From April 29 – May 1st, another FITC Toronto swept into town and left a few hundred people blinking in confusion and inspired by all they experienced. I’m no exception. From the start, this show proved they can pull in the best people.
The titles, by Beeple are great. Make no mistake. However, live, there were also confetti cannons and dancers as the large cardboard characters from the titles. Those characters milled about the duration of the event, as well.
Who Did I See?
I didn’t attend any workshops on Sunday. I had commitments on Wednesday. I tried to make sure I took advantage of any time I did have.
Cory Doctorow opened the event with a chilling keynote. As we have more and more discussions concerning our privacy and freedoms within the online space, Cory gave the audience a viewpoint trailing out of history and governmental regulations dissolution that began with Ronald Reagan, Brian Mulroney, and other world leaders. As anti-trust legislation is removed, large-scale conglomerization came to the fore. Now legally allowed to acquire competitors, corporations became able to remove their competitors while growing to a size that made them impossible to compete against by anyone new. Facebook shuttering competitors through attrition and lawsuits, Amazon killing competitors by offering stock at far lower prices than anyone else then, when the competitions closes, pushing the prices back up. Disney purchasing film studio after film studio. Media giants merging. When they have their control, they can then exert their influence over legislators through lobbying and donations. DMCA notices, copyright take-downs and a surveillance state that supersedes anything we could ever have pictured when we first fired up our modems to chat on a BBS in the late 90s.
Jason White is one of three founders of Leviathan, a immersive reality and motion graphics studio based in Chicago. Over the years, Leviathan has shown such forward-thinking and their work has consistently blown the minds of viewers. This session was a frank and sensitive journey through Jason’s experience as a creative thinker who must also face expansion and contraction of business. From wild success to failure of understanding the focus of the work, Jason’s mindset to look inward has allowed him to quietly assess and move forward.
Jessica Rosenkrantz of Nervous System creates organic forms using algorithms to mimic organisms she’s found inspiring from nature. Her studio then uses these algorithms to create one of a kind items. From ceramic jewelry and 3D print foldable dresses to rings, necklaces and cup Jessica’s fascination with algorithmic beauty is easily seen.
Bobak Ferdowsi from NASA JPL laid out multiple failed missions without the pretense of assigning blame. Instead NASA uses “failures” as a way to formulate better procedures and practices with which to head to Mars. From the most minute issue that leads to a catastrophic accident and the loss of a lander to a large scale explosion of a rocket, each instance is a chance to dissect what went wrong. This leads to planning for the worst in an environment that is unexpected, untested and unforgiving.
Ben Feist with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center laid out an entertaining view of a passion project that lead to a dream job. Over the course of 7 years, Ben compiled all the available resources and data from the last manned mission to the moon; Apollo 17. With the creation of his humble site, Apollo17.org, Ben caught the attention of the people at NASA, all ending with a job offer he couldn’t refuse.
Jared Ficklin founder of Argo Design can see the future. More accurately, he can see the future he’d like to see. He discusses the anxiety some people feel when they see autonomous robots and how we react to what he would consider innocuous fun. From his Zen Gardener project to Augmented Reality porta-potties, Jared has never disappointed.
Phil Reyneri from Lightform showed his work in leading the charge in making informational projections more integrated into life and not reliant on standard methods of display. The point of something remaining beautiful when not having a projection on it really resonates with me.
Hoss Gifford, self-employed at Flammable Jam, explains the process of working as a creative technologists for experiential marketing and all the risks versus rewards that are inherently applied to each project.
Anouk Wipprecht is a designer who seamlessly blends technology with fashion with echoes to nature. Brands seek her out to create inspired work that feels like she’s making the coolest space dresses ever. Add to that, meaningful collaboration with artist, Viktoria Modesta, who is also an amputee. As well as a residency with SPARKS researching kids with ADHD.
Ginger Leigh AKA Synthestruct is an interaction designer obsessed with sound. Her session on sound visualization was informative and inspiring. It gave a glimpse into the thinking behind making engaging visuals that are a complement not competition to the music.