John Maeda still remembers a parent-teacher conference from when he was a child. Maeda beamed with pride as his teacher told his father, “John is good at math and art.” However, the next day, when Maeda’s father recounted the conference to a customer at his store, all he remembered was, “John is good at math.”
Maeda’s studies in math and computing took him to MIT, his father’s dream. But he eventually realized that he had to follow his own passions and enrolled in art school. It was there that he began to see common space between the areas of study.
“I began to think about the computer as a spiritual place of thinking. I was influenced by performance art,” says Maeda, before sharing one of his earliest works — a computer enacted by people. “When people say, ‘I don’t get art. I don’t get it all,’ that means art is working. Art is supposed to be enigmatic … Art is about asking questions — questions that might not be answerable.”
To see Maeda’s human computer and hear his ideas on how design can inform leaders,watch his wonderful talk. Below, check out four of Maeda’s many works that explore the intersection of technology, art and design.