and Deputy Director Karen Wong cofounded NEW INC, which launched in September 2014. Kaganskiy explains that the program aims to support high-grade creative practitioners who touch on tech but are working in art—those who are too entrepreneurial for an artist residency and too artsy for a business incubator.

Credit: Courtesy of NEW INC

On September 8, as its second year begins, NEW INC will welcome both new groups and returning members. Hammerstep, the first dance troupe to join, already has a Kickstarter for an immersive dance theater experience called Indigo Grey. According to Kaganskiy, they hope to refine their business model and fundraising strategy at NEW INC. They want to bring their production to life through the use of innovative technology. At the incubator, the group plans to explore how to use new methods to engage their audience.

Coming up, for example, The NEW INC group exonemo has organized Yami-Ichi, an “Internet-ish flea market,” which will open at Brooklyn’s Knockdown Center on September 12. With over 100 vendors selling objects that blur the lines between the digital and the physical, the fair promises to deliver more novelty than the typical vintage sweatshirt or vinyl record.

Two groups, StudioStudio and The Principals, will bring their cloud architecture to the Aurora Festival in Dallas on October 16, which allows audiences to move through a fog-filled chamber as sensors read their movements and respond by changing the color of the light amid the fog.

Erica Gorochow and Charlie Whitney’s Specimen: A Game About Color is available 24/7 on the App Store, as is REIFY, an app that allows users to interact with music on a visual, virtual level.

Credit: Courtesy of NEW INC

Allison Wood, REIFY’s co-creator and CEO, points to the artist Wassily Kandinsky to explain her group’s work. As the artist painted his experience of music, REIFY is now interpreting music in a new digital manner. By analyzing and mapping sound attributes to physical attributes, REIFY designs “totems”—objects created by a 3-D printer that represent the songs. The smart phone app then reads the totems to create the “virtual worlds” of the pieces of music. Depending on which totem is being “played,” animations and even video games can appear on the phone screen.

Wood is also collaborating with two other NEW INC groups, NewHive and Print All Over me, on an apparel line. During the month of September, shirts and jackets will be available in the New Museum gift shop featuring prints of digital art from three artists (Alexandra Gorczynski, Miles Peyton, and Tara Sinn) who have published their work on NewHive’s multimedia publishing platform. Using the REIFY app, the public can capture the clothing on screen, where a moving digital image appears that recalls the artists’ original works. Thus, the clothing retains the motion of the original digital art from which it derives. The artists’ works will also be on view in the exhibition, Blastosphere: Digital Art Becomes 3D Fashion at the Ace Hotel during the month of September.

Don’t miss the opportunity to download an app, purchase a sweatshirt, or attend a festival that will change your perspective on the intersections of art, design, and technology. These projects will give you something to play, wear, and do as you reconsider the infinite possibilities for music, color perception, and even a flea market in the digital age.