Cultural industries and technology companies: can they understand each other?


28 November, 2013

Cultural industries and technology companies: can they understand each other?

ultural industries and technology companies:  are they forced to understand each other? “. With no small rhetorical intent, Molly Barton (@molbarton) chose this title for the speech she gave at the fifth Ibero-American Culture Congress. The increasing inter-dependence of the technological and cultural industries is sometimes analyzed from a reactionary perspective. However, this relationship opens a wide range of growth opportunities as was reflected in several of the presentations that we heard in Zaragoza (Spain). We will now analyze this phenomenon in terms of readiness, with no prejudices.

The cultural and technological industries must be willing to collaborate, because of the change of media (Hugh Forrest spoke of “interactive clothing”) and changes in consumer habits. The public today plays a role as a creator and as a consumer, and in this sense participatory formulas are beginning to acquire an undeniable weight in these ever changing industries. In turn, technological industries depend on the exchange of content and cultural assets.

Not everything is new. Molly Barton talks to El Pais about the co-existence of analog and digital formats:

“I see people read e-books and paper books. The challenge will be to find a way to turn that into a satisfying experience. A number of innovations to keep track of one’s reading you may arise, because one can be reading something with the phone but also with the computer, and then you have a paper book, so there must be a way to combine it all”.

Her line of thought is applicable to other areas. For example, both the publishing industry and the museum sector must take account of this coexistence of formats, even though they are very different industries. Both sectors have internalized the need to digitize their content. The future of the museum looks similar to that of the book: visitors can prepare for a visit from home, acquire information at the box office, use paper brochures, audio-guides or other support tools and, similarly, use their mobile device to mark what interests them or share it with others, or even create their own tours. Visitors may not even make it to the exhibition space!

This view in favor of promoting understanding between the cultural and technological industries, is also held by other prominent speakers: Nick Stanhope (@nickstanhope), founder of, argues that the combination of creativity and technology can broaden and enhance the use and dissemination of local heritage. Sandra Pecis, Media vice president at Terra for Latin America and USA, reminds us of the peculiarities of our environment: five of the most active markets in social networks are in Latin America. According to Pablo Arrieta (@Xpectro), designer, teacher and digital consultant, technology creates new ways of tackling problems, providing creators, industries and the general public new ways of communicating.

In short, digital culture has given way to the era of participation and opened communication channels between industry and consumers. Will the barrier that has traditionally separated them be overcome?