Arts and Culture

The artists and cultural leaders to look out for at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2024

Mermaids hate Plastic by Benjamin Von Wong part of Next Frontiers for Growth

'Mermaids Hate Plastic' by Benjamin Von Wong Image: Benjamin Von Wong

Joseph Fowler
Head, Arts and Culture, World Economic Forum
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
This article is part of: Annual Meeting of the New Champions
  • Next Frontiers for Growth is the theme of the World Economic Forum's next Annual Meeting of the New Champions in China.
  • Arts and culture are always a big part of the Annual Meetings and artists gathering in China are creating talking points that meet the Next Frontiers for Growth theme.
  • See how, through exploration and collaboration, businesses, governments and creatives can deliver a more sustainable and inclusive future for everyone.

Under the overarching theme Next Frontiers for Growth, from the 25th to 27th June 2024, the World Economic Forum will convene the 15th Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, People’s Republic of China.

The Next Frontiers for Growth theme encompasses a wide range of opportunities and challenges across all sectors and industries, including the arts and culture.

Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and biotechnology, as well as new mediums, like virtual reality, augmented reality and digital platforms, are opening exciting possibilities for artistic expression and engagement.

Additionally, exploring innovative collaborations across different disciplines and industries will push the boundaries of traditional art forms and create new opportunities for growth.

Have you read?

Blurring the boundaries between art and tech

Merging art, technology and science, Krista Kim’s groundbreaking installation, Heart Space, is the very first collaborative biometric AI, generative art installation.

Created in collaboration with Tenbeo, an innovative biotechnology research company and commissioned by Julius Baer, Heart Space is an immersive experience that employs the power of AI to read individuals' electrocardiograms (ECGs), showing the heart’s electrical activity. The installation then allows participants to connect with one another through the universal language of the human heartbeat.

'Heart Space' by Krista Kim Image: Krista Kim

Kim, the visionary behind Heart Space, says that the ideation of the artwork emerged from her will to: “externalize inner states to unite people through shared bio-emotional experience. Advances in biometric AI and projection mapping let me translate heartbeat rhythms into collaborative visualizations. As these atmospheric heart synchronizations reflect collective resonance, my hope is that boundaries dissolve.” The artwork also questions the use of the human heartbeat as a means of identification, opening the door to a new method of biometric authentication.


What is a Cultural Leader?

Fashioning new frontiers

The fashion industry is actively embracing the next frontiers of growth through sustainability, technology integration and inclusivity. As the industry continues to evolve, there is a growing emphasis on environmentally-friendly practices, such as using sustainable materials and reducing waste.

There is a significant push towards inclusivity in fashion, focusing on diversity in sizing, representation and accessibility. Technologies, such as virtual reality and AI, also play a significant role in enhancing the shopping experience and streamlining production processes. Additionally, achieving equality in garment supply chains and promoting fair treatment and opportunities are steps being taken to enhance inclusivity.

Billed by Vogue France as “the designer behind the most explosive collection of Fashion Week,” Swiss Fashion designer, Kevin Germanier, has conquered the world of fashion and established himself as the new talent to watch.

The Germanier Autumn-Winter 2024-2025 fashion show Image: © Grégoire Avenel

Globally respected for his sustainable and ethical practices, Germanier champions circular fashion and is committed to leading a better and greener ecosystem across the fashion industry.

Two years after launching his label in association with MatchesFashion, Germanier has cultivated a futuristic utopia through his collections that have been worn by many international celebrities, including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Kristen Stewart, Lily Collins, Björk and Sunmi.

Germanier is set to provide valuable insights into the future of fashion, emphasizing the importance of sustainable and ethical practices within the industry. He will showcase how his brand utilizes eco-friendly materials and actively engages in waste reduction. These efforts are part of a broader strategy to promote ethical practices within the fashion industry. Moreover, Germanier is dedicated to raising awareness about the significance of conscious consumerism and is encouraging a shift towards more sustainable and ethical fashion choices.

With up-cycling and ethicality at the forefront of his brand, at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions, Germanier will offer an insight into what the future of fashion should be and showcase how his brand uses eco-friendly materials and is proactively reducing waste, whilst promoting ethical practices, raising awareness about the importance of conscious consumerism and encouraging a shift towards more sustainable and ethical fashion choices.

Putting the environment in the picture

“If we want people to change their behaviours, we can’t just hit them with facts and figures. We also need to hit their hearts,” Benjamin Von Wong says. “Art creates a sense of curiosity and you can leverage the curiosity to talk about issues.”

Von Wong is a hidden gem in the climate movement, seamlessly blending artistry with catalytic action and collaboration. His impact isn’t confined to galleries or online platforms; his work also serves as foundational material in classrooms across the globe, inspiring the next generation of climate advocates.

After feeling unfulfilled as a hard-rock mining engineer, Von Wong, who calls himself an 'unwilling environmentalist,' picked up a camera and quit his day job to undertake photography full-time. He started focusing on environmental issues after he read about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a gyre of microplastics scattered across 1.6 million square kilometres of ocean between Hawaii and California.

At the Annual Meeting of New Champions, he will share insights into his pioneering art installations, including the four-storey tall Giant Plastic Tap, commissioned by the United Nations and showcased at the United Nations headquarters; the Perpetual Plastic Machine, commissioned by Greenpeace; the Carbon Phoenix, the world's tallest biochar art installation; and, the Guinness World Record recognized Strawpocalypse, crafted from 168,000 plastic straws. The world’s largest art installation made from plastic drinking straws.

Turn Off The Platic Tap, Benjamin Von Wong Image: Benjamin Von Wong

Von Wong's large-scale artworks have all become cornerstones in environmental focused conversations that prompt positive problem-solving approaches that can make a difference. This includes promoting renewable energy sources, implementing sustainable practices in industries, supporting conservation efforts, reducing waste, promoting recycling and advocating for policies that protect the environment.

Through exploration and collaboration, businesses, governments, creatives and individuals can unlock new possibilities, drive economic and environmental prosperity and create a more sustainable and inclusive future for all. The meaningful and pioneering works of Kim, Germanier and Von Wong encourage us to stay agile, adaptable and forward-thinking to navigate the next frontiers for growth creatively and successfully.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Arts and CultureForum Institutional
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

This architect is using urban design to bring communities together

Andrea Willige

May 29, 2024


About Us



Partners & Members

  • Sign in
  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum