View from the conference in Mori Tower, Roppongi Hills
The British Council's Digital Creative Conference was the first event of its kind to beheld in Tokyo, bringing together artists, curators, producers and policy makers to share work and insights and discuss ways of working. Panel discussions were held in both languages with simultaneous in ear translation - something it took my jet lag addled brain a while to get the hang of. Production values were high, even if the room was a little formal, and everything was ustreamed in both languages, which meant we had some great twitter comments and insight from viewers all around the world.
Speakers came from both the UK and Japan - a full list is here - and the conference was brilliantly kicked off with a keynote from the UK's Bill Thompson:
From the Japanese side I was particularly impressed with Rhizomatiks' (see separate blog post here) approach to developing work and their relationships with brands and commercial campaigns. Other highlights included:
I was talking about Theatre Sandbox and Producing the Future: Understanding Watershed’s Role in Ecosystems of Cultural Innovation, which is a case study of Watershed written by Graham Leicester and Bill Sharpe of International Futures Forum.
Some of the interesting discussions that came up during the event:
The term Media Arts - what does it mean? Is it relevant? Is it useful?
What role should an artist play in engaging an audience? Is this the role of a curator rather than the audience (this kicked off a mini-twitter debate between Duncan and I on my belief that engaging people should be a collaboration between producer/curator AND artist - marketing is an old fashioned idea)
To what extent is it our responsibility to share best practice, process and outcomes - especially when projects are publicly funded?
The question of novelty - i.e. The Festival of Tokyo as a market-making organisation, if its been done already, its not for them
Playing with the affordances of technology in creative ways (YCAM and Duncan)
Where will the money come from? Is taking money from corporates and brands ok?
The diversity of perspective on the panels was really refreshing and I learnt a lot. The one disappointing feature of the programme for me was that the twitter back channel and ustream viewers were not brought in more effectively. The format was very broadcast centric and there was lively debate going online which was not really referred to (although I did try and can't say it worked terribly well). In general more interaction from the floor and online would have been beneficial, but this was the first event so hopefully that will happen next time.
The offical blog of the conference, with loads of interview videos, is here. The archives of all of the sessions are here. You can read Jim's reflections on the Festival here and take a look at the slide set he gave for his presentation on digital trends in arts and culture (in English and Japanese) here.
A short summary of Drew's talk on FutureEverything’s work across art and digital innovation is here. Drew's intro to the conference and some reflections on the themes which emerged is here. And his photos are here.