EYEO2012 Recap

Yuan Wang

It has been almost 2 months after EYEO2012 festival. My mind is still fascinated by the brilliant speakers and talented attendees that I met on this conference. Definitely a mind-blowing experience. As EYEO organizers start to post recordings online(thanks! you were a wonderful host), I got sometime to revisit those great talks and share my favorite ones with you.

1. Paola Antonelli, Designer on Top

On the opening keynote of EYEO, Paola Antonelli, senior curator at MoMA, presented her slogan “Designer on Top”. She showed a number of great examples, mostly from exhibit “Talk to Me”,  to demonstrate how contemporary design has evolved along with time.

Generally in Paola’s opinions, today’s contemporary design is more critical than affirmative. It’s conceptual and visionary. It often asks questions to make us think instead of providing solutions. It’s targeting citizens rather than consumers. It’s more often used as a political tool, in the service of society rather than industry. As I’ve always been working on consumer-focus product design, Paola’s insightful viewpoints and magnificent contemporary design works totally provided me with another perspective to think about the world of design.

2. Robert Hodgin – Cornell Box Project and More

Robert Hodgin presented his 12 simulation projects created based on the concept of a Cornell Box.

“A simple grey box with a full ceiling light panel. In this room, I can control the lighting, gravity, and playback speed of time (allowing me to speed up the simulations or even make time freeze). The camera in the room can be moved around to offer different views of the content which would come later. My goal was to make the room as fully featured as I required without it getting to overloaded with excess code. From there, I would begin building out some content all based on the themes of particle physics, cosmology and collective behavior.”

Even though I have not seen Robert’s simulation works before, what he created in this box totally blew my mind. The way he presented the projects, starting from scratch to complex, was very brilliant. Highly recommend to check out this talk, also a project he worked on: Planetary, a beautiful music visualization iPad app.

3. Amanda Cox – “The future has an ancient heart”

Amanda Cox from New York Times graphics department shared some great visualizations on New York Times newspaper from the old days, and talked about the thinking behind the works, and how those graphics in history are connected with visualization works in print and web format now.

One great point she made about creating meaningful graphics. She mentioned her all time favorite graphics are usually pieces that throw things away, e.g. taking away the actual map. “Telling something more by taking things away”, that’s a pattern that across works of New York Times in throughout time. I believe this is definitely a universal guideline that could apply to any aspect of design and storytelling.

4. Nicholas Felton – “A man with few words”

I was very inspired by Nicholas Felton’s talk, which he presented the process and challenges he went through, in order to create 2010 annual report in memory of his father. This year, being able to watch him talk about the process of the latest 2011 biennial report in person was very exciting. Nicholas shared an amazing journey of making this great piece of artwork.

The part that impressed me most as always was the manual process, handcrafted work, and the amount of time he devoted to create the report. As a designer, I truly appreciate his complete honesty on sharing his challenges and different design iterations. The faith and focus he kept was very respectful. Recommend you check out this inspiring talk.

Hope you will enjoy the talks as much as I did. There are a lot more great talks on Eyeo 2012 vimeo. “Converge to inspire”. I have to say this has been an amazing experience, hanging out with a group of incredibly talented and creative people who are passionate and focused on what they are doing. Next year 2013, hope to see you on EYEO!