A Night with Antirom

My last night (meaning beers) in Linz was quite surprising. After a good meal, and finally a goulash (something I was long desiring for), Christian Giorgiano, Chris O'Shea and me headed to a last round at O.K Centre.

As all other situations here at Ars Electronica, once you arrive at a "social pole" like O.K Centre, we started to run into people that at least one of us knew. Suddenly, we are seating in a table with an amazing crew, former members of the group Antirom: Andy Cameron, now head of the interaction department at Fabrica, Andy Allenson, now with his studio Pickled Onion, and Joel Baumann, later one of the founders of Tomato Interactive, now teaching at Kassel University, Germany. Summing up, a big, big table.

During our chat, a interesting debate arose over education of interactive media. Cameron insisted that learning interaction has to do with practise, "putting hands on the wood", and that dreaming about untangible futures is a little bit dangerous, while Allenson understood also that critical thinking is key as well, and although we might not have certain technology, we should push ourselves to think about new systems. As far as institutions go, there was some quetioning about why RCA is changing its course name from interaction design to design interactions. During brainstorm about where to study interation, Ravensbourne's name came up without they nowing I was studying there (yeah! after that I told them), but Cameron pointed Parson and ITP as his favourites.

Joel Baumann talked about how festivals are surreal, and that people shouldn't focus their energy on those. Baumann, who was part of the jury or several festivals, including Cannes, said that there is too much politics involved, and the outcome is not necessarily a reflection of what's good out there. So, he says, do a good project and people will call you, not the other way around.

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