The Importance of Being Digitally Capable in Today's Society

The way I see art and technology was transformed at David Hockney's 2012 exhibition “A Bigger Picture”. The artist made the bold move of creating a series of "paintings" directly on his iPad. In doing so, he broke the tradition of painted canvas, demonstrating that the future of art lies in the digital realm. Hockney was able to be a forward-thinker in an industry that has traditionally been resistant to technological advances. 

Non-technical people are often disregarded by the tech industry. I should know; I studied History of Art as my undergraduate degree.

While I know my Manets from my Monets, I'm also aware of the opportunities that technological know-how affords. That's why, after graduating, I trained as a Full Stack Developer at Founders & Coders, the highly competitive, free coding bootcamp in London.

The world of code is the world of the new-age poet. It is the world of abstract thought and expression, numbers, and complex structures. The digital world is growing, untapped territory, where the possibilities are endless. Dreamers and creators are free to harness technology and bring the impossible to life.

In one of my third year History of Art lectures, we discussed theories about the future of the world. We looked at the stunning film Sun Ra created about the majesty of outer space and Buckminster-Fuller's domes to reduce pollution. These technologies were the height of sophistication in the late twentieth century. They shape our future landscape. Yet the majority do not understand or appreciate the making or the development process underlying their engineering. This sort of knowledge, we presume, is the perquisite of the tech-savvy minority. 

"I must reorganize the environment of man by which then greater numbers of men can prosper." - Buckminster Fuller in 1965, as told to Studs Terkel.

Wasn’t it only a few years ago, perhaps with the release of Food Inc., that people were beginning to question where certain food products and companies were making their produce? How bizarre that we are not so cautious over our technology evolution and expansion, and trying to get people to understand the concepts and the hard-wiring and the equipment necessary to to make huge technological advances. There is no end to the possibilities of what we could achieve if we all worked towards the education of technology.

This RSA Animate was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award. 

I live in two worlds. Two opposing yet bizarrely interwoven worlds, that provoke and challenge each other and show the reality of this world. I dedicated 5 years of my life to looking at the past through a non technical lens. And more recently I've immersed myself in tech, a new realm that challenges me every day. 

To the non technical of this world, I urge you to take that leap of faith, and to see that these worlds are not disconnected; rather, they are totally complementary. Why not attend a coding Meetup with fellow beginners? And maybe one day you too will find yourself wondering how life was before you became a technophile.


Emma is currently an MSc student studying Technology Entrepreneurship at UCL. Having completed both her undergraduate studies in History of Art, and worked as a Full Stack Developer at Founders & Coders, Emma has every intention to create a startup in the Culture-Tech Sector.