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Igniting Conversations with Futurists of Singapore - Howie Lau, NCS Group

Let’s Talk: Bridging the technological and art world

Veteran tech leader and managing director at NCS Group, Howie Lau, recalls his love for doodling and painting as a child. An avid art collector, he views art as a representation of life itself.

While art and technology are deemed to be vastly different disciplines, they have had a symbiotic relationship throughout history, working hand in hand to shape the world we live in. Howie shares his perspective on the intersection of art and technology, and where he sees the future of art in Singapore.

Igniting Conversations with Futurists of Singapore - Howie Lau, NCS Group

From your perspective, how does technology and art come together?

Technology plays a huge role behind any service or product. It has become so pervasive in our everyday lives, we’re always thinking about how we can leverage technology to make lives better and advance communities. I believe that the ability to marry the art of storytelling and design with technology is key, and companies are increasingly recognising this when it comes to branding.

Good design can be very powerful in creating a positive user experience. As an Audi driver myself, for instance, what really drew me to the brand is the understated elegance behind it - which is more about the emotional aspects of the driving experience, rather than the hardware or technology per se.

We can’t ignore the rise of NFTs when we discuss the convergence of art and tech. How do you see NFTs changing the art market?

While we’re currently in a bit of a NFT winter right now, I am very optimistic about their potential and impact on the art world. In essence, NFTs are nothing more than a digital provenance that gives ownership and an identity to digital forms of art. But its impact has been phenomenal. It has democratised the art market, enabling the growth of user-generated content. The market is still young, I’m excited to see what else NFTs will bring to the table.

Igniting Conversations with Futurists of Singapore - Howie Lau, NCS Group

What does art mean to you?

For me, art is an expression of our lives and the social context that we live in. There is so much to learn from the appreciation of visual art, and it has helped me broaden my perspective to look at things in different ways. It’s also a nice balance to the constantly evolving tech landscape.

Art also plays a crucial role in helping us understand cultures and histories. Every time I visit the Chua Mia Tee gallery at the National Gallery Singapore, I’m reminded of how far and how quickly Singapore has transformed. The city-state is known for being a financial and tech hub, but there’s a lot of potential for Singapore to be a regional art hub as well. Singapore is a microcosm of all the cultural diversity that’s found across Asia Pacific, and many different institutions are investing in the arts. With a flourishing art scene, this will hopefully encourage more people to realise the beauty and value of art.

*The Chua Mia Tee exhibition was on display at National Gallery Singapore from 26 Nov 2021 to 20 Nov 2022.

Watch the video below to learn more about Howie’s perspective on art and technology:

Check out the other videos in the Igniting Conversations with Futurists of Singapore series. Hosted by Markus Schuster, Managing Director of Audi Singapore, the series celebrates the inspiring stories and aspirations of six local changemakers, and how they are creating a better future in their own ways.

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