Creative nutrition is something we often don’t think enough about. When we’re busy, we get by on snacks, and whatever is within reach. So when we really take time to deliberately plan and partake of it, the impact is striking and memorable. Last June, I was lucky enough to have some time to put aside my project deadlines, attend my first EYEO Festival in Minneapolis where for four days, creative nutrition and steeping my brain in wonder, whimsy, and innovation, was the name of the game.
Eyeo Festival is an annual creative technology conference that brings together a community of really nice, interesting people drawn to the intersection of art, data and creative technology. Capped at approximately 600 attendees, this festival feels more diverse and intimate than other conferences I’ve attended. As promised by its organizers, the people were really nice – no rockstar egos or vibes to be seen. I met people from all different sectors – from AI startups, design agencies, management consultants, healthcare, gaming, and even a handful of fellow museum planners.
With a dual track approach to sessions that covered everything from data journalism, physical computing/generative art, storytelling, culture/privacy/ethics, and creative coding – the caliber of speakers was impressive and reflected two things: the festival organizers’ curatorial chops, and the desire and commitment of every speaker to bringing their A-game. Moreover, the general tenor of the presentations was not about showboating, but sharing – an interest in exploring intersections, advancing the possibilities together, or asking real questions.
As a museum planner and technologist, the narrative applications of things like AI-enabled chatbots, generative data visualizations, and machine learning were super exciting – seeing how journalists, coders, and artists were playing, hacking, and discovering things about these technologies, was inspiring.
Across the wide range of artistic and professional realms that were represented, there was a clear and common thread of needing to be attuned to the human desire for story, beauty, delight. That is, although technology and art are always in flux, with innovations constantly upending and opening up our industries, human-centred design must be an important priority and constant.
Months later, I still feel sustained by those four days of creative nutrition and insights gleaned from the almost 20 speakers – presentations, panels, lightning talks, keynotes, lunch and learns – that I heard at Eyeo.
Luckily, each of these talks were recorded and are now available on the EYEO Vimeo channel, which I encourage anyone who needs some creative nutrition, to check out!
– Hanna Cho, Producer
* pictured with Haig Armen from Emily Carr University – a nice surprise to find Vancouver friends in the crowd!