It’s a hot day here in Austin! The city is crazy with all the shows, expos, and film screenings happening. It’s incredible to see so much going on at once and so many different people gathered for their shared interests. We’re lucky enough to be staying one street away from 6th St, which is where almost all of the SXSW official showcase venues are located. It’s basically one huge avenue that has tons of bars, restaurants, and concert venues. Clearly Austin is a music city because there are tons of official street signs that say “No parking, musician loading 7 pm – 3 am” all down the avenue, which I find awesome.
It’s the very first day of the music portion of the festival, so not much is going on in that department except for a few showcases tonight and the talks held in the Austin Convention Center. I attended two talks today, “Building the Galleries of the Future” and “Rotten Tomatoes: Your Opinion Sucks” . The first one was super interesting because it talked about how we have the technology to essentially map out a cultural landmark (like Mt. Rushmore or Mayan Ruins) by using 3D lasers to plot points on an XYZ graph, then project those data points into an exhibition space so people can interact with the site as if they were there. It was a panel of 3 people who are involved in this work, a representative from CyArk (the non-profit organization that goes and gets the data with lasers, drones, cameras, etc), a representative from Seagate (a data storage company that holds the large files CyArk and other companies have), and a representative from Ars Electronica (an Austrian ‘museum’ that exhibits digital and electronic arts). They talked about how critical it is to save this information, especially for places like Palmyra that are being destroyed because of the political landscape, and add the human aspect to it. These new technologies will allow us to not only understand the sites themselves, but the human stories and history behind them. The second talk was a very interactive one. People would say a movie or tv show that they thought was “fresh” or “rotten”, defend their opinion, then professional critics would give their opinion. There were 3 critics, Alonso Duralde, Meredith Borders, and Scott Mantz.
The most argued about movies were Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. This talk was more entertaining than informative, but it was interesting to see people dissect movies from a consumer/viewer point of view versus a critic’s view. The audience was more interested in the general feeling the movie/show gave them and how entertaining it was, but the critics focused more on the artistic parts of the movie like the score, the direction, the costumes/accuracy.
Tonight I will be heading to an official SXSW showcase that focuses on artists from Austin. It’s going to be a huge mix of styles, but I love the idea of showcasing Austin artists on the first night of SXSW. Tomorrow I’ll be hitting up the unofficial party at The Yard to see some acts that I’ve been following and blogging about on WTGR, like Hunny, Fickle Friends, and Flor. I’m excited to see the city tonight and explore some more tomorrow!