If you missed Day 1, you can read our impression here
Unite9 is a design studio we keep coming across over and over with top class works spanning from film, digital, VR, game and tech driven projects. They warmed up the audience showing the Hoxton Window Project that sees a new illustrator painting Unit9 massive window every month, the showcase is a unique opportunity to exhibit to Shoreditch passers by.
Just a reflektor, is a success of interactivity. The music video for Arcade Fire is a fully interactive experience where the user- through the use of their smartphones or tablets- can actively affect the visuals and appearance of the video.
If you’re after some kind of creative conceptual outburst that goes beyond visual cliches you should always watch out for RCA representatives. James Auger is a lecturer of the one and only MA Design For Interaction at Royal College of Art, London. His talk was an hour of pure conceptual delight spanning across technology, art, futurism, design and politics. In pure speculative fashion he reflected on possible alternative ways to get the world organised, away from from classic notion of efficiency and progress. He then went on to describe some of his and his students’ work.
Sures Kumar investigated a new possible value system evolving through the current big data gold rush. In Beyond Blood he imagines a legal system where algorithms take over the inheritance process. A question naturally arise, is there such a thing as ethics in an algorithm?
Choy Ka Fai has been researching on muscle memory transfer while at RCA. During his research project he managed to infer movements to other people through a software and an electrical muscle stimulation system. This concept speculates on a future digital library of body movements or dance techniques that can be experienced beyond the audio-visual conventions.
Pablo Garcia talk was fun, eye-opening and inspirational. He started describing how he enjoys reverse engineer art history to achieve technological transparency, that literally translate into doing lots of research through un-institutionalized media and recreate what has been obliterated by history. In recent year he’s been particularly interested in drawing machines and the history behind them- he’s developed the Neolucida project that we previously saw on DI and he’s now almost ready with the first ever drawing machine archive.
Particularly fun project is Webcam Venus where he payed sexcam girl to pose replicating iconic Renaissance artwork, the result is a witty reflection on ideals of beauty, gender politic, sexuality, media and context. In Brbxoxo he has created an algorithm detecting whether the sexcam girl has left the room, this is a live collection of empty rooms prompting the viewer to wonder about the person on the other side of the screen. Ikeas furnitures, club posters, iconic gadgets are a proof that maybe we’re not so different. In standard hacker fashion he stressed to:
Carlo Ratti is an Italian architect, engineer, inventor, educator and activist teaching at MIT and directing the MIT Sensable City Lab. In his impeccable talk he went through the nature of big data and how to get the most out of it in order to better understand society. Hubcab is a great example of how we could employ big data to save money, pollution and make people’s life better in cities. Another astonishing project is Trash Track, where he attached GPS sensor to trash in an effort to track waste and its journey to landfills. The result is a poignant truth of hundreds of miles through different countries.
Zach Lieberman talk was the most comprehensive, curated and inspiring talk of the whole festival. A talk crafted for the festival’s theme, play. It started with getting the whole audience to stand up and do whatever “play” is for them. Interaction design is also this, no tech involved- just getting people to interact with each other. His portfolio of works is spectacular, almost as much as his humbleness and humanity.
The Eyewriter is a project developed for LA graffiti artist Tony Quan, aka Temptone that in 2003 was diagnosed with ASL leaving him completely paralysed except for his eyes. Lieberman and a team of talented hackers developed a series of softwares to allow Quan to paint once again. At this point Lieberman got really emotional and almost dropped a tear. Drawn is an early work of his that sees audiences experience drawing in a radical new manner. Latest project of his is Play The World, a project we covered before, consisting of 88-note keyboard piano playing radios across the globe. As you press a note the software randomly selects a radio and play it from a speaker.
Personally one of the talk I was awaiting the most was the Julien Vallee & Eve Duhamel. Well, with my great regret the talk was a bit of a delusion. A seemingly poorly prepared, presented and staged talk, at times pretentious and snobbish terminated halfway to leave space to Quebecian friends. A bit of a shame considering the duo’s incredible portfolio of works.
Kikk festival once again have showcased the best of contemporary artists, designers, hackers, researchers and creatives across the world.