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F*CK

The reason I was not at the Tom Hingley seminar was because I was at the Warwick Arts Centre watching this documentary shown as part of a Burning Issues series curated by John Gore, the WAC film programmer. Comedian Arthur Smith was the guest speaker – who is always entertaining – but the film was too American-centric and the discussion afterwards veered too-often towards opinionated waffle (where was the informed, cultural studies or linguist expert?). For me, a debate about the c-word would have been more relevant for our culture, at this time, and how its use seems to be creeping back as a result of Amercian TV.

Introduced by Nick, talking about Tom’s ability to talk about the craft of being a musician.

Tom introduced himself by talking about being creative. Asked the audience about what it means to be creative in music industry. The same level of professionalism as being a plumber. Summary: in essence,marketing a non product is no guarantee of success. Hard work and hard work and hard work is the key to achieving something in the creative industries.

Selling your creative endevours

Role of  managers.

Sometimes knowing what your against, is as important as knowing what you’re about. White Stripes as an example.

Overall, Toms’ talk was interesting, particularly for the group of younger musicians gathered to here what he had too say. If there was one thing that I thought throughout his talk, it  was that musicians could learn a lot from other creative performers. For example, street theatre and engaging with audiences in diverse unexpected locations. The similarities between publishing and music with the changing connection with audiences. And finding unusual and creative ways to reach audiences. Stop thinking in terms of the traditional rock and roll templates of how to be a band and come up with something new, even if it isn’t ‘cool’ or  what you’ve read in all those other biographies etc.

headshots.jpg

Social networking, in fact the very idea of ‘networking’ can seem like anathema to many creatives. Often the idea of purposefully going out and making social connections with people for the purpose of promoting your business, can seem like… well, prostitution in a way. This comes either because creatives have chosen a slightly different route to the corporate one, or because of the historical belief that, if we create it, people will just naturally come to see the thing for how wonderful it is, in its own right. Surely?

Well, there aren’t any/many private art patrons out there in the world these days. and If you want to earn money to survive, then you need to connect with people who either can buy your work, fund your work or use you in a paying project. Of course, you may also have a job that pays enouggh and your creative outpourings are for personal reasons, but eventually, you might want some people to be interested.

It’s another reason to think long and hard about using social networks. If you aren’t already in them, then have a plan as to why you might use them and then get stuck in. If you’re weighing the pros and cons, look no further than this article by  Mark McGuinness on the Top Ten Social Networks for Creative People.

MediaCampNottingham

The ICEcubes team will be attending MediaCampNottingham in May to mix it up and connect with other folks thinking about all things social media and digital.

MediaCampNottingham – Saturday 9th May and Sunday 10th May, 2009

NOT a BARCAMP – we plan a little before hand.

What is MediaCampNottingham?

An innovative UnConference exploring the latest digital trends in:

* Web design and development
* Communications, branding, advertising and PR
* Arts, media and culture
* Games and virtual worlds
* Digital media, blogging and social media.

It’s FREE and anyone can get involved.
Themes:

1. Technology: Web Development / Design / Accessibility / SEO / Social Media
2. Media: Business / Communication / PR / Advertising / Marketing
3. Culture: Digital Arts / Media / Culture / Games / Education

HomicideI’ve been reading Second-Shift, Media Aesthetics by John T Caldwell in the book New media : theories and practices of digitextuality. In his essay, Caldwell draws on examples from the early part of the 21st Century, where several American networks were experimenting with what has come to be called convergence. The cross-media spread of a narrative that takes place within a program or film is probably the most simplified explanation of it. The term second-shift aesthetics is coined by Caldwell in reference to the program Homicide, aired on HBO (I think?) where the program focussed on the characters who worked one of the homicide shifts, and the Internet presence was all about the second-shift characters, who followed up many of the leads and clues uncovered by the first shift. So the web stuff would include short episodes, as well as content such as the video clips that the first-shift team had been looking through for clues in the case, as well as additional material.This type of cross-media hybrid has become ever more popular with certain programs (America seems to do it best, for some reason and I’m not convinced it’s about budget either). Lost did it and Mad Men does it with characters even having Twitter accounts now. So, it’s a natural flow and a way for production companies to reach their audiences through the many different channels that viewers are now multi-tasking through in the course of an evening (or day, at work!). Rather than desperately panicking about where to find advertising revenue for TV, companies can now sell a bundled package of revenue streams (not sure if that is the right phrase for what I’m think of?) to advertisers. It’s the long tail in action, basically.

So, does this have any relevance for the live performance arts, visual artists or other non-moving image artists? Possibly, is the ambivalent answer! For a start, the advertising revenues might not be something that people are interested in pursuing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth considering in some context. The other point is that of capturing the ongoing interest of audiences who may have that niggled to find out more about a show after having seen it, or even before seeing it, if they don’t mind spoilers. A street performance that has an experimental approach may become clearer when postcards handed out at the performance, lead people to blogs and video interviews. Rehearsals of RSC plays might help students deconstruct the text of a play they are studying, after having seen the live show.

But these are all extras. In some ways the model for them already exists in the DVD market with additional material, outtakes, interviews etcetera. Also, I noticed that the J.G. Ballard book I recently read, Cocaine Nights, came with links to websites and interviews and an extra short story, as part of a P.S. strategy, so publishers are gradually doing it (but that leads to discussions of The Kindle and e books, a whole other post). So it’s not original, but worth keeping in mind. The other option is for performers to consider how there own work might exist across different platforms. Like the Homicide example above, how would web material extend the narrative arc? Also importantly, is how does this become a natural part of the work and not just a gimmick? Maybe that’s just a matter of how deeply embedded in our lives the digital is, until it becomes transparent.

Flatpack 3 2009

How do you document a moving image festival that happens in the dark with copyrighted material? It’s easy, when it’s an engaged and creative festival like Flatpack 2009 from 7 Inch Cinema.

Assorted bloggers have been helping to fill the gaps in our memory:
> http://www.flatpackfestival.org/blog/flatpack-collective-memory/ and souvenir photos are making their way online:
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/7inchcinema/

Nick Rothwell from cassiel.com gave a talk to the MA Media Arts students today, showing a brief roundup of the projects that he has been involved in, over the past few years. Nick introduced himself as being someone who works across many different art forms, creating compositions and interactive spaces for performance in many traditional locations such as stage, as well as site-specific work (like The Public, for example).

The discussion was wide ranging, from the difficulties of being involved with large projects involving funding from various sources, to how best to incorporate technology into dance performance. Where many producers want to see their dollars worth up there on the stage, letting the audience see what all the fuss is about, there’s often a balance between finding a mid-point. I personally, offered the suggestion that perhaps any stage-bound technology should be thought of in terms of stage design, and placed/dressed accordingly.

Nick’s creative practise moves beyond the performative/dance and includes work like, the intelligent lamppost that dreams and remembers events from the local pub nearby. Soon to be moved the Irish Museum of  Modern Art. A technically, complex piece of work that required the involvement of the council to install the work (digging and slicing the pavement, all in a day’s work for the council worker, less so for the media artist!).

Nick’s website is worth spending time on, and not just as a documentation of the projects he has been involved in. Digging down a bit you can uncover articles about everything from Max/MSP to the Roland D-50.

What’s valuable in Nick’s work, apart from the pleasure of the works themselves, is his obvious commitment to the documentation process. Always a good way of taking care of ‘housekeeping’ for an artists own practise, it’s also a good way to share things in the community more.