#MEX11: Inspiring new forms of creative expression through mobile devices


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This presentation is my interpretation to the brief laid out by the MEX11 conference around mobile creativity + expression.

I love my mobile phone and have been using it to express myself creatively for many years. In this talk I highlight some of my feelings around the explosion in this area as well as present a couple of recent case studies on mobile creativity.

As a sidenote: I don't think I've enjoyed a presentation so much in years :)

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  • Hello, I’m James Whatley, (you can follow me @whatleydude) I’m marketing director for 1000heads, (follow them @1000heads) I tend to banter about tech and pop culture, the ‘heads tweet interesting links Take your pick (or choose both/neither) So, what am I here to talk about? NEXT SLIDE
  • The brief [you can all read right? Right] But, before I answer/explore the above, I just want to address a few things. Set the scene, if you will… NEXT SLIDE
  • Today, the advent of the iPhone has suddenly democratized the sharing of content creation. People have always used the camera functionality of their devices, but the uploading and sharing... ? There are lots of reasons for this – wifi/data enablement (iPhone was the first device to be sold with a data plan GUARANTEED), ease of use (we’ll come back to that one), ‘handy’ (as in – the device is always to hand. To quote: ‘the best camera is the one you have on you at the time’) This isn’t new mind, as far back as 2008… NEXT SLIDE
  • … Even as FAR BACK as 2008, (when the iPhone was still declaring itself as Jesus), the sudden input into the flickr/photography realm made people sit up and take notice. While not as prevalent, other devices are also getting involved. When I was trawling for a decent 2008 flickr shot a few days ago, I found this quote from Bryan Partington. It kind of nails it for me. Simplicity (again – something we’ll come back to). So – where has this taken us, going forward? Where are we today? Well… NEXT SLIDE
  • First, now that the camera hardware [cross-device] is now to a point that the standard of content creation is at a level that genuine artists are considering the technology when it comes to new art projects. iPhones are being sent into space. Nokia N8s are being used in extreme sports competitions. Vimeo is sponsoring mobile-technology ONLY events. Plus, with the addition of applications like Instagram, suddenly anyone can 'create'. To my mind the way forward is bringing these technologies even to the fore. I'd like to give case studies on what people have been using their mobile technologies for and how they will shape the future of mobile content creation. These two videos spring to mind; one is of a man and his son sending their iPhone ON A ROCKET into space. The other is of a recent campaign I worked on called N8 Producers. There is a video I can show – if allowed/audience wish [PLAY VIDEO]
  • These two videos share something in common. They both required *additional hardware* to help inspire/drive creativity. iPhones don’t ship with rockets and Nokia N8s don’t ship with any of this stuff. We did this for N8 Producers. I’ve also created my own additional hardware before… NEXT SLIDE
  • Me. Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe. Bungee jumping. The whole thing is on YouTube… How?
  • A Nintendo Wii Remote strap attached to my N86 and to my wrist. Job done. So my point is here; when considering MOBILE CREATIVITY don’t immediately jump to software. Think hardware first. From something as simple as a wrist strap all the way up to rockets and parachutes. Think outside the phone. Ahem. So – Back to the brief! NEXT SLIDE
  • Let’s dive in shall we? Number one… NEXT SLIDE
  • PAINT! Locale – Britglyph. But after that, gesture? PAINT! NEXT PAGE.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-BH2HpUXOg This is light hack – take an awesomely hackable N900 and create light hacks. Gesture + innovation + mobile tech = great creative output. Shot on a mobile phone.
  • Answer to question 2? MAKE IT EASY. How? NEXT SLIDE
  • Meet Ben. I met Ben on the Transmongolian railway about two weeks ago. His photos used to look a bit like this - NEXT SLIDE
  • Blurry. Flashed. Out of focus. Beer. I took Ben to one side and I said ‘Ben, I’m going to change your life’ ‘ No you won’t’ – he said ‘ OK, when we get to wifi, I’ll do it’ I showed him something… and it did. An hour later he came back and he said: ‘James, you’ve changed my life’. How? NEXT SLIDE
  • INSTAGRAM! Thanks to a combination of a crash course in HDR, a quick download of an app [instagram] and a small lesson in how light works (seriously) – Ben is now producing photos like this – NEXT SLIDE
  • Beautiful, right? That’s a Mongolian monastic rooftop. It’s quite stunning. Moving on.
  • Well, that’s a meme – right?
  • You’ve all seen this by now?
  • Which means you’ve seen these too? How about memes on mobile? I snap this, send it you, you change it, send it back.. An instant meme app? Yes please. Where do I sign?
  • There’s a question mark on this one. Why? Because I genuinely have no idea. I can do many, many things. But predict new forms of artistic expression? Not me…
  • See number 2. Remember Ben?
  • We changed Ben’s life by giving him access/education about an app that was easy to use, simple to understand and ultimately – the best app for him. Nearly there now – last slide, with some pointers for attempting to change mobile artistic expression, coming up -
  • Make it easy. Make it simple. Make it fun. I want to leave you with some open questions --- Does mobile creativity = art? Do low barrier entry apps make artists out of us all? How can we inspire creativity using the most common and base tools available? [remember HARDware as well as SOFTware] Not everyone creates – proven – however content CREATION can be – as Marek says – as simple as a status update.
  • #MEX11: Inspiring new forms of creative expression through mobile devices

    1. 1. MEX ’11 Inspiring new forms of creative expression through mobile devices James Whatley (@whatleydude) Marketing Director, 1000heads (@1000heads) May 5 th 2011
    2. 3. Source: Flickr 2011
    3. 4. “ One of the problems with photo sharing is that there's still somewhat of a bottleneck on the desktop/laptop when it comes to uploading. Casual uploaders need to sort though photos, attach transfer cables, choose photo-management software or set up a filing system. Compact cameras, though inexpensive, are awkward to remember to bring with you, keep batteries charged and so on. Mobile camera-phones seemed to present the solution to this, but cameras were low resolution, UI atrocious and upload speeds frustrating. It seems that the iPhone and other smart-phones of its breed are solving these problems. For the first time, the casual photographer has a camera that they carry with them all the time, is always charged and ready to go, and will upload to the web with just a couple taps. Finally, a camera and workflow that is as simple on creation and upload side as Flickr is on the publication side. I'm curious to see how this all plays out, going forward.” Bryan Partington – Utata Tribal Photography, Dec 2008
    4. 5. Video content creation: both in HD and in Outer Space… How do we make it easier?
    5. 6. What about accessories? Hardware to help the hardware? Check…
    6. 7. What about accessories? Hardware to help the hardware? Check…
    7. 8. What about accessories? Hardware to help the hardware? Check…
    8. 13. Meet Ben Wallace
    9. 14. Beer anyone?
    10. 15. Easy / Simple UI + Social features baked in…
    11. 23. <ul><li>Make it easy </li></ul><ul><li>Make it simple </li></ul><ul><li>Make it fun </li></ul>
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