Kicking off the 2016 SXSW festival, SXSWCreate, the hub for innovation and creativity, invites thousands to showcase and share their passion for all things technology. Integrating music, culture and technology, the Austin Palmer Events Center hosted the most creative and brightest of minds, March 11-13.
San Antonio natives, The Convergent Media Collective (CMC), hosted their first booth at SXSWCreate.
CMC members engineered the booth to have two screens and an Xbox Kinect. One screen showcasing highlight videos of CMC’s portfolio of technological pioneering and another screen mirroring the guest’s movements via Xbox Kinect.
As guests of all ages poured into the events center, each one stopped by the booth to ask questions and see their movements on screen.
While attending, members Andrew Valdez and Carissa Gonzales were interviewed in Microsoft Channel 9 blog showcase video of SXSWCreate.
After being rained out in October of 2015, Luminaria held its second attempt at success. Held at the San Antonio Museum of Art on February 19th, Luminaria showcased a diverse spread of installations and performances ranging from energizing music to cutting-edge technology. Among the great selection of artists was the Convergent Media Collective.
Collective member, Andrew Valdez, fuses Latino culture, technology and art by laser printing cultural symbols onto a non-traditional canvas, a tortilla. “Tortillas and Technology is a project that showcases how Latino culture can be integrated with technology and art” said Andrew. “The simplest ideas are usually the most effective ones and I’m glad we are able to share this with the San Antonio community.”
With their high-tech equipment in tow, including tortillas, the collective set up in the corner of the SAMA courtyard and began to prepare for the night. The collective came equipped with a one-stop print station, where the guest’s picture would be snapped and then, printed on a tortilla. As the crowd began to pour in, people of all ages and backgrounds flocked to the exhibit with curiosity. The collective members were able to educate each and every person, explaining how the laser cutter functioned and the meaning behind the exhibit.
Overall, Tortillas and Technology was a huge success. 170 photos were taken, of which 50 were printed, along with a countless number of people who experienced the creativity and passion the collective shared. For those that missed an opportunity at a personalized tortilla, 10bitWorks offered the guests a chance to stop by their location and snag a custom tortilla at their convenience.
The integration of Latino culture in Tortillas and Technology was a modern way of sharing Latino culture displayed in inanimate objects. It’s stories like these that in turn, inspire others to learn more about other cultures or their own. Tortillas and Technology, was a great way to learn about these cultural symbols and representations of art and technology fusion.
The Convergent Media Collective teamed up with Amber Ortega-Perez of SpareWorks.dance and helped produced her MFA thesis project
From Flesh to Abstraction: an interactive disappearance.
Envisioned by Amber Ortega-Perez as a contemporary dance interactive, responsive, international event where interpretive dance is shared, mediated and expressed across the globe through technological interfaces, From Flesh to Abstraction: an interactive disappearance became a technical marvel in many ways.
Amber Ortega-Perez reached out to the collective after having attended a talk series about projection mapping and new media. We discussed her vision and over a series of months we collaboratively worked together to create a core group of participants to help with the actual implementation of our collective concepts.
Amber and the collective members would meet during and after the spring Convergent Media II class sharing ideas in bi-directional ways throughout the process. It was amazing to see the students get to learn how to rapid prototype ideas out and also for the community members and Amber to get to hear their ideas and see their projects ideation.
We used a Logitech C920 webcam to stream the event live through Youtube’s live streaming capabilities, which also simultaneously records the event as well.
Aurasma, an app originally introduced to the collective by collective member Andrew Valdez to create an augmented reality Lotería art project was employed and implemented by Amber to create further interactive spaces within the experience of From Flesh to Abstraction: an interactive disappearance.
Filmmaker Erik Bosse provided coverage of the event. He and Amber have collaborated in the past. We look forward to the final video and will follow up when it is released.
In addition to Erik’s coverage, Joey Lopez and Luis Valasquez took photos and video as well, which you see in our gallery and highlight vignette below.
The performance itself was held at the Radius center, facilitated by Gylon Jackson.
The layout was in a large open space with light control.
It included two performances, one on March 12th, 2016 from 6-8pm and the other on March 13th, 2016 from 2-4pm. Each performance included an hour long live international interactive experience and then an hour of locally mediated performance.
Amber worked with local dancers to be participatory with streaming dancers located all over the world. This created a feedback loop that allowed for interpretation and exploration of movement and dance.
In addition the audience themselves were encouraged to be interactive and participatory. Amber’s theory was that by encouraging the audience to be interactive and participatory it would enrich and create that much more interpretation and feedback as the event progressed. This proved to be true and at the March 12th performance there were many children and parents who entered in and activated the space in regard audience participation. What then happened was the dancers both on screen and in the physical space began to interact with and playfully shadow and evolve many of the movements the audience performed.
Overall this collaboration proved to be fruitful for all involved. It allowed the CMC to engage with a super talented dance artist and gain insight into contemporary dance and we were able to reciprocate the process by adding to the experience with our own expertise.
We look forward to continued collaborations like this one and are excited to see where Amber takes her concepts after receiving her MFA.