Waag Society—institute for art, science and technology—is a pioneer in the field of digital media. Over the past 20 years, the foundation has developed into an institution of international stature, a platform for artistic research and experimentation, and has become both a catalyst for events and a breeding ground for cultural and social innovation.
Waag Society explores emerging technologies, and provides art and culture a central role in the designing of new applications for novel advances in science and technology. The organisation concerns itself not only with technologies related to the Internet, but also with those related to biotechnology and the cognitive sciences. Because these areas that have a huge impact on our culture and identity, intuitive and curiosity-driven research by artists and designers is paramount. Artists and designers know better than anyone that they must question technology in order to get to the bottom of things, overthrow sacred cows, stimulate imagination and fantasy, create unexpected connections, and—above all—search for meaning.
Waag Society is always active in a social context. Every project involves several partners, each of whom bring their own, unique perspective. We also propose that new technological developments are made available to artists as soon as possible. In this way, Waag Society is a catalyst that brings to light new insights and solutions. The work that arises here is both innovative and iconic.
The organisation’s artistic research includes six labs operating around themes on which Waag Society’s view is unique, and its approach has an impact. The Open Design Lab focuses on digital fabrication and new crafts. The Future Heritage Lab analyzes the role technology plays in our heritage. The Future Internet Lab focuses on data and the development of content in the online world. Creative Learning Lab looks at the role creative technology could play in education and its potential impact on learning. Creative Care Lab concentrates on the design issues found in the field of healthcare. Finally, the Open Wetlab focuses on the life sciences and the design and ethics of life. These labs are run by leading designers, programmers, and researchers who direct the activities and projects.
Waag Academy develops a curriculum primarily offered to students of universities, colleges, and art schools. However, there is also a curriculum offered for primary and secondary education. For creative professionals, Waag Academy provides master classes, workshops, and training sessions.
The public is welcome to actively participate in the programs run by Waag Society. Throughout our various design processes, we often seek out people in their own environments. There is also the public program in the Waag building at Nieuwmarkt: a meeting place for artists, designers, architects, developers, students, scholars, scientists, and residents of Amsterdam (as well as distant surroundings).
The public program aims to share knowledge, vision, and project results with a wide audience. On the agenda, one will find a synergistic program of art, science, and technology. Workshops, labs, lectures and other organized events are accessible to everyone. Central to the program are practice, experience, and hands-on investigation of the possibilities and social impact of technological developments.
The Waag also has a number of multifunctional spaces available as workshop and training rooms. These spaces are used not only for Waag Society’s own programs, but are also available for use by third parties. In addition to our workshop and training facilities, the Theatrum Anatomicum is available for rent, and makes an extraordinary venue for performances and installations. The organisation’s accumulated expertise (from projects and lab activities) comes in the form of contract research, creative workshops, training, and advice offered to third parties. Clients come from both industry and the public sector.