Diy Days Speech on Innovation


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My talk today at DIY days - the audio and text of speech is crucial and hope to link soon, but here's the slide.

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  • For lack of a better title... Thanks to Lance Weiler and New School for organizing DIY Days NYC
  • So I think I should give some background on this presentation. The idea for this came out of this year’s Sundance and Slamdance Film Festival
  • I was there speaking at this Summit organized by Slamdance and Lance Weiler
  • Lance and I were sharing a condo together, so we got to talk a lot about the events of the day
  • you know, spend some real quality time, share stories, relax and what not
  • and our talks kept coming back to all of the distribution panels going on, and how they were, in one sense, good because filmmakers need to be talking about new models of distribution. But now it seems that everywhere we turn, that’s the entirety of the conversation, on panel after panel - I think I attended four or five in Park City alone. And the information is rarely new. So not to pick on this particular panel, which I attended and which was run by people I know and like, but in one sense, the conversation is getting utterly boring
  • where was the innovation? None of these panels is really focused on what we considered to be interesting - inventing new models of storytelling and of connecting with audiences. i mean sure, some people were talking about exciting things like transmedia
  • but most were talking about it in terms of being multi-platform, or marketing your film. Now, Lance and I like transmedia, we talk about it all the time but most of this talk is about cramming all this stuff into an old world box
  • It’s a continuation of trying to kinda adapt, but not really. it’s not very fun or exciting really
  • and while every single panel talks about’s really not
  • everywhere we turned it was boring conversations that really weren’t about innovation at all
  • but rather were about trying to adapt new stuff to fit old ways of doing things
  • which leads to stagnation
  • so, what would be strategies for innovation. Well, there’s a lot of theories out there about innovation - lots of almost self-help books about how to become innovative, and some of them are pretty smart. I believe in a few of them, but what I think is one of the best ways to think about it is by looking at innovation in the arts
  • when the arts get stuck in repetition it is useful to look to the avant-garde
  • This was innovation. For those of you who don’t know your art history, it’s Claude Monet’s “impression:sunrise” It was the painting that gave the movement its name, which was a put down actually (looks like an impression of a painting). Now the Impressionists weren’t the first to innovate because of technology and theories, but we’re going to start with them. First, and most importantly, nothing they did was completely new. Many of the techniques you see here had been done before, but they were the first to combine them all together.
  • The first innovation was premixed paints in lead tubes. As Renoir said, without this new technology there would be no impressionism. You used to have to grind your paints yourself and keep them in dried animal stomachs, among other things, but now you could get outdoors and take your paints with you.
  • They also took the latest scientific theories of optics (divisionism especially did this), spectrography and the study of light, optical realism this was also the time of the rising popularity of photography, but note that they weren’t using the actual mechanism of photography, but rather the idea of the realism it allowed, the idea of it. They were also influenced by the art practice of Japan, which was becoming more accessible and by notions of how to represent reality. As well as positivism and the adherence to the scientific method. All of this combined for important new art.
  • So, by combining the latest technology and the latest theories they got great art. This has been the history of the avant-garde. We see it not just with Impressionism, but also with other avant-garde movements
  • so if you take the typewriter, a mind-blowing technology when it was introduced (this one is Jack Kerouac’s btw, not a surrealist, but cool nonetheless)
  • and add in one of the hottest theories of the time - psychoanalysis, maybe mix in the concurrent rise of the detective story, perhaps as seen in Fantomas series of films
  • equals surrealism - automatic writing, - Breton believed that the typewriter allowed you to let you unconscious flow more quickly and unimpeded revealing true unconscious thoughts. This let to automism in general with drawing and painting, where they too could lead to the unconscious
  • and when coupled with film technology....we got things like Un Chien Andalou -
  • Again, technology plus theory. There are numerous examples, here’s one more
  • October 1966 Robert Raushenberg and the engineer Billy Kluver of Bell Labs, created E.A.T.
  • 10 artists: Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage, David Tudor, Yvonne Rainer, Deborah Hay, Robert Whitman, Steve Paxton, Alex Hay, Lucinda Childs and Öyvind Fahlström. 30 engineers - Their collaboration produced many "firsts" in the use of new technology for the theater, both with specially-designed systems and equipment and with innovative use of existing equipment. Closed-circuit television and television projection was used on stage for the first time; a fiber-optics camera picked up objects in a performer's pocket; an infrared television camera captured action in total darkness; a Doppler sonar device translated movement into sound; and portable wireless FM transmitters and amplifiers transmitted speech and body sounds to Armory loudspeakers. from: /
  • Again, technology plus theory. So what would this mean today?
  • what happens if we combine all of these new tools in our story-telling? what effect will they have?
  • what happens if we combine all of these new tools in our story-telling? what effect will they have?
  • I haven’t the slightest, the foggiest idea
  • That’s what I’m hoping that you as filmmakers discover next. That we, as a community, keep in mind Add a note of caution//clarification - not saying this is for everyone, or that
  • we stand now at a moment of multiple possible futures; what it’s going to be is anyone’s guess, but if we look back at the history of technology, every new technology offered similar endless possibilities which were quickly cut down to one
  • the phonograph was originally intended by Edison to be participatory, not to just sell you pre-recorded albums. But, along came the men in suits and all of the future possibilities of recording were reduced to one - selling recorded music - in very short time
  • if utopian visions for technology panned out, Ham radio would have brought democracy to the world, allowing us all to converse, but that didn’t happen either
  • so this is my plea to you in this room
  • there are endless possibilities
  • If we want to really think about the future of media, we can’t leave it to the suits.
  • Those most threatened by the disruptions of digital aren’t aging dinosaurs
  • they’re actually vicious, blood-sucking beasts hell-bent on staying alive and thus far they will use policy and their power to wrest back this control. We’re living in a wondrous moment of change. It can seem scary, but it’s not. What’s scary is the future that might be built instead of the one that could. So instead of endless possibility, we’ll get there version of the future
  • because all we’ll get is a fancy, internet connected TV set that allows us to watch any movie ever made on demand yeah, it will really blow us away like that good ol’ memorex tape. and it will be TV everywhere
  • and we’ll be able to watch it all at once and comment on it and gossip about it with our friends via twitter and foursquare
  • and buy stuff that’ll be just great....
  • but that’s not the innovation we need or deserve If all we get out of this is a fancy TV set, we’ve failed. If all we get is our indie films on Netflix, we’ve failed We are in danger of what Jaron lanier calls “lock-in” where the future is governed by the rules of the past and can no longer be changed
  • We need to become actively involved in innovating for the future. If we are to progress as a society we need to embrace this change. We, cultural producers and arbiters, curators, exhibitors, need to lead the innovation because if we don’t, the wrong people will.
  • So that’s my challenge to you as artists - invent the future we deserve
  • So that’s my challenge to you as artists - invent the future we deserve
  • how to contact me
  • Diy Days Speech on Innovation

