Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How do we feel?

We Feel Fine
Originally uploaded by schussat
As a professional conference guest I find myself quite frustrated fairly easily if the speaker is:
- giving the corporate PowerPoint
- undermining the level of knowledge of the audience
- making drastic simplification without data to back the arguments
- quoting Richard Florida

This morning at the Amsterdam Cross Media Week Picnic was very much living up to the points above. Speakers ranting about capitalist schemes killing creativity and authenticity, praising everything independent as the thing for the future and talking about creativity like it would be a democratic process ("everyone can now be a professional film maker" etc.) I have seldom missed office that much. Luckily enough after lunch I switched sessions and my sun started shining.

For once the rap was not about creativity. It was about living together as individuals on the same planet. As Emile Aarts from Philips pointed out, changing the perspective to the one of the citizen/consumer is easier said than done. Also in the panel on social networking platforms all the speakers talked about what people do rather than what's the business logic or the technical infrastructure. We are finally entering a debate around media and business where the corporations have realised that everything is technically possible but we just need better dreams and better ideas. Brilliant. Relevance is back in the game. I find this discussion interesting both from the point of view of business as well as the society. Developing products that make as live happier and in a more sustainable way are the ones that everyone strives for. I'm glad to realise that more and more people realise that good life and good business can be combined.

The highlight of the day was the presentation of the American artist Jonathan Harris. His projects like We Feel Fine or Universe use massive amounts of online information for showing in a new way what we as human beings feel, think and strive for. What makes it even better is that his projects are extraordinarily beautiful (see pic). Harris' work shows true creativity in stepping outside the 2-D website format and organising information in an attractive 3-D space.

Feelings are a good starting point for looking at the world. Feelings keep us going, drive us to demand more and not to give up. Harris' portfolio shows his anthropoligical interest in our life as a full package - including concern for Burma as well as the crush on the girl next door. That's who we are - fascinating packages with links to certain segments of other packages.

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