Did you hear the one about the coder who was stuck in the shower? This joke killed them at ETech. This year I was honored to be invited as a guest speaker to present a sneak peak of Social Animal’s 360 degree interactive music video at the ETech emerging arts showcase, a platform for artists to present their vision of the intersection of art and technology at ETech 2009.
ETech is the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, O’Reilly Media’s flagship “O’Reilly Radar” event. It is a technologist’s R&D lab, workbench, and playground, specifically designed as a conference to expose new ideas and to learn from the people behind them. ETech is the only place for first access to the innovations and disruptions that are changing the way we live and do business – access people need to stay ahead of the curve in their respective workplaces. This year’s theme at ETech focused on how the way we live is changing — through policy, technology and ideas.
ETech is better experienced than described but I was pleased to be able to spend time with other artists who employ a technology approach like Aaron Koblin, who talked about making art with lasers (I drove up with said laser in our backseat), Alex Bisceglie and his partner in innovation Nick Spears, with whom I’ve been cooking up a collaboration involving video to be displayed in his wonderful spherical display, The Orb, and the guys from Uncommon Projects. Also really enjoyed talking with Nick Bilton from New York Times R&D, who convinced me that my quaint love of paper may not influence the company’s delivery method moving forward.
I’m creating more and more for interactive narrative these days and the terminology can be confusing to people. Below is a link to a simplified example by Simon Norton, a comic strip in which the characters climb out of their frames and reposition themselves when you click on them. This idea has been of interest to many people and Simon and I agree that there is great potential for this idea to be taken further, which is part of what I do at Social Animal.
I’m excited to be collaborating with Norwegian animator Tom Idland. It is a pleasure to be adding new media characters to the Old Hollywood themed party in the Macy Gray 360 degree interactive video. All along, I’ve wanted to feature the widest variety of party guests that themselves represent various eras in traditional media and new media and for me the guest list has always included a pixelated character. Now Lucy (see below) will be gracing our dance floor, bringing that vision to fruition, or at least virtually so. Multifaceted Lucy is fun to work with. As Tom says, “So few ‘details’ but still so alive!” Velkommen.
On the set of Social Animal’s 360-degree interactive music video, my friend Giuliano Bekor had me evoke Sunset Blvd’s Max Von Mayerling in an editorial spread for BlackBook Magazine. The video, which I directed and which was produced with my colleagues Matthew Forrest and Guy Shiffer, is the first of its kind in a new interactive format that I designed. It is technically, at the size of six Imax screens, the biggest music video ever shot. Most people, however, will engage with it on a much smaller screen online or on a personal mobile device. A few hours after these photos were taken, I will be directing the fabulous Macy Gray, who sings the classic song “Whatever Lola Wants” with the Deron Johnson Ensemble in a party scene that represents New Media’s arrival on the Hollywood scene. By moving the cursor, audiences will have the unprecidented ability to look around the room as they choose, checking out the party scene, which is populated by a variety of characters from the earliest days of cinema to the latest 3d avatars. These photos, whatever one may think of my modeling ability, seem oddly appropriate since Sunset Blvd, a favorite movie, concerns characters from the silent era who find themselves thrust into the new media of their time, talkies. Lets see if the addition of interactivity on video has as powerful an impact as the addition of sound had on the movies.