March 5, 2017 News

The New Muses: Artists' Visions of a Sustainable Future

Technology and art have a dynamic relationship. This event explored some nuances

In January, in the very trendy east end of London, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) hosted its second Spark Salon event, titled: The New Muses: Artists' Visions of a Sustainable Future.

“Art is fundamental in changing the hearts and minds of people, but with the rise of social media, technology has also become a major influence”

- Becci Louise, teacher and poet

The Spark Salon is a series of events created by TCS to showcase innovative and thought provoking new perspectives on the role of technology in helping to create a sustainable world.

At this latest event, held in collaboration with Carnstone, we wanted to examine sustainability and the impact of technology in managing the world's resources and explore what the world might look like in 30 years' time.

To do this, we looked to the world of art and featured new works by five artists who were asked to explore the future through the lens of our five muses: work, intelligence, ecology, animal life and how we interact with the world around us. The artists were asked to explore what the 2040s might look like, and included:

Technology and art – two of a kind?

Technology is now central to almost everything we do – not just in business – and has the potential to change the world for the better – or worse. However, the arts can also help unlock our understanding of the future and, unlike us technology folk, artists are comfortable with the unknown, allowing them to dabble in extreme change, disruption and that which is beyond our immediate grasp. What they depict might not always come true – or even be possible – but it helps us to challenge the status quo and ask the question, what if?.

From a spoken poem about genetic design to sensory restricting jewelry, each work of art uncovered the way in which society has become intrinsically linked with technology and how this is affecting the world – in both a positive and negative way.

As Becci Louise said, "art is fundamental in changing the hearts and minds" of people, but with the rise of social media, technology has also become a major influence. Michael (of Burton Nitta) reinforced this by saying that "technology can now interact with the very fabric of us," playing a central role in our everyday lives and the way we interact with the environment.

Using it, not abusing it

Technology allows us to “enhance relationships in a way we couldn’t before” says Matt Parker, but “we need to take control of it and not be manipulated.” Whilst technology has opened so many doors, it has had an impact on the environment and the people within it, in both a social and ecological way.

As an international company, with more than 378,000 employees spanning 45 countries, TCS has a large impact on society and the environment. This is a hugely important issue to TCS and one of the reasons behind the Spark Salon series.

Sustainability in technology and educating people around the topic is so important from both a business and environmental perspective. Not only is TCS hosting the Spark Salon events, we average about 10 full days of learning per employee and have worked with over 70,000 young people across the UK in schools and universities. It is the job of businesses, government and society as a whole to inform – and be informed – about the impact of technology on our world and how to ensure a sustainable future.

The second event in this series was another great success and an opportunity to hear from some truly inspiring and thought-provoking individuals on the vital topics of sustainability and technology. We are already looking forward to our next event on 8th March Empowering Social Change – Digital Disruption in the Charity Sector and if you are interested in hearing more about TCS’ Spark Salon and upcoming events, please join the conversation at #tcsSparkSalon.

Written by Yogesh Chauhan, Director Corporate Sustainability, Tata Consultancy Services

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