FITC finally happened in Chicago. I went and then left all charmed. So I have to scribble about that before I forget or get disenchanted by life.
It's this conference all about creative technology, with well-known names in this field giving talks back to back for two days. I honestly didn't know a lot of these names, but once I started seeing their works, I realized these were some serious big shots because I've definitely seen and admired some of the work, somewhere else. I got to hear from GMUNK, Chuck Anderson, Gary Baseman, Jason White, Rama Allen, and Zachary Lieberman.
Each had a lot to offer, and different things to offer. It's all inspirational, but also overwhelming at times because it's very easy to get carried away at these talks. You start thinking... I should do this, do that, I need to learn this software, I should practice drawing more, I should reorganize my website...bla bla bla... then I get overwhelmed and feel inadequate.
Not for long though. Yes, I still want to do all of the above, but the great takeaway from hearing these different artists speak is that they all go about it differently, and got to where they are differently (as generic as that sounds). The one great through line among them and other artists I admire is that, well, they are artists first. They have their personal work that defines them, an aesthetic, a style, a constant question. They each have a curiosity that burns. Like Gary Baseman and his freakin' obsession with his character Toby and flamboyant rituals and big-eyed weird creatures. GMUNK has the thing with shooting lasers and lights through everything, and fractals. Zachary Lieberman with his thousand different ways of looking at lines.
More so than new information, I walked away with powerful affirmation on my latest conclusions more than ever before. The thing about digging my own thing. And what I’m gonna do about that.
It’s hard to say because they were all good, but my favorite talk was probably Rama Allen’s Shut up and Jump. He’s the ECD at The Mill NY. Kinda sorta big deal, but then he had this friendly way of speaking and a good speaker voice.. this relaxed vibe that made me think he'd be a fun guy to chat with at a BBQ. He uttered some phrases that could potentially sound like fluffy inspirational buzz-quotes, but in the context they actually meant a lot, like “magical thinking” and “inducing play and wonder” and "architects of location and memory" and “dictatorship of attention” which we are losing with the new “cinematic possibilities” but gaining more of other things instead. Ideas I will hopefully return to again and again. These are powerful because they're actually about the thought process behind a body of work. They're not about technology or some technique, but they're approaches to really any creative endeavor. Damn, that was a good talk.
At some point he said this that seems to sum up the conference for me:
Never before in our industry has the process of creative development and direction been so intimately connected to the tools of making and consuming the content.
It's totally true. I like that. More thoughts on that later...