The methodology for integrating ICT and Art provides a holistic framework to integrate artistic practices in a model of ICT development. Broadly speaking, the methodology systematizes the delivery and analysis of artistic practices in several typical phases of creation, development and implementation of ICT technologies or applications.
It is important to clarify at this stage that the main principle of integration is that the world of ICT is opening up to host and welcome a set of practices that are not yet common in its domain. STARTS driven projects have to therefore find the appropriate places in the ICT domain where the contribution of artistic practices can be relevant, significant and can better contribute to innovation in ICT.
The methodology departs from the principle of the holistic nature of artistic practices. Those practices are not constrained by context, tools or means of expression. Historically, and particularly in the past century, artistic practices assumed several forms of expression. In the case of conceptual art, for example, the practice is simply the expression of a concept in any available form. In the context of ICT, as the figure above represents, artistic practices could potentially be integrated in any phase of development, from the definition of objectives to validation and verification, including implementation and methods of application.
However, the overarching principle of the STARTS Initiative (that led to the current exercise of integration of ICT and Art) helps defining concrete areas of integration by excluding less interesting ones. It is important to reiterate that the main aim of STARTS is to boost innovation in ICT Research and Innovation actions by the broad stimulation of creativity in the associated processes. The methodology is therefore outcome-focused. Clear definition of the outcomes expected from the STARTS project will help attract participants, including those SMEs who are most able to contribute to and benefit from those outcomes. It will also facilitate the transferability of the methodology to other scenarios that seek the same outcome, be it increasing trust in the use of a solution or the identification of constraints to SME development of solutions within a given domain (farm to fork, smart cities, etc.)
Nonetheless, the methodology is designed to amplify and not constrain the particularity and uniqueness of the artistic practice. STARTS is in itself a process of inclusiveness in the European Union. Therefore, STARTS has developed its main CSA, VERTIGO, as a co-creation process. The STARTS Co-creation methodology aims for the inclusion of all relevant participants as stakeholders. This process of bringing everybody together as stakeholders goes beyond merely allowing participation of the user or the consumer as envisioned in other, more conventional notions of co-creation.
Key findings in VERTIGO from the considered case studies and literature include the importance of managing the initial scepticism and resistance of the artists’ presence in the organisation. Key methodologies to overcome this resistance include anchoring practices and the engagement, commitment and involvement of multiple layers of the organisation as early on as possible. Preconceptions and prejudices related to the diverse profile, skills and working practices of artists and other types of professionals need to be addressed early on in the process.
The methodology for integrating ICT and Art extends a tradition of combining art, creativity and technology innovation at organisations such as Ars Electronica, MIT, Eyebeam, Waag Society, etc. Applied tools and resources draw on the knowledge and experience of artists, technologists, curators and entrepreneurs in creative technology and public participation projects.
The methodology is based on existing case studies from emergent experiences of science, technology and arts collaborations. This is particularly important, as there is much to take into consideration when facilitating these transdisciplinary collaborations. Two other basic principles for integrating artistic practices in ICT to stimulate creation, innovation and acceptance are of relevance and need to be clearly articulated: transparency and trust.