Jussi Ängeslevä is an educator at the Berlin University of the Arts and Royal College of Arts in London whose research interests focus on the field of digital media and interaction design. He is also the Vice Creative Director of ART+COM, a private company that explores the communicative potential for new media and technology. 

ART+COM began with a “motley” crew of artists, hackers, and engineers who wanted to explore the new medium of computers in the context of communication. Over the years, ART+COM has expanded from 20 to nearly 60 team members. With this growth in staff, ART+COM’s collaborative environment is crucial to its success as a company. Hearing Ängeslevä’s discussion of ART+COM shed light on the importance of collaboration within the workplace, a topic that I can apply to my own work. ART+COM does not separate the early concept design from the manufacturing. As a result, the manufacturers are not dealing with the production of somebody else’s ideas, and vice versa. ART+COM does is bringings those people around the same table to leverage the knowledge of the production in the conception. In this kind of environment, it is enriching to share ideas and get perspectives from different disciplines. 

Raphael’s Pendulum, 2018

Another focus of today’s discussion is the numerous projects that ART+COM has produced in the past several years, including “Raphael’s Pendulum” (2018) and “Evolutionary Stairs” (2014). Here, he notes that technology should never be driving the project and there is this expectation that technology is the solution to all projects. ART+COM understands that companies want to communicate their innovative future-oriented high-tech attitude, but that does not mean they need to use, for instance, augmented reality machine learning; you need agency in order for technology to be most effective.

“Technology already has its own agenda”

The interview with Ängeslevä offered me a new and global perspective on the intersection between art, design, and digital technology. When hearing Ängeslevä talk about his work, it is evident that he is passionate about his careers in both the academic and commercial art worlds. One of the key pieces of advice that Ängeslevä offered is to reach out and talk to people. 

“It is this kind of extended network of alumni and the kind of connects that … matter a great deal, [however] you cannot count on that. But you can cherish that … and at some point in your life, you can then pass the baton to the next generation.”