Back in September I went to the states to spend a few sunny days in Portland, OR. I was there to attend XOXO Festival Conference, an experimental festival celebrating independently produced art & technology. The event was four days in total: 2 days for the festival and 2 days for the conference, which was not half a bad idea considering the global mindset of networking, drinking beer, visiting local design and music venues, and building ‘interesting ideas and interactions’ with other attendees towards global conferences of late. Officially, XOXO originated as a Kickstarter-funded event, organized by Andy Baio (Wax Pancake, Waxy.org) & Andy McMillan (Build Conf, The Manual), and as of this post, XOXO is now two years in the running.
Jason, John and I drove in a car together for a 6 hour roadtrip enroute from Vancouver, BC to Portland, OR. I was a little stunned that landscape inbetween was field with pastures of sheep, lolling bovines, working farm horses, scattered hens and an occasional peacock. Seattle’s downtown core and urban sprawl was also a little intimidating, for who knows what sort of Seinfield-esque stories still lurk in the city streets and whirling highways?
The first night of the ‘night before the Festival Conference’ consisted of brief introductions at the Green Dragon pub, hosted by Scott (Laughing Squid) where I tried on a pair of Google Glasses and later initiated a dancing party at the nightclub, Holoscene, nearby. Was extremely grateful that I had a local friend’s sofa-bed to relax upon when I dragged myself home in the early hours of the morning.
After an excellent keynote, several new and old friends and I wandered to Panic’s Open House which featured retro package game design arcade Panic! apps, tiki beverages, katamari damacy plushies & secret bar rooms, Metafilter’s freeplay arcade at Ground Kontrol where Jason and I skipped to Dance Dance Dance Revolution EXTREME, and tackled the other arcade games of Mortal Kombat, Pac Man, and a series of Pinball armageddon, Wieden+Kennedy’s rooftop party of multi-color tents, wine tastes of rose with colorfuly coded snacks , all of which were assiduously archived via iPhone photos that I was constantly uploading during the event!
But the best part of the Social was at the Yu Theatre, exploring the modern indie gaming scene, “with a focus on experimental multiplayer games, and meet the designers who made them”, especially the creator of Diesel Sweeties, Richard Stevens and Eliot Phillips from Engadget! I also loved listening for the first time to Jonathan Coulton and Amanaguichi that same evening at Holoscene. Day 3 and 4 of the conference, soon!
Amber Case posted a really amazing video where you can watch Amanaguichi, vis Google Glass, featured below 🙂
conference, idea experiment, portland, technology, web, xoxoconference, xoxofest