REMIX London 2017: A Review
REMIXLDN# – Where Culture, Technology and Enterprise Came Together…
Mike Cook, Chairman
With the theme “Culture, Technology, Enterprise” this conference in London’s trendy Shoreditch, promised to be a heady mix of talks from inspirational speakers – then we’d move site to Google’s impressive HQ in St Giles for even more eye-opening presentations.
A mind-blowing assault on the mental senses was inevitable. Subjects covered ranged from high-culture reaching out to the masses (with the opening up the Royal Opera House), the pursuit of naturally-active fabrics, ways to reach the souls of Millennials and how to create a UK mega-brand through Olympian success.
In Shoreditch we were treated to some high speed networking in the (almost) dark, four minutes only and no touching! Archaeologists, publishers, agents, curators, project leaders and not a lot of engineers mingled together – you can imagine the types of fascinating conversations between such a diverse group of people!
Then the lights went out completely and we were subjected to a cloud of banana flavoured mist (well this was Shoreditch after all) – the coming together of liquid nitrogen and boiling water (plus a lot of bananas presumably) following this unexpected assault on the senses we were then treated to a spoonful of vodka that had been struck by lightning – I bet that’s not available at Majestic Wines!
At Google HQ it all felt a bit more serious – we had proper seats in a well lit room glowing from the sparkling winter sun, with an attractive terrace view. I was quite surprised to see a rather good van Gogh leaning against the back wall with unusual nonchalance. I put it down to a sign of Google’s rather canny investments but later found out it was the product of digital technology. They are making a business from impeccable three dimensional sculptures in paint – touchable masterpieces. Of course I gave it a few respectful strokes. Imagine a gallery were we are all invited to touch the priceless art – engaging another of our five senses to appreciate the works in a different way.
The speakers continued in their infinite variety; The reality of moving the Design Museum to its new home within a delicate design icon in West London, and the creation of flexible spaces within creative communities of entrepreneurs – cross-fertilisation that’s at the core of any truly successful city. And we were urged to “become less architect and more stage director”, though there were sadly not many architects around to hear this.
A theme was emerging around the power that digital technologies are presenting to the world of theatre, performance, display and physical art. Everyone is coming to terms with the growing opportunities this opens up. It means opportunities for the technical creative, the entrepreneur, the chief executive but also the right digital tools can open up the potential for really powerful collaborations between us all.
As I walked away, with a head buzzing from the day’s topics, I could see the strengths and opportunities presented by a vibrant city like London stretched before me. Indeed, at REMIXLDN, people from around the world had converged here because London is recognised as a melting pot of people with ideas, people who want to create, and people who want to make business happen.
I became even more excited about one of our own enterprises – engineering spaces for “emotional fulfilment”. This is a new challenge where engineer and art collide. We can gather data from social media, facial recognition software, remote monitoring of temperature skin temperature (and we can always resort to asking questions too). With layers upon layers of data covering multiple venues in multiple cities we can start to work out what really works in a space – correlating the emotional outcomes with what is happening to people in the space at any time. With this we can model a new space and predict how well it would achieve the emotional engagement so eagerly sought. A tantalising prospect for, as we were told, happy customers dwell for longer and a longer dwell means a bigger spend or, when applied to sports and entertainment venues, we can help create a better overall experience for fans and visitors alike. So what starts as art becomes commerce in the end. ‘Culture, Technology and Enterprise’: the trinity that drives us forward.