Report part 2 of 5. South by Southwest (SXSW) is a set of film, interactive and music festivals and conferences that take place every spring (usually in March) in Austin, Texas, United States. It is a conference that attracts media, web and design people from all over the world. This is a recap of the sessions I attended.
Artistic Collaborations via Skype: Turning Distance into Drama
You Wouldn’t Know Her, She Lives in London / You Wouldn’t Know Him, He Lives in Texas is a theatre play that uses video conferencing software Skype as its primary medium. According to director Beth Burns, this play fills the empty space between theatre and film, being neither but borrowing practices from both art forms. This experiment is a new and more democratic way of doing theatre where the audience participates in shaping the narrative by, for instance, asking questions using the hashtag #TexasLondon on Twitter. The play itself can be viewed live on Roundhouse.org’s website.
It was rather refreshing to listen to a presentation that focused less on technology and more on artistic practices, but for those interested in the technical nitty-gritties, a best-practice summary can be found in the Digital Interactive Theatre Manual. If you want to connect with the people behind this play you can join the LinkedIn group Digital Interactive Theatre.
Read more about You Wouldn’t Know Her, She Lives in London…
Flipboard: Game-Changer or Passing Fad?
I am a big fan of social news curation and the foremost actor in this field is Flipboard, an application for iPad that builds magazine-style renditions of your multiple Twitter feeds or Facebook newsfeed. Co-founder of Flipboard, Mike McCue, was interviewed by Kara Swisher from AllThingsDigital. McCue revealed that they are currently working on a release for iPhone but had little to say on whether they would start developing for Android smartphones or tablets.
Keynote: Seth Priebatsch
Seth Priebatsch is “chief ninja” (yes, that’s what he calls himself) at SCVNGR, a location based service similar to Foursquare and Gowalla. He’s a slighty abnoxious and precocious guy that thinks all societal problems can and will be solved by applying game mechanics and “levelling up” mechanics. However, his keynote might be worth watching for a “game mechanics 101” and to learn what the contemporary view on what gamification is all about. I’ll embed the video here when it’s made available. While waiting you can read this short summary.
Bloggers vs. Journalists: It’s a Psychological Thing
Finally, old favorite Jay Rosen, associate professor of journalism at New York University, asked why there is still a conflict between bloggers and journalists. The reason, he claimed, is that “bloggers and journalists are each other’s ideal other”. His entire presentation can be read here: The Psychology of Bloggers vs. Journalists: My Talk at South By Southwest. It’s well worth reading!
Image credit: JabbaScript by Scott Robbin, CC:BY-NC
Further reading from SXSW
– Rebooting Iceland and Block Party Capitalism
– Theatre on Skype and Bloggers vs Journos
– Music Visualizations And a Critical Perspective on Crowdsourcing
– Hobos With Shotguns And Grey Area Music Distribution
– Collaborative Creativity And Flight Delay Predictions