'Women in Art' - International Women's Day Q&A
Merel van Helsdingen - Founder & Managing Director - Nxt Museum
Why is it crucial that women should be more visible in the art world?
It's important for everyone (visitors of a museum or gallery as well as makers) to feel represented and understood when experiencing art. This is not just the case for women but for all minorities in the art world. Because Art is a reflection of society of politics, of history, of life and even on the potential future it's vital that different perspectives are visible.
How do you address this in your company?
Our opening exhibition 'Shifting Proximities' features 3 female artists: Heleen Blanken, Lucy McRae and Joy Buolamwini. The world of New Media Art it is still quite male dominated because of the use of technology, even if the artist is female the team developing/installing the work often consists of more men than women, luckily this is slowly changing and Nxt Museum is focussed on giving a platform to female artists.
What advice would you give the new generation of women starting in art?
Hang on to your vision by all means! There is no right or wrong, just a changing landscape in which you are the future.
What is the biggest development or change that you've seen when it comes to female empowerment in the art world?
I see more and more female artists emerge at the intersection of art & technology offering a very fresh, natural and original point of view. We cannot wait to show you.
Which woman in your life inspires you the most? And why?
Leila Janah is for me the most inspiring woman in the modern world using her brilliant brain, modern technology and humanitarian principles to help fight inequality in third world countries like India, Uganda and Kenya. She believed that the intellect of the poorest people in the world were "the biggest untapped resource" in the global economy and with that vision built a large scale organisation employing thousands of very poor, uneducated women (50%) and men (50%) with jobs supporting the tech industry and later her own export company. What she built in her heartbreakingly short life is absolutely groundbreaking.
Which woman in your work environment do you admire?
Joy Buolamwini is 'a poet of code' who uses art and research to illuminate the social implications of artificial intelligence. With her recent work, 'Coded Bias', developed with the Algorithmic Justice League she is fighting the bias in face recognition software widely used by Global Tech giants. Together they managed to drive change as recently the face recognition software used by Amazon has been taken offline to be optimised which is a huge achievement!
About Nxt Museum
Nxt Museum, the first museum in the Netherlands dedicated to New Media Art, will open to visitors on Saturday 29 August. Driven by the idea that the future is one of the most fascinating concepts for the human mind, Nxt Museum will fuse art and technology to seek, show and question what is next.
Nxt Museum will exhibit and commission ambitious, large-scale new media art installations born of interdisciplinary collaboration between leading and emerging artists, designers, technologists and scientists. Through immersive, multi-sensory exhibitions that shed new light on the world, visitors will be invited to engage and interact physically, conceptually and emotionally with the art.
The inaugural exhibition, Shifting Proximities, will explore human experience and interaction in the face of technological and social change.
From today, visitors can immerse themselves in the futuristic world of Nxt Museum. The groundbreaking museum - which is the first in the Netherlands dedicated to New Media Art - opens its doors to the public with the inaugural exhibition ‘Shifting Proximities’.