Flash on the Beach and “The Jonathan Harris Affair”

6. October 2008 2 Kommentare

Wow, what a week. As it was my first Flash on the Beach and as well my first (Flash) conference at all I have to say that I’m really amazed of all the fun, inspiration, learning and beer drinking that has been going on in wonderful Brighton. It’s hard to say what I was expecting, but anyway what I got was way more.

As a lot of other people have been doing summaries it’s quite useless to do it again. But what I would like to do is collect all my ideas and inspirations I got from that conference. And yes of course I’l add my 2 cents on the ongoing discussion about Jonathan Harris talk.

So right at the beginning I was totally amazed by Dr. Woohoo. As you can see from my last blog post (wow, long time ago…) I already stumbled across Extend Script so it was nice to see that somebody actually got hold of all the potential in this technology. Now I’m even more interested in doing some research in that area as well as having a look at Switchboard. I’m also really looking forward to the release of PatchPanel.

Even though I didn’t know Chris Orwig and I almost attended another talk I’m really happy that I went there. Due to a severe lack of time I’ve been neglecting my interest in photography recently. But this talk really gave me the power to spend some more time on it again. On the day after the conference I spent half of my day walking along the beach and playing with my camera. See some results on flickr. Oh and then of course then there are still those 3 projects Chris has proposed: Tips from Flash on the Beach ’08 (Edit:The link doesn’t work anymore)

Next speaker was Erik Natzke who was one of the people I’ve been looking forward to the most. His work is just amazing and as it’s quite closely connected to my thesis the talk was very very interesting to me. Oh and what I’ve been hoping for for ages: http://natzke.com/source/ So check back soon what comes out of my exploration of his sourcecode.

So, Tuesday. I’m still amazed that I managed to get up early enough… Jeremy Thorp. Another very inspirational talk and I really have to dig deeper into this whole “Agent Oriented Programming” as he was calling it.

Geoff Lillemon and Anita Fontaine (Champagne Valentine) hit me really hard at that time of the day. At the beginning I was really close to an “artist-weirdos” judgment. But during the talk they turned out to be quite interesting. I mean of course their way of live and everything totally stands in contrast to the way I am so I would have a hard time seeing them as an inspiration in a more personal way. But still I got a lot out of their talk. And I finally found out who came up with that awesome idea for the Modernista! website. Apparently I got something wrong there. That’s what happens when you let german speaking people listen to english talks in the morning after a night of partying. I just wanted to make clear that it was Tim Blount who created the Modernista! website. Sorry for the misunderstanding Tim!

The Jonathan Harris Affair

Okay, finally I have no other choice. A whole lot of talk has been going on and is still going on on this topic. You may wanna checkout some links yourself:

The slides on flickr | Andy Polaine (includes recorded session)  | Keith Peters response | Peter Elsts response | Natzkes response | Jens Franke(german)

And of course the response from Jonathan himself.

Okay first of all I think much has been said and I have little to add. I can understand why there is such a rumor arising when someone says things like he did. First of all I really believe it’s important to see the difference between what he was saying and how he was saying it. Because yes, a lot of the things he was saying are true. There is a lot of crap out there but also a lot of amazing things. I am aware of the fact that a lot of people including me need to care more about the content than the technology. And it’s also true that as Flash is becoming more powerful a lot of people just recreate stuff that is quite old and just a port from some other programming language.

So, yes he was right. But I also think that what he said is not totally right in every context. He sure sees it all from a more artistic side and is as well quite focused on storytelling and emotional impact. The problem to me is that he was looking at it all from a more personal point of view of him being a romantic (He called himself that during the talk). Let me just make clear what I mean:

Gasping, Crying and love letters. Yes. Good point. But is it always about emotion? There isn’t necessarily an absolute need for emotion in every workpiece. Sometimes it’s just the (technical) challenge of creating it. Sometimes it’s also about a tool which can be used to then created something meaningful. Or just a tool that makes some specific task easier to accomplish. All this talk about masterpieces is too bloated for me. Not everybody needs or even wants to be the next superstar. And this idea of the shift of paradigms normally doesn’t happen as a sharp cut or jump. It mostly is a slow transformation, even if the result might look like a sudden change afterwards.

Oh and 25 years later…so many things that weren’t meant to be emotionally loaded mean so much to people today. Even though I can’t say that from personal experience, but what about all those people still so in love with their C64? It’s a piece of technology, totally not emotional and technology wise a piece of shit in nowadays terms.

So all in all I have to say you should keep those questions in mind as they sure are true in some way and can be quite useful for everyone working in the Flash / New Media business. But you should still be aware of what you’re actually working on. It’s not always about emotion. And it’s not always about art. As well as sometimes aesthetics are all you want or need, totally apart from storytelling. Sometimes it is about experiments. And sometimes about technology. So keep those questions in mind, but always reflect whether they apply to what your currently about to do.

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2 Kommentare zu “Flash on the Beach and “The Jonathan Harris Affair”

  1. Pingback: Tools, Groping and Jonathon Harris | zenbullets.com

  2. Pingback: nisshi.yugop » Blog Archive » Repetition

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