    1. 1. Re:nventing Innovation
    2. 2.
    3. 3.
    4. 10. Innovation
    5. 11. Innovation
    6. 12. Repetition
    7. 13. Stagnation
    8. 14. Strategies for Innovation
    9. 15. Futile Repetition is worse that disastrous innovation. The avant-garde is most needed during periods of redundancy. Apollinaire (paraphrased)
    10. 16. Claude Monet: Impression, Sunrise
    11. 17. "Without tubes of paint, there would have been no impressionism.” Renoir Cutting Edge Technology +
    12. 18. + Cutting Edge Theory
    13. 19. Cutting Edge Technology + Theory
    14. 20. Cutting Edge Technology + Text
    15. 21. + Cutting Edge Theory
    16. 22. = Surrealism Andre Masson
    17. 23. = Surrealism Un Chien Andalou , Bunuel and Dali
    18. 24. Cutting Edge Technology + Theory
    19. 25. = E.A.T
    20. 27. Cutting Edge Technology + Theory
    21. 28. Next in tech? Augmented Reality Electronic translation Touch technology Virtual worlds Geo-location Open source Controller-less games Tagging metadata to clip level Social Robotics Collaborative “cloud” editing Online/Offline social networks Application Program Interface (API) Film/Video/Animation Micro-projectors Visual Search Quick-Response (QR) Codes 3D (& 3D Printers) Brain-computer Interface (BCI) Laptop Quantum Computers What else?
    22. 29. Next in theory? Climate Change Evolutionary Psychology Bio-Engineering Molecular Biology Genetics - Decoding of genome Nanotechnology Quantum Physics “ Beyond Standard Model” Physics Wave theory Terrorism/Security Network Effects Privacy Creation of artificial life forms Apocalyptic Theories Singularity Inequality/Great Recession Artificial Intelligence What else?
    23. 30. No Fucking Clue
    24. 31. The best way to predict the future is to invent it Alan Kay
    25. 33. Phonograph could be used to record the "Family Record"--a registry of sayings, reminiscences, etc., by members of a family in their own voices, and of the last words of dying persons. Edison, North American Review , 1887.
    26. 35. My Plea
    27. 43. Innovation
    28. 45. The definition of catastrophe is to have missed the opportunity. Walter Benjamin
    29. 46. Invent the Future We Deserve
    30. 47. Blog: Email: [email_address] Twitter: @ Bnewman01