Speech for the Opening of the
Tech Museum of Innovation
March 2, 1999
Art at Interval
Thank you, Peter Giles, Emily Routman, Beau Takahara,
and Chet Anderson. And my many colleagues at Interval who helped
work on these exhibits. Amy Hyams, who held it all together. And
particularly to David Liddle and Paul Allen for giving us the creative
freedom to pursue research in a less direct way than is usually
I think it's great for a tech museum to have an
interest in art such as ours and "Origin" and believe that it has
value to the overall museum experience. But I also don't believe
art and technology are the same thing, or that interactions between
artists and technologists are necessarily harmonious.
My boss David Liddle was once asked what the most
satisfying part of his job was and he said "dealing with creative
people." Then he was asked what's the least satisfying part of his
job and he said "dealing with creative people." Nobody said it was
going to be easy.
But we believe that it's important to have a small
but lively art and new media component as part of our everyday research
activities at Interval. Important for Interval. There are several
reasons why I'd like to share:
First, they provide stimulation and provocation
to our research community, adding meaning, entertainment, and emotional
resonance to our work.
These projects often act as magnets to bring
together unconventional combinations of skills and talents.
They can also provide content to test tools
(and even tools to test content).
Some of these projects are means for collecting
data, both through explicit query as well as through observation.
These projects may lead researchers down unforeseen
paths and result in new discoveries and intellectual property. We've
been awarded several patents as a result of the exhibits you see
Finally, external deadlines and public scrutiny
serve as forcing functions for decision making, rigor, and completion.
They keep us street-smart. "Putting on a show" is a test bed for
new ideas, a simulation of the real world.
Interval cares a great deal about the real world.
As you may guess by the diversity of our exhibits, we have a uniquely
diverse research community, which includes psychologists, musicians,
animators, craftspeople, and designers as well as scientists and
One of the few things about which we all strongly
agree is that the high tech revolution will affect everyone, not
just small groups of the real world.
Interval is a dot-com. It is a commercial venture,
however experimental. And we believe that we benefit from supporting
and exhibiting some of our work. Hopefully the museum and the public
do as well.