Throughout history, the prosperity of cultures and arts has always been supported by discerning patrons. Connected Ink Village aims at continuously supporting “arts, leaning and technology” in the hope of setting up new pivotal values or cultural concepts and implementing them in society. The organization was freshly launched this year. What is the vision that the Village has for the future?
Mechanism of Community-Supported Artists
Under the autocratic rule of the Medici family, Florence flourished as an epicenter of the Renaissance. There, mounting demands from churches and aristocrats for works of art were usually met by ateliers with groups of craftsmen working together by sharing their skills and know-how. The Andrea del Verrocchio atelier in particular enjoyed the patronage of three generations of the Medici family, most notably that of Lorenzo de Medici known as “il Magnifico”, and produced distinguished artists including Leonardo Da Vinci and Domenico Ghirlandaio. In particular, Ghirlandaio’s own atelier served as a cradle for Michelangelo Buonarroti. In those days, an atelier was not just a place for art production. Rather, it was deemed a socializing venue for clients commissioning art works and the intellectual class of the day and offered these a forum for day-to-day discussions about culture, religion, politics, economy and others. Also, disciples there had a chance to see how their masters earned the confidence of demanding clients.
In short, ateliers were a laboratory to train artists enabling them to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge as professionals and test their talents before striking out on their own. A rich culture flourishing with gifted artists in the Renaissance period was supported by ateliers functioning as a social incubator of art professionals. Connected Ink Village is an ambitious attempt to create a community that can offer new perspectives or values to society just like the ateliers did during the Renaissance.
A New Attempt by “Connected Ink Village”
Connected Ink is being held for the sixth time this year. During all these years, one thing was constantly on the mind of Wacom’s CEO Nobu Ide: how to support people in the creative world as an instrument provider equipping them with digital tools that replace pen and paper. Desirous to go beyond the horizon of Connected Ink as an annual event, Ide recognized the need for a mechanism that provides continuous support for arts, leaning and technology by focusing on the creating "individuals". He supports the values of a community that works independently from Wacom's commercial and financial concerns. Thus, Connected Ink Village was inaugurated as a general incorporated association in May 2021.
The association serves as an experimental platform for “adding more depth to human beings through expressions in arts and crafts“, “exploring and promoting new values in learning” and “implementing supporting technology and collaborating with various communities”. Following this line of thinking, several projects are now on the way. Connected Ink Village seeks to create new pivotal values or cultural concepts through building and connecting related communities and to implement these values in society. Wacom donates funds to ensure the stability of its projects. In the long term, it is planned to turn the Village into an incorporated public-interest association. The board of directors includes six directors from various fields of business, arts, fine arts and education, among them Ide himself.
Connected Ink Village Now Setting Off for a Long Journey
In the first year, several activities were already launched within the framework of “Human Expressions: Breakthrough Project”. The project aims at offering continuous support to people with an earnest desire to express themselves in creative activities and to empower them to make a breakthrough. To this end, the Village provides opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration. Ongoing activities includes e.g. the “Figure Art Project”, a PR initiative to cast a spotlight on the creations of modelers in figure production to gain greater social recognition and support through “Call and Response Projects” that interconnect the different fields of arts. In the latter, an art work signals a message (call) to which other artists react (response) and in the process, open up new possibilities of expression.
Further support - also of a financial nature – is planned; setting up scholarships for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) education from its unique perspective, hosting technology contests and for building a sustainable operation of micro-communities across the world by respecting “arts, learning and technology” which come in many different shades and colors on the globe.
An interim report on such undertakings in the Village is given at Connected Ink 2021. Village’s interlinking role is instrumental in selecting artists and performers presenting many on-stage sessions at the event.
A New Environment for All Those Who Love Creation
One of the keywords that best describes Connected Ink Village is “putting individual creators back into focus”, says Ide. “That’s why we think that creating a ‘place’ for actual gathering within Connected Ink Village is important. Especially now when more and more communications are shifting to cyberspace, a physical place for meeting appears to be vital. Expressions - when created on the site - have the chance to react with each other and as a result fire imagination to create new expressions or lead to new learning experiences. Connected Ink Village may be called a testing ground for experiments. Creating a place to meet is one such experiment.”
This comment reflects Ide’s wish for focusing on individuals devoted to creation and to having their values recognized and respected. The Renaissance is a period of radical change of values redefining the relationship between humans and the world around them. By re-living the spirit of “rebirth”, a big stride forward is now being taken in creating a better environment for people working for a creative future.
editor / writer_ Chikara Kawakami