Art and technology are two fields in which gender inequality is still frighteningly pronounced, a reality New York-based artist and photographer Lyndsy Welgos is working to disrupt with her newest project Topical Cream. A digital magazine of sorts—Welgos defines it as a (multi)-media platform—Topical Cream is home to interviews, fashion editorials, videos, and critical essays all featuring women working in FAT, an acronym that stands for fashion, art, and technology. I talked with Welgos about her project’s ethos and future.
When you started Topical Cream whom did you have in mind? Why do you think it is important to dedicate a magazine to women in art and technology fields?
I’m particularly drawn to spotlighting multi-disciplinary movements or groups like Deep Lab. In terms of contemporary culture, the intersection of feminism and the Internet is an intricate field to examine, and one in which we simultaneously try to take active part in. Topical Cream is its own concept, but through it, we mainly highlight specific works of women in three often-interconnected fields. Topical Cream was a crucial undertaking due to the fact that there wasn’t another platform, which was exclusively focusing on women in our community at the time.
However, since we launched, the idea has grown and there are many new publications which have similar themes which I am very excited about.
Cream is something soothing, comforting; something that improves the current condition. Did you want to create a platform that improves the current state of exposure of work by women?
First and foremost, yes, Topical Cream is a platform to raise the level of exposure of women in these fields. We also often do features on emerging and niche beauty products which incorporate new technology, so “cream” is both a reference to an enduring fascination with ideals of marketed beauty enhancement, as well as a sensible application for improving a condition, somewhat like you said.
Last year I went to the Digital Life Design conference in Munich (DLD14) and I was amazed that there were almost no women. I know they also do another event, DLD Women. Do you think that this is a good approach to have a separate tech event just for women?
You must take into account that specifically highlighting women in tech is a new theme. I will definitely take that over being invisible. I wouldn’t categorize it as an empirically bad thing or unproductive thing. Think about the Grace Hopper Conference or say the Anita Borg Institute, these institutions have had sustained influence over a long period of time, but institutions like these are few and far between. I think asking if it’s good or bad to have a separate event is the wrong way to frame the question—it’s too simple for how complex and important women who work in technology are to our future. But of course I’m not surprised that there weren’t many women invited to the DLD14 conference.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
I can’t talk about everything we have coming up post-summer. The only thing I can say publicly right now is that we are working on a large collaboration with PIN UP Magazine for their next issue. But beyond that, let’s just say it’s going to be a really exciting Fall 2015!