by Lauren Festa
On the road again…ADC Member Justin Negard traveled to Texas for SXSW this past March, and had the great pleasure of working with CityMouse Inc. on an exciting presentation regarding Cognitive Design (truly fascinating stuff!) for the Interactive portion of the festival. Here, he shares highlights and photos and why he thinks SXSW is an important destination for all types of creatives.
“SXSW was an absolute treat. I shared ideas with designers from Brazil and Taiwan, I played with robots from Tokyo, and even discussed rockets with NASA (or at least pretended to). Inspiration was everywhere, and I was floored by the talent that I encountered. The crowds were massive and the nightlife was immense fun. The bars on 6th Street were filled with hipsters, beer, and music. The city was alive on every block with artists, Obama look-a-likes, and festival goers (with lanyards still swinging around their necks.) And while country music doesn’t normally fire me up, if I’m eating chicken and waffles at Austin’s “Moonshine Grill”, it’s the only music I want to hear.”
Making New Friends:
“I encountered some incredible people. I met Japanese designers of an interactive robotic samurai (yes, you read that correctly) that can speak, interact with, and even recognize a person’s face from previous conversations. (nextremer.com – the name is “AI Samurai”) I also met Brazilian designers who are mass-producing modern homes for people in their country, selected and customized online at a price of only a few thousand dollars and a time frame of only a few days (hometeka.com) I spoke with designers of motion-sensing interactive billboards (sonydes.jp), a Kickstarter-esque app that’ll pay people to do everything from lose weight to shave their head (monkeychallenges.com), and an adorable bendable camera that can attach to just about anything, anywhere (boudpic.com). Along the way, there was free beer, tacos, and gummy bears. How can you go wrong?”
The Coolest Part:
“NASA had an Oculus Rift VR system that allowed visitors to do a virtual tour of an actual space shuttle launch pad in Cape Canaveral. After looking around, the viewer could actually watch a rocket take off right in front of them. How cool is that?”
“There are many reasons to attend and to return again. On the business side, there are countless possible connections for any creative person, entrepreneur, etc. SXSW is a delightful amalgamation of mega organizations, like IBM, Samsung, and NASA, combined with lesser known international organizations, start-up businesses, and even individual students from all over the world. One visit can create a business relationship across the country or globe, working with brilliant people on truly cutting-edge designs. For many of these presenters and companies, SXSW is their first big step into a bigger world. This is a great place to be a part of that process.”
From the purely creative side, visiting SXSW will fill anyone with limitless ideas and inspirations. Whether you’re a graphic designer, an inventor, or a business person, this festival is such a motivating environment to speak with innovative people, see exciting design visuals, and interact with incredible inventions.”
“I left Austin for a bit to catch some more Texas fun. I visited a haunted hotel in one nearby town, soaked up a bit more beer and music in a few local halls, and – like a true New Yorker – stopped off to look at the horses! In San Antonio, I had to see the Alamo (and, yes, look for Pee-Wee’s bike in the basement), and photographed as many of those ‘Old West’ buildings as I could. After several days of fun, photography, and avoiding all vegetables, I took a long ride up to Dallas, keeping one eye open for any passing tornadoes along the way (hey, I’m a New Yorker.)
“My time at SXSW, and Texas in general, was something to remember. The amount of talent, both in the festival and across Austin, blew me away. I am far more humble and motivated as a result, and I look forward to returning very soon to this wonderfully weird town.”
As told by Justin Negard.