Technology is transforming our world in a myriad of ways. Witnessing some of those changes from the frontlines is artist and documentarian Agnieszka Pilat whose subjects range from aging machinery to emerging technology. In this episode of Before IT Happened, Pilat joins host Donna Loughlin to talk about growing up behind the Iron Curtain in Poland, her fascination with robotics, NFTs, and her newest posting as artist-in-residence at Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Before any world-changing innovation, there was a moment, an event, a realization that sparked the idea before it happened. This is a podcast about that moment — about that idea. Before IT Happened takes you on a journey with the innovators who imagined — and are still imagining — our future. Join host Donna Loughlin as her guests tell their stories of how they brought their visions to life.
JUMP STRAIGHT INTO:
(04:45) - Discovering art in the Soviet Union - "We grew up with a lot of art around us. A lot of it was Soviet, a very specific kind of public art. The glory of the working man, glory of the army. So, it was very specific, but technically wonderful."
(09:28) - Agnieszka's first steps into the professional world of art - "I wanted to tell the story of my love for this country from the perspective of someone who grew up in Eastern Europe behind the Iron Curtain. I thought that art was the language to do it."
(17:08) - Robotics and Boston Dynamics - "It occurs to me that future intelligent AI machines may look at these portraits and think, ‘These are my cultural ancestors."
(22:48) - Working at SpaceX - "When I think of these machines and technologies, going back to the concept of portraiture, I think of space technology as the superhero."
(26:35) - On the metaverse and augmented reality - "I think the real world is going to the lake with your family and friends and having a glass of wine together, so I'm cautious about the metaverse and the optimism around it."
(31:22) - NFTs - "If money was my main value, I wouldn't be an artist. So, I think to change it like that and start valuing art for what it can sell for, that bothers me."
Learn more about Agnieszka's work
See Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2)
Read the Nerdist’s The DALL-E AI Program Draws Anything You Ask It To
Listen to Before IT Happened’s: Before There Were Selfies: Inventing the First Digital Camera at Kodak with Steve Sasson
Before IT Happened is produced by Donna Loughlin and StudioPod Media with additional editing and sound design by nodalab. The Executive Producer is Katie Sunku Wood and all episodes are written by Jack Buehrer.