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.
Media imagery is now for the most part advancing on screens, rather than in print. This makes me an enthusiast of motion design. It’s the design on screens that are fundamentally driving the common aesthetic, much in the way that album covers and magazine layouts have in the past.
Below is a screen shot from Social Animal’s upcoming show open for O’Reilly‘s Ignite, “a geek variety show,” according to creator Brady Forrest. In creating a motion design for the geek audience, we felt that it would be nice to feature a new graphic style and we came up with a code based tool, programmed in processing, that allowed our designers to virtually paint with video. The resulting graphics have a live performance quality that I’m excited to explore in future projects and, strangely enough, seem to confirm the onslaught of preschool theorists who are jumping up and down about the importance of finger painting and story time to America’s future workforce. We’re always looking for outstanding storytelling and finger painting talent at Social Animal, unfortunately no nap time.