Written by John Patterson
President at Hollywood Farms, Owner at Influence Ecology, Founder & President at Chicago Convergence
Seeking "Idea Sponsors," is how Mason Dixon, co-director of the Motion Graphics Festival differentiated the 2010 event. In it's fifth year, MGFest is known nationally as the "premier creative conference for motion design, visual effects, sound design and interface technology."
Chicagoans Mason Dixon and MGFest Directors Julee Wood and Troy Milstead (thru their Audio/Video event engineering company Psymbolic) have been a major source of creativity, not only here, but have produced the festival in Austin, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Orlando, Washington DC and this year, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
What is so unique about the festival is that, although it's focus is motion design, the experience is about discovery, interactivity, education and creativity. "Creativity happens, not in the convention centers and hotel ballrooms, but in the little nooks and dark spaces," says Mason. This art is "not about presenting something, the way television talks to you, but it is very interactive, more of a dialog; a way that people can engage motion design... and the way motion design engages people."
With official plans to be unveiled this month (unique sessions, labs, imagination college, receptions, community pavilion, networking and press opportunities, entertainment & art parties, art directors features, meet-the-team discussions and unconference discussions), MGFest, which used an invented currency (designed by Shepard Fairey the OBEY Giant) for their 2009 circuit, are always experimenting; not just with content - but with the event's very structural nature.
For example, 2010 will see "Artists as Curators," says Dixon, "Chicago has many internationally renown artists... not always known or celebrated here; hidden talents that will provide their unique vision," Dixon claims. The intent is that Artists as Curators will allow the entire experience to unfold organically by all those that participate; in essence every participant becomes an artistic collaborateur. A shorter event than in previous years, MGFest Chicago 2010 is five days packed with potency and promises "an unprecedented degree of event integration."
As with anything cutting edge, "most larger brands don't understand how to plug into the festival because it doesn't fit the traditional model," says Milstead. "We definitely have a menu of ways for large sponsors to benefit from the event, but we also seek their own ingenuity." With participation online and through live events, MGFest connects artists, participants, curators and sponsors not just locally, but across screening events in over 30 cities nationwide; most large-scale metropolitan areas are included providing an artistic experience that falls somewhere between Burning Man, Lollapalooza and Chat Roulette. The festival audience is immense and provides the rich creative soup that fosters the evolution of artistic expression in a digital age.
Psymbolic, also a multimedia label "represents a select roster of audio, visual and multimedia artists available for bookings and commissions worldwide." Julee, Troy and Mason are not only intellects of artistic merit (their experimentation likened to a digital/graphic Bauhaus), but have woven their business into a ever-expanding artist, client, and brand fusion that tests the limits of motion design and artistic experience.
MGFest 2010 Chicago :: September 15-19
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