Unique, amazing, cool, interactive, special, thrilling, insightful, the best, fantastic – these are just a few of the epithets applied by the press, artists and visitors alike, to this year’s Plutopia 2011, the 4th annual official SXSWi event under the Plutopia umbrella of signature events.
Of course, this is what we strive for with all of our events and the two later in the week are no exception. So, let’s start with Plutopia 2011, which took place at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Culture Center, (MACC) in Austin on Monday 14th March 2011, it covered nearly 30 performances, installations and techno-cultural manifestations in four areas of the venue, ranging from an hour-long rarely performed experimental musical piece by Text of Light, led by Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo in the main Auditorium (The Experiment); Sphero mobile device operated robotic balls as well as future play installations from MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten in The Playground; audio-visual wizardry from Portugal’s Video Jack (Nuno Correia and André Carrilho) in a second auditorium called the Immersion Chamber; and interactive biomechanical plants from France’s ScenoCosme in The Hanging Garden, all centered on the theme ‘The Future of Play”.
Plutopia 2011 was rich in converging technologies and science with the arts and entertainment. The 1000 plus visitors were invited to experience a diverse array of interactive entertainment, performances, talks and installations which included a wide range of emerging technologies, social and behavioral change, and affective processes. These covered everything from sensory engagement, smart materials and architectures, robotics and augmented reality to interactive, socially and location-aware installations, gaming and stage performances. In addition, there was stellar food and drinks abound and as in previous years, Plutopia ensured through its collaboration with Green Fern Events and Wandering River Recycling, ensure the sustainability angle was optimized.