Sunday 12 October 2014


Estimated Time of Procrastination (E.T.P.): 5' (without hyperlinking).

Our Weekly Procrastination this past week was absolutely meaningful as, thanks to our fellow procrastinator Marie, we went to the 8th Power to the Pixel: The Cross Media Forum. Power to the Pixel, as defined by themselves, is a company helping international filmmakers and the film industry make the transition to a cross-media digital age, and for what I witnessed in the forum, they are good at it!

The two days of the event that were open to the public, the Conference on the 7th and the Pixel Market on the 8th, were held at the BFI in the Southbank starting as early as 9am and until 5pm when the drinking/networking session started. The first day, the lovely view of a crispy sunny London was the preamble of a really inspiring day where lecturers like John S. Johnson, co-founder of Buzzfeed and the Harmony Institute for Advance Media Research, shared his vision of "a dystopian view on media measurement."

Photo. John S. Johnson, Descartes and Mary Shelley @ Power To The Pixel.

Johnson, encouraged us as media professionals to overcome the Enlightenment vs Romantic duality and to mix the strengths of the data-freaks with the emotion and the intuition of the artists, as real empathy can only be built when quantitative data meets great storytelling. "Embrace data and optimization" he said- "the train is leaving the station and you need to be on it, for all our sakes."

Photo. Lance Weiler @ Power To The Pixel.

Lance Weiler, co-founder of Connected Sparks and Reboot Stories, had me at "Story Driven Innovation", a notion/vision/practice very powerful and a very necessary in a world where as he said "those formerly know as 'the audience' are storytellers too." That was probably the reason why he started his intervention with a listening exercise (the 5x why?), something that we really are not very used to do anymore. Lance also mentioned some of the projects he is developing alongside the Digital Storytelling Lab at Columbia University like Sherlock Holmes and the Internet of Things. Again, the need of working at the intersection of arts, humanities and technology to create meaningful stories or objects or experiences in the 21st century became evident.

Photo: Alexa Clay @ Power to the Pixel 2014.

Alexa Clay, co-author of The Misfit Economy, blew my mind, not only because of her vision of misfits as innovators, a bridging species between the old and the new economy, that fight against institutional inertia, but for her capacity of having apparently endless cool side projects. Going beyond of the moral issues that divide the world into good and evil, in The Misfit Economy she documented the practices that were used by hackers, copycats or pirates to innovate. If we can see drug-smugglers as rapid prototypers, con-artists as outstanding storytellers and pitchers, and anonymous as a modern hierarchy with a decentralized leadership, we will be able to learn from the fringe and to find innovation in the fringe, and that my friends, that is really innovative.

Five practices comprise the main misfits' skill-set: copy, hack, hustle, provoke and pivot. These five calls to action made me remember Kenneth Goldsmith championing re-contextualization, copy-pasting, ready-made-ing, plagiarism and the even more delightful self-plagiarism in his book Uncreative Writing, a particular invitation to reflect on the act of writing in and for the digital era.

You can have a look at the trailer for the upcoming The Misfit Economy film here, and another look at Alexa's side projects: Wisdom Hackers, the League of Intrapreneurs, and her analogue nomad alter-ego Amish Futurist.

There were more great speakers like The Project Factory's Jennifer Wilson (best 'feedbacker' ever), Immersive Journalist Nonny de la Peña, and Rovio's Mikko Polla. Also very interesting cross-media projects like Fort McMoney, Netwars and the Seven Digital Sins, but I'll tell you all about those in the next edition. Stay tunned! (:

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