Impressions from FITC Amsterdam 2014

This week I had a pleasure of attending Future, Innovation, Technology and Creativity (FITC) 2014 Conference in Amsterdam. I wanted to update myself on what the creative industries are doing as I was mostly visiting developer and security oriented events.

In general, quality of talks and presenters greatly exceeded my expectations and I feel myself lucky that I managed to visit the event. While I’ll try to make a few more blog posts from specific presentations, here are a few of general observations.

More about “Generating Utopia” project.

Open Source DIY technologies are not for geeks anymore

It seems that there are certain waves of technologies that are first picked up by open source hackers and the world doesn’t fully understand at the time. Most of the projects included things that are casually talked at CCC events and hackerspaces: 3D printers and 3D scanners using Kinect, Arduino based DIY controllers, low tech prototypes with LED’s and smartphones or just OpenStreetMap with commons Mashup API’s and Processing.

I think what these platforms have in common is that they’re much more easily available to creative people and huge amount of information that’s available online makes it incredibly easy to use. With that experiments often grow into high quality commercial grade works. This gets noticed by commercial clients and suddenly your next project is produced by using the same material and techniques.

Amount of required knowledge and insight is insane ..

Keeping in mind things from the previous paragraph, it seems that today it’s not enough to just know how to do art composition you’re also required to know enough coding to do processing mockups, generative audio with help of OpenFrameworks and final touch in form of Final cut and interactive web applications.

You don’t have to be an expert in all of these things but you actually have to have basic knowledge in order to actually know how to ask for help for all the tools that you’re suddenly using.

.. and it’s expanding

Quite a few presenters were already showing experiments and initial thoughts that were done usingĀ Oculus Rift, massive crowdsourcing apps, new Xbox One Kinect and voice driven interfaces.

Things that would be unavailable to most artists 10 years ago are now accessible in form of easy to use kits for 100 USD or less and it’s even cheaper with development environments.

Opportunities are everywhere

For generation of developers and tinkerers, that grew up with trying to get Linux to work on random unsupported hardware, this presents so many great opportunities. At this point everyone is thinking about open hardware and software, proprietary solutions and services can’t compete with Github development model anymore and because of Kickstarter and global economies of scale – you just have to pay for the production costs.

I think 2014 is really a year of open everything and if you’re working in environment that spreads these kinds of ideas and tools, you don’t have to do much to get people to listen to you. You just have to show up and present and teach a workshop. It’s that easy :)