Agnieszka Pilat

Pilat joins us to talk about growing up behind the Iron Curtain, her fascination with robotics, NFTs, and being the artist-in-residence at Elon Musk's SpaceX.


Humanizing Tech through Art with Agnieszka Pilat

Aug 4, 2022
Agnieszka Pilat

Humanizing Tech through Art with Agnieszka Pilat

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.


(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

Connect with Agnieszka on Twitter and Instagram

Read New York Magazine’s See Spot Paint. Agnieszka Pilat has become the Silicon Valley elite’s favorite artist. Even The Matrix’s Neo owns her work.

Read The First News’ Artist raises USD 40,000 for Ukrainian refugees with painting co-created by a robotic dog called Spot

Read Cultbytes’ Agnieszka Pilat: The Artist that Became the Darling of SF’s Tech Elite by Humanizing Machines

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

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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.

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