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Explore the Future of the Web

The Future of Interactive Culture

John Carlin

The history of Western Culture makes it clear that new technology always leads to new forms of content. The Guttenberg printing press helped usher in the novel. Tin tubes of paint and the railroad system made Impressionism possible. Thomas Edison enabled recorded motional pictures and music to become dominant forms of creative expression in 20th century even though he was mostly deaf and uninterested in telling stories.

We are now almost a quarter century into digital age, but we are still listening to music and watching videos in the same way people did in the age of mechanical reproduction. We use laptops and mobile devices more like tape decks to passively play media than as platforms to enable new kinds of cultural expression and experience. Now is the moment to perceive and provoke interactive, intrinsically digital, culture to emerge and take center stage for creative people and popular culture.

This presentation gives an overview of where we have been and where we are likely going to go, including:

  • Historical precedents in 20th century media
  • Precursors of digital media in collage-based art and DJ culture
  • Early examples of interactive media—games, social network, apps, etc.
  • A full prototype of an interactive music experience produced by Red Hot & Funny Garbage in collaboration with several well known musicians including Dustin O’Halloran, Max Richter, Carl Craig, The Kronos Quartet and Prefuse73
  • A map of where digital culture will go over the next decade to create work of emotional complexity and meaning that embodies the unique experience of living in contemporary society.

This talk is meant to inspire creative people, technologists, interface designers, business people and artists—everyone who wants to see digital media grow up and become more than just a utility or an enabler of commerce and community.

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WebVisions Barcelona explores the future of the web with a lineup of badass visionaries. July 2-4 at IED Design School.

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