Here is some random footage taken during the set-up of Take a Picture for the TEDxToronto after party at Steamwhistle brewery:
Last year at this time, I was frantically working to get “Take a Picture” finished in time for it’s big debut at Nuit Blanche. Brad and I were spending an average of 18 hours a day hand-etching circuit boards, inserting components, soldering, and assembling. Between the two of us, we made just over one thousand boards.
When I wasn’t building, I was typing. I tried to get in as many blog updates as I could. The idea was to plant some digital seeds by writing about the issues that Take a Picture was attempting to tackle. That way, I would be mentally prepared for the questions that would undoubtedly arise throughout the course of the evening. These posts would also serve as a landing pad for interested spectators. If people really like the project, we owe it to them to ensure that there is more content available for them to look up later. Never launch an idea or project without first building the infrastructure to support it. This way, on the off-chance that the idea made it big, I’d be prepared for it.
During the event itself, it was decided that we would not be participating in Nuit Blanche in 2011. It’s not because we had a bad experience or anything like that; we just missed seeing Nuit Blanche ourselves. We were stuck in front of our project the entire night, unable to see any other work. We didn’t want to become disconnected from the experience of participating in Nuit Blanche as art fans.
In the days that followed, the reviews were harsh; too many projects were artists responding to other artists, there was little for non-insiders to enjoy. I fear that if I spend all my time presenting art, I will lose that powerful and direct “This is what I want to see, damnit!” attitude and start producing empty fluff. I don’t want to produce empty art fluff, I want to keep on making cool stuff. I hope this doesn’t sound conceted or egotistical, but I like to make art that I would like to see. So this year the plan was to do nothing. I’d Sit back, relax, enjoy some free time leading up to Nuit Blanche, and hit the sites in ‘art spectator mode’, I’m not going to have to do anything.
That was the plan. The next several paragraphs deal with with why that isn’t going to happen.
I just got back from a series of lightning talks hosted by Site3 CoLaboratory.
What is a lightning talk?
Think of it as a TED talk in fast-forward.
Toronto has a lot of very cool people doing a lot of very cool things. The problem is that most of these people don’t know each other; they don’t know about each other’s work. Wouldn’t it be great if all these interesting people got together one night, gave a 5 minute presentation introducing the work they are passionate about, then they all stuck around for an after party where they could all talk to each other, and actually share ideas and contact information? Well, that is exactly what a lightning talk is. Get cool people together, make them talk to each other.
Continue reading Lightning Talks at Site3
It’s amazing how quickly an idea can spread though a community or subculture. One particularly aggressive meme that is working it’s way though the Toronto artist community is audio books. Listening to an audio book while working seems to be a rapidly growing trend.
I had always heard of audio books, but I never had the slightest bit of interest in them. In 2005, While talking to Nicholas Di Genova in his studio space in Toronto, he happened to mention that his latest audio book had arrived in the mail. He was a member of some sort of audio book club. Based on his description, it worked like Netflix, only with audio books instead of movies. He paid a monthly fee, and they sent him a book. When he returned it, they sent him the next one on the list. At the time, I was still blaring Nine Inch Nails and Skinny Puppy while working, and the idea of listening to a dry, boring audio book did not seem at all appealing. I was an expressionist painter who worked long hours, and I needed fast and interesting music to keep me going. I couldn’t imagine enjoying listening to someone read a book. But this conversation with Nik successfully planted a seed in the back of my mind. It just needed some time to sprout.