Sideswipes: What I Did Instead Of Going To SXSW

We tend to get in a rut when it comes to conferences. Or at least I felt like I was getting in one. I spoke at TEDActive last year, went to SXSW. Did a few 4As events. This year the same invites and opportunities came around, but I decided to take up something different.

While everyone was sending #wishuwerehere grams from SXSW, I went to London, to a conference called Convergence. It's part tech, part sound, part new media. In short, it's the new media bit that broke the rut for me, because what struck me as new in all the media I saw was how little concern there was for media at all.

Instead of the conference being a media show itself, our mutual interest in new discovery and building things took center stage. Convergence is a creators conference for people who want to build. It's for sonic architects, hardware designers, coders, visual artists, musicians, and animators. If you care to show up and write a bit or shoot some content on it, great. If not, Convergence folks will be just as happy building away without you.



The terrific Marshmallow Laser Feast brought built us an installation where lasers followed our face as we chewed bits of marshmallow, supervised by a nurse, just to show the connection between bodies, space, taste, and sight. And while the group has brought the world things like collaborations with U2 and elaborate public installations, MLF is focused on the work, not the show. They just keep making dope sh-t.

This kind of approach to the work got me thinking about how much the conference rut is the problem of the show overtaking the destination of new thinking. We may be getting in the way of ourselves discovering new ideas because we have turned the pursuit of ideas into a media show.

Next story loading loading..