Panel Discussion at FACT: Cognitive Conversations. Adapting in the Age of Distraction

FACT (Foundation of Art and Creative Technology) have confirmed to host the panel discussion, ‘Cognitive Conversations: Adapting in the Age of Distraction’, as part of their upcoming programme Collide. The event will investigate the neurological effects of digital technology, and its impact on exhibition environments.

Confirmed speakers include neuroscientist Richard Cytowic, international artist Marcos Lutyens and University of Brighton Professor of Digital Transformation Design, Karen Cham. The panel discussion will take place between November 2018 – March 2019, the date of which will be confirmed in August.

The ‘digital age’ describes a time in which new technologies are becoming increasingly dominant in everyday life. They have become our central method of communication and our predominant gateway to gaining information. Their growing presence, alongside our reliance on them in daily life, has begun to change the way that our brains function. Writer and commentator of the digital age Nicholas Carr, evaluates the effects of these technologies on the way we process information:  

“Calm, focused, undistracted, the linear mind is being pushed aside by a new kind of mind that wants and needs to take in and dole out information in short, disjointed, often overlapping bursts- the faster, the better” (2010, p10)

This new model of the mind that feeds off rapid bursts of information, will continue to reverberate this behaviour in offline activity as well as online. The exhibition space is no different, which invites its visitors to absorb their surroundings, processing information through a range of media. Galleries and museums must think forward, and decide how they are going to adapt so as to engage with their audiences who are driven by technology. This event will analyse what this environment should look like, posing the question; should exhibitions offer peaceful experiences distanced from the fast pace of life; or should they contain designs that reflect it, presenting information in short bursts just as a computer would? 

 

Carr, N (2010) The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. W. W. Norton & Company.

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