SXSW Interactive 2013 in pictures (and a few words)

More than 30,000 people attended SXSW Interactive this year, so I’m sure it was one of the most documented human experiences to date. All of the themes have been codified by the digerati: “the year of hardware,” “democratization of outerspace,” “the next industrial revolution,” so I won’t add to the litany. Instead, here are some photos and some quotes from four exhilarating days:

sea of interactive

A sea of Interactivites at the opening keynote. Digitas reported that 50% were first-time attendees — my first time was 1995, which in just a few years will be the birthdate of the average attendee!

gnome copier

This crowd had come to see Bre Pettis of MakerBot unveil the Digitizer, a gizmo to capture 3D objects so they can be replicated. As he pointed to the garden gnome, he crowed “If its smaller than this, I can replicate it — a new way to think.” Just as the miraculous technology of the internet has achieved its apex broadcasting cat videos, this Star-Trek-like replication device proves its worth by copying a garden gnome???

music at this party

frog has made a tradition of hosting the interactive opening party. I found this old-school sample of interactivity (chalkboard+stickers) designed by my friend and former colleague Jon Freach the most social and collaborative bit of fun this year.

frog book

Another frog party artifact: projected manuscripts on an oversized book of blank pages. Some found it rich in irony, others cited it as a charming low-techy ode to our ceaseless love of books…


and for an anonymous friend of mine, it was just too much.


A new app — do you have more in common with people who LIKE the things you LIKE or HATE the things you HATE?

paper only

An oasis at the games expo — quietly sponsored by a paper company, this little living room was full of used books, drawing pads, colored pencils and thrift-store furniture.


My conversation with Jake Barton of Local Projects (We Want Turtles!) was featured on Mashable’s “29 Panels You Can’t Miss.” Look at how diverse this list of panels is — just one room on one day of the conference.


Windows 8 DJ dashboard at Windows happy hour.

I’ll close this post with the closing session — Bruce Sterling’s sermon on SXSW 2013. I’m a big fan of his rambling, gonzo take on technology and our future. The notes I took are on the right (he speaks too fast to capture) and they almost read like poetry. Watch for yourself here.

Austin’s like West Berlin: under seige from the political right
If Austin stops being weird it will be Dallas in 30 days
Waco, the defeated Austin. It was the Athens of the southwest.
SXSW this year “this one was okay…”
You look pretty good, more foreigners here, I heard a hackney accent in the halls
What was missing? The computers stone boxes, computers are dying off
I really think I will outlive the personal computer, I outlived the fax
Did you see any sessions on blogs? no
Gothic high tech
the sickness industry, government contractors, the bank gangsters: the only industries left standing
Death of the novel and the novelist
Google glass is not a platform for creative expression
I’m not writing fiction which is my profession
Ode to Sergei Brin, cut him some slack
You don’t get tech’s tragic dimension of disruption
The world has a tragic dimension, people don’t always get better
You are in metabolic decline
We’re not surrounded by bitterness in 2013
Although you have lost weight…
A billion apps have been sold — where’s the betterness?
Joey Ito, new head of MIT media lab — 9 principles
We need good compasses, not maps
All of those principles intensify the churn
Lolacatting? lolcats?
Clumsy practices and trashy aethetics
How can we get past the wow factor?
Accept that our hands are not clean, we kill, we disrupt
Know that we are slaughtering the hog of the twentieth century

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