On Feb 12, 2008, at 4:59 PM, Brooke Knight wrote:
I just wanted to bring you up to date with the Floating Points 5: Mixed Realities symposium that happened this past weekend.
In short, it was absolutely terrific.
Having the art located right in the Huret and Spector gallery was a huge benefit to the symposium; both events worked very well in concert with one another, and working with Bob Fleming could not have been more productive or more pleasant. Being able to leverage the budgets of both events created a real synergy, and for the first time, I really feel as though we did things “right”, instead of piecemeal.
The artists and invited panelists were all very engaging, and the backchannel question tool we used through the Digital Lyceum project really added to the conversation. As the work also exists in Second Life, people from around the world could participate. Among the 52 individual people (though their avatars) who listened to the symposium, I could count people from Canada, France, Germany, and Australia. A truly international event.
Some of those who participated in Second Life were also there in Real Life, too, so it’s difficult to get an accurate count of how many different people participated. Having said that, there were 35-40 in the Bordy who were there for the whole day; about 25 were there for the morning session only, and about 15 for the afternoon (plus the 35-40 all-dayers). I would say that about half of the avatars in SL were also in RL (Real Life) as well. If we do the advanced math, that makes the attendance somewhere approaching 100.
What is more important is that these were engaged, active participants. Although if you entered the room and saw all of these people with their laptops open, only occasionally looking up, you might think that they were not paying attention; in fact, they were posting and voting on questions in the backchannel; they were exploring the work in SL; and they were surfing the Web for related topics. I truly feel as though we have seen a template for the conference of the future. In fact, Turbulence.org co-director Helen Thorington and I were talking about how the entire exhibition and symposium may, in fact, become an important historical event. Right here at Emerson.
Of course, Helen and Jo Green from Turbulence (New Radio and Performing Arts) were the ones who conceived of and developed the exhibition, and commissioned the art in it. They were such great partners, as always, in the symposium as well. I treasure Emerson’s relationship with Turbulence.
We should also recognize the contributions of the Media Services dept, who were invaluable, as well as all of IT for the tremendous help with the network and the extensive testing we were able to do, and to facilities who arranged the Bordy and provided power for all of those laptops. We were lucky to have Ryan Sciano on board to help with the technical elements in the gallery as well. Our only technical issue was a slight delay coming from the streaming of the audio for our participants in SL. That’s it. With all of that technology and all that could go wrong, it really was seamless. Wow.