Despite many setbacks, some of the Arts & Creative industries' most exciting developments occurred during the course of 2020. In this new webinar series, Vastari has set out to learn more about projects and initiatives produced by thought leaders and innovators in the art and technology sector.

Let's get inspired for what's next in 2021.

Episode 1: Hacking the Wild West of Art on the Internet: A conversation on Internet Imperialism

19 January, 2021 | 5pm GMT/12pm EST/9am PST  

With the near to complete shutdown of physical events in 2020, artists as well as the rest of the art world have been flocking to the internet in order to exhibit and sell work. The art world, traditionally slow to adopt tech, has been at an extreme disadvantage. How to stand out online? The need to 'hack the algorithm' seems like the only way to break through the proverbial noise in this very congested space.

In this discussion we will explore how art is discoverable on the internet, search engine optimisation, the role of collectors and museums in the algorithm based experience, who owns this space and who is just playing a part in it.

Our special guests include:

Gretchen Andrew, a search engine and internet imperialist artist. Her practice is described by critic Jonathan Griffin in LALA Magazine as alluding to “the Wild West possibilities of the Internet and to the scale of her artistic ambition.” She trained in London with the artist Billy Childish from 2012-2017. In 2018 the V&A Museum released her book Search Engine Art. Starting in 2019 she became known for her vision boards and associated performative internet manipulations of art world institutions of Frieze Los Angeles, The Whitney Biennial, The Turner Prize, and The Cover of Artforum.

Alex Estorick, a Contributing Editor for Art and Technology at Flash Art, overseeing the magazine's new column, 'The Uncanny Valley', on the relationship between AI and contemporary art. He is a frequent contributor to Frieze Magazine, where he is also proofreader and copy-editor. After studying at Cambridge he taught Art History for many years across both state and private education. He is also a trustee of the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art. Based in North London, the museum is known internationally for its core collection of Futurist paintings.

Episode 2: Solving Museum Problems with a Digital Partner: A conversation with Smartify

2 February, 2021 | 5pm GMT/12pm EST/9am PST  

Behind the scenes, while museum doors were closed in 2020, many problems were being solved. How can the exhibition content be accessible to audiences? How do we reopen safely? What stories are our visitors most interested to hear? How can we best sell our museums’ merchandise online? We will be interviewing Anna Lowe from Smartify about how they helped answer those questions as a digital partner to museums, and what new developments the Smartify team is most excited about in 2021.

Featuring: Anna Lowe from Smartify

Anna is CoFounder and Director of Partnerships of Smartify, a digital platform that makes museums accessible for a global audience through innovative technology and engaging storytelling. Smartify works with hundreds of museums including London’s National Gallery, the Smithsonian and Austria’s Belvedere Palace. The platform has won numerous awards including the 2019 UN World Summit Award for Culture and Tourism; Most Innovative App at the Mobile World Congress 2018 and three Webby Awards.

In 2019 Anna was appointed a Trustee of the Tate, making her the youngest ever trustee of a UK national museum. Previously, Anna worked as arts officer for the London Borough of Camden and learning at the National Museum of Fine Art, Argentina.

Episode 3: Greener Futures: Was 2020 a turning point for defining the art, culture & heritage industry’s carbon footprint?

16 February, 2021 | 5pm GMT/12pm EST/9am PST  

As planes were grounded and exhibition openings were paused in 2020, a focus shifted towards the impact of our usual cultural schedules on the climate. From cancelled art fairs to delayed shipments, the pace changed. Institutions within our sector, both commercial and non-profit, will need to strategically rethink their policies on climate or have already done so. Vastari hosted a discussion on climate change and sustainability in the autumn, which was our most popular amongst museums. We have invited three experts to analyse how to define the industry's carbon footprint, how this messaging fits within strategic and financial discussions, and what we can expect from the sector going forward.

Our special guests include:

Caitlin Southwick, Director of Ki Culture. Ki Culture provides solutions for cultural institutions and tools to educate the public on all issues connected with sustainability. She holds a Professional Doctorate in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage from the University of Amsterdam. Caitlin has worked in the conservation field for nine years in museums and sites around the world, including the Vatican Museums, The Getty Conservation Institute, The Uffizi Gallery and Easter Island. She is the Secretary of the Working Group on Sustainability for the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and a former Professional Member of the American Institute of Conservation (AIC) Sustainability Committee.​

Anais Aguerre, Founder of  Culture Connect. Prior to this, Anaïs was Head of International Initiatives at the V&A where she led the Museum’s international strategy and was responsible for major international partnerships in particular with a business development focus. Culture Connect is a consultancy specialising in unlocking the collaborative and international potential of the cultural sector; harnessing its ability to build bridges between people, institutions and countries.

Episode 4: Are NFTs the Future of Digital Art?

2 March, 2021 | 5pm GMT/12pm EST/9am PST  

In December 2020, artwork sold on non-fungible tokens reached an all-time high of $8.2 million, compared to $2.6 million in November. We will be exploring this trend for collecting NFTs that grew in 2020, and the potential for these digital artworks to be displayed in museums in the coming years. This discussion will be looking at the concepts of scarcity versus exposure and the aura of the original in a blockchain context.

Our special guests include:

Jason Bailey, Founder of Artnome, the largest analytic database of complete works by the world’s best-known artists. Passionate about digital art, Bailey is the Senior Curator at Kate Vass Galerie where he focuses on contemporary and historical generative art. Bailey is an early collector of digital art on the blockchain and has helped to spread interest and to grow the community globally. Bailey holds a BA in studio art and art history from Framingham State University and an MFA from Massachusetts College of Art. His writing has recently been featured in publications including Art in America and Harvard Data Science Review, and Bailey has lectured at Christie's, Sotheby's, and universities around the world.

Fanny Lakoubay, French-born, New-York-based digital art collector with 12+ years of experience in art and technology. She supports crypto artists and is affiliated with digital art and blockchain projects (CADAF, New Art Academy, Editional NFT creation app, Snark.art, etc.). She also heads communications for RadicalxChange Foundation and co-founded art+tech residencies with ETHLOCAL. She regularly speaks at conferences / podcasts and guest teaches at NYU, FIT and Christie’s Education. Prior to this, Fanny worked with larger organizations such as Christie’s, Artnet, and Societe Generale. She holds an MBA from HEC Paris business school and a BA in Art History, and fluently speaks French, English and German.

Reserve your spot for any of our talks here!