Posted: March 24, 2019 -
FutureHere is an Art + Tech community acting as a co-working/co-living incubator and investment company for artist and programmer-led initiatives. The platform seeks to create networking opportunities for industry leaders as well as promising young figures starting out in the art and tech world. FutureHere was founded by Veronica Neo in December 2018. Neo is also a Co-Founder of Art World Forum, an international platform building valuable networks between art professionals and business leaders through its conferences.
Firstly, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to found FutureHere?
I have been involved in art, tech and business for a number of years now. My career started at Art Plural Gallery in 2011 working for Frédéric de Senarclens, Founder of ArtMarketGuru. In 2016, I co-founded Art World Forum with my dear friend Anni Oates, alongside her brother Andrew Oates. In 2017, I supported art-tech startup ArtRunners founded by Serge Tiroche and Daniel Lev-er which aimed to simplify the shipping of art around the world. It turned out that the market was simply not ready at this point for this type of innovation and use of technology.
The idea of FutureHere was at first an inspired thought, which was translated into action in 2018. The idea was propelled forward when I saw the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe art and culture category nomination; “to incubate art and technology for innovation.” I wasn’t shortlisted but would like to congratulate all honourees and nominees for being an inspiration.
Where are you based and how big is your team currently?
FutureHere is headquartered in Singapore with representation in Florence, London, Shanghai and Addis Ababa. We are a small, team of 10 with backgrounds in art, technology, science, academia, and business. In May, we will welcome interns from LASALLE College of the Arts as part of Singapore’s programme to support us in launching FutureHere Week in Florence. I want to pay special thanks to Audrey Wong and Milenko Prvacki.
Do you hope to expand? Can you tell us a bit about your partners?
Yes, expansion is part of the plan. Our partners include: One Young World, START by Serge Tiroche, The International Arts & Culture (TIAC) Group & Academy, TheArtMBA, and 1991 Civic Centre – a tech innovation engine of the Ukrainian government.
What is FutureHere’s main mission?
FutureHere aims to foster a community of leaders for today and tomorrow in order to develop innovative solutions to address the most pressing issues of our time using art and technology. These important challenges are consolidated, filtered and recognised through rcollaboration with scientists, philosophers, academics, writers, historians and futurists.
As a One Young World ambassador, I take responsibility in providing support for young leaders in important causes such as achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Through FutureHere, we provide the framework to support institutions and individuals in tackling the big questions such as climate change management – best practices in resilience in time of natural disasters; cross-generational whole-of-civilisation engagement – children’s education, human rights and protection; health – mental, physical and spiritual; our food system – best practices in water, energy and agriculture.
You describe your manifesto detailing how art + tech should collaborate. Can you give a prime example of when you think art + tech have worked in a completely harmonious way? Perhaps another project you admire?
Da Vinci, Galileo and Su Shi (苏轼)’s works remain unparalleled in the history of harmonising art and technology for scientific progress and invention. This was until Walt Disney, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk came along.
What exactly is an “Art & Tech Incubator” and how is it funded?
The FutureHere art & tech incubator is the first of its kind and takes on the ‘unconference’ or shall I call it an ‘inincubator’ – open, “participation-driven, (and) decidedly without conventional format”.
The incubator is led by artists and programmers; collaborators such as engineers, programmers, scientists, entrepreneurs, designers and policy-makers; facilitated by FutureHere to drive results such as integrating neural sensation or emotional and spiritual intelligence into AI or combining nanotechnology or performance art for palliative care and Alzheimer’s prevention.
Corporate Investors fund the incubator. However, the FutureHere incubator is not-for-profit so the funds gifted to us are channelled into future projects for public engagement.
From what I understand you are a new venture. What have the results been so far?
As we are so new we can only assess the results in a year or two. In terms of engagement, we have received over 300 pledges from institutions and individuals.
How do you go about connecting artists and coders?
Artists and programmers see, think and perceive things in different and exciting ways which is why it is so great we get to collaborate with them. FutureHere connects these artists and technologists by reconciling logical and intuitive heuristic differences and creating useful platforms and content for collaborative research and action.
On your website you have introduced an art + tech week, set to take place in Florence over the summer. Can you tell us more about what this week will involve? Is it targeted towards artists and coders only?
FutureHere Week is for participants of all ages with a focus on young leaders and changemakers under age 35. We encourage people to join who want to promote a change and to expand their international network. The programme includes a summit (talks), pilot co-working and co-living incubator and guided art + tech treks (follow our website for updates). FutureHere advocates equal opportunity. There is a ticketing fee for general admission but children under age 12, immigrants and refugees attend for free.
Can you tell us about any other upcoming events or partnerships?
FutureHere Week and incubator will be in Tel Aviv in 2020. Events in Cairo, Athens and Tulum are also in the pipeline and welcome proposals from other host cities. For potential partnerships, we are in discussions with startups in Israel, China and Japan for technology transfer – in addition to continuous engagement with our current partners.
Where do you aim to be in the next few years?
FutureHere would like to engage with ancient cities and indigenous communities to excavate history and traditions in holistic wellness for digitisation. We hope to spread wellness, mindfulness through technologies with businesses and consumers.