SXSW @Austin done Tokyo style
For me, trying to choose a favourite talk from Austin’s SXSW interactive festival this week would be like lining up a row of twelve pots of deliciously fruity yoghurt and stating that I was only allowed to have one.
Anyway, whatever the talk, and no matter what its theme, there’s great potential for use within digital advertising. It was good stuff. If someone tells you they weren’t inspired by SXSW then maybe they’re looking for fully-formed answers on a plate, whereas half the fun of this industry is taking a raw possibility, be it a technology or channel, and trying to do something different with it.
I enjoyed the Biz Stone talk, with his well-documented but always intriguing anecdotes about how he, Jack Dorsey and the other guys on the board of Odeo paired off for brainstorms, with the concept for Twitter being the outcome.
Likewise the Chief Technology Officer of the US government, Todd Park – he made some interesting points about the value of open data and letting public entrepreneurship take its course to result in useful applications, but it was his infectious energy that took the biscuit. I’ve never seen a government official throw shapes in the way Park did, and it was pretty watchable.
But, being allowed to choose only one talk, I’d have to say the ‘Frontline report of Japanese interactive arts’ would be the one I’d plump for.
Consisting of three programmers/engineers/artists (Motoi Ishibashi of 4nchor5 la6, Kensuke Sembo of Exonemo and Daito Manabe of Rhizomatiks explaining some of their favourite projects they’d done (check out their company websites; what’s not to like?), it just went to show that a mentality of ‘Why not?’ can result in some fun experimental stuff with useful potential for digital marketing. The Executive Creative Director from Dentsu Tokyo, who collaborates with them regularly, was there to make precisely this point.
Here were some of the projects they showed:
Nike sneakers played as musical instruments, by Motoi Ishibashi.
Nubot – normally used to connect colleagues between the Tokyo and Fukuoka offices of Exonemo. Nubot was there for the talk, the crowd enthusiastically waving at him and getting him to wave back.
You’ve probably seen this face-twitching experiment, or this version of it. Daito Manabe of Rhizomatiks, who was his own human face-twitching guinea pig, also showed some pretty cool stuff with face projections using a live webcam. Here’s another example.
This never fails to be interesting, and was put together by a couple of guys on the panel: Hacking a whole bunch of household appliances and toys to make a single chain reaction passed along by sensors is interesting and very Honda Cog-esque. A metaphor for transmedia (one of the oft-uttered buzzwords of the festival) anyone?
I hope these guys are there again next year.
Why not indeed!