Creative Tech Workshop / by Ellen Fishman


I attended the Creative Tech Week Workshop 2018 in NY because the program featured so many artists who are innovating with new technologies. I'm so glad I went! Here are some highlights:

The first two speakers described how they use data sets to drive artificial intelligence engines. Dr. Ahmed Elgammal (art rendex) uses AI to create new works of art and Michael Ferraro (FIT) described his student's collaboration with IBM and Tommy Hilfiger generating new designs for the Tommy brand using AI.

"Create a shared vocabulary" was the advice for collaborating across disciplines from the  powerhouse panel on interactivity. Also, Courtland Premo made a point to define creative technology as "telling stories" as opposed to solving problems. The next group presented on augmented reality and Stephen Martell gave a great overview of a project he did for Acura creating a AR headset to transform the terrain in a real car race.

We then delved into story and how storytelling in XR is different from the narratives we are used to. First up was the team of UX designers, Lisa Lokshina and Kristine Malden. They emphasized that people need time to adjust when putting on a headset instead of starting right in on the experience. They gave an example of using projection mapping so the environment before putting on the headset is the same as when the headset is on which helps orient the user.. Also they discussed the importance of audio cues in VR.

My favorite presenters were next. First, Stephanie Riggs from Sunchaser Entertainment
whose "Stop Storytelling" slide brought everyone to attention. She made the point that one must think differently when doing XR and the first step is defining what you want your audience to feel (very much like music composition!). She calls it narrative world building or storyscaping. I am definitely getting her book! My other favorite was Richard The from The Green Eyle He showed his progression from the creation of a wonderful sticker wall to the interactive walls he creates for Google.

The main take away for me was the importance of rethinking story in interactive works (see earlier blogs about this!). A lot of the work of these creative technologists were driven by industries who want to be seen as being innovative. I can only imagine the confidence needed to pitch something that has never been done before! A special thank you to Isabel Walcott Draves the founder of this invigorating workshop!