From SXSW past comes program that melds events
In town for last year's South by Southwest, Justin Bolognino noticed that interactive, film and music events were all separate, featured on different days of the conference and festival. They remain separate this year, which Bolognino said he thinks does not accurately portray what has happened with the rise of social media.
So he decided to do something about it, creating a program called #FEED at the Jones Center that will span the interactive, film and music segments, which began Friday and will run through Saturday . The program, he said, combines these segments using social media to make the argument that the lines between them have blurred.
"I wanted to make something that catered to all three simultaneously and smash them together in real time using social media," Bolognino said. "I wanted it to be a self-eating media monster. It's in the name, FEED, pulling in and pushing out feeds across all different types of media."
On the plane ride back from SXSW last year, Bolognino - founder and creative director of New York City-based experiential marketing firm Learned Evolution - pitched his idea to Twitter, and the social media giant agreed to partner in the creation and execution of #FEED.
Showcasing installations at #FEED are companies such as Mozilla Firefox, Instagram and Austin-based Mass Relevance. Each installation was created by an artist, such as YesYesNo, an interactive collective, and Austin-based Beak Labs, a studio of artists and technologists.
Bolognino said that #FEED, which is open to the public, is exactly as he envisioned it a year ago.
Walk into the lobby at the Jones Center, and right away you will bump into the centerpiece of the program: the #FEEDmixer, an interactive exhibit in which anyone can mix real-time audio and visual clips and Twitter data about SXSW as it goes on; it's curated by social media aggregator Mass Relevance.
What's produced from the mixer, Mass Relevance Director of Marketing Amy Quist said, is the visual of flocks of birds moving to the music to display different types of SXSW data, viewable on six screens inside the lobby and on one outside.
Other exhibits include one from Rdio. Using facial recognition technology, this installment captures participants' facial movements and turns them into corresponding audio clips.
Supplementing the 10 installations, Bolognino said, is the Samsung Galaxy Note, bigger than a smartphone but smaller than a tablet. Relying on radio waves rather than wireless Internet, the Galaxy Notes will be available for anyone to borrow and use as an interactive guide around the two-story program.
According to Bolognino, #FEED is intended to be more than just an opportunity for logo placement.
"A lot of competitors are sharing the stage here, and it was important for me from the outset to have all of their voices heard and have them all do cool new things together," Bolognino said.