Meet the Incubator Shattering the Left/Right Brain Divide

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3 min read

This story appears in the June 2014 issue of . Subscribe »

Last summer researchers from the University of Utah debunked a long-held belief, reporting that the so-called left/right brain divide -- the difference between analytical and creative thinking -- is, in fact, imaginary.

If anything is going to test that finding in practicum, it will be New Inc, a nascent incubator for practitioners at the intersection of art, design and technology. The program, led by the New Museum in New York, will inaugurate an interdisciplinary community via shared collaborative workspaces, prototyping labs, an educational program and programming that addresses the interests of the new creative entrepreneur. Here, there will be no great divides, and lines will be crossed with great encouragement.

That amalgamation is part of a new way of thinking about business ownership, says New Inc director Julia Kaganskiy, a rising star in the art-meets-tech world who was brought in last year to launch the program. "It's been part of our mission from the beginning to investigate territorial practice and the role of the museum," she says. "In this incubator, we're looking at ways the museum can support new modes of cultural production that are cross-disciplinary and don't neatly fit into an existing program or infrastructure."

Many of the "most inspiring" applicants are "building on years of research they've been doing in areas like wearable technology, privacy and surveillance as an artist or designer, and they're ready to take their practice to the next level," she adds. "They may want to build [something] that turns that research into a product or service or a platform that enables other creatives. Either way, it's coming from a place that is focused and purpose-driven."

Kaganskiy believes the incubator will fill holes that exist in traditional artist residencies and tech incubators. "Business incubators are focused on initiatives that privilege scale and typically have an investment associated with them," she points out. "And artist residencies don't tell people how to build a business."

Because New Inc is not-for-profit--the incubator will not take equity in the companies it fosters--it will give technology creatives breathing room for exploration and will relieve some of the revenue pressures of a startup. Designers and artists who enter the program will have access to New Inc's 11,000-square-foot workspace next door to the New Museum's iconic new building on the Bowery, as well as a network of mentors and advisors from the arts community. Programming is still in development, but Kaganskiy anticipates it will include practical information on topics such as branding, accounting and intellectual property that will give creative entrepreneurs the tools they need to take their businesses to the next level.

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