Reflections upon my presentation to SXSW on “Signs & Evolution of Ambient.”

March 12, 2013

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“And another thing…”

Finished my 15 minutes of SXSW fame, delivering a “quickie” presentation called Signs and the Evolution of Ambient. Bit nerve wracking this one, on account of the round robin approach with presenters: one up one down and another in the wings. It kind of worked though, especially given attention spans of wired to the gills audience.

Among other things, my discussion dealt with human being’s seemingly innate compulsion to imbue meaning into just about anything. Creating and/or perceiving signs are an inevitable part of the human experience, transcending mediums and technology. Graffiti, tattoos, constellations, billboards… all signs. As such they attempt to compel belief and behavior. Modern advertising is merely an extension of this age-old process.

6. Cave drawings

8. Tattoo

18. Apple
“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign!”

Given I was at the epicenter of Interactivity I relished pointing out that low-tech does not necessarily mean less powerful. On the contrary. For advertisers, signs can be more humanly relevant than any other media.

Technology is grand but I think many marketers (and by default most everyone at this festival) try too hard proving how contemporary they/we are, by desperately and perhaps naively competing with screens.

I gave the following example on the ill effects of tech worship. In the 70’s, digital watches were the rage. So cool, we all had to have one! And then we didn’t. A traditional watch face is timeless. Ironically, digital watches have become nostalgic. I know it’s a flawed comparison but it makes good oratory.

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After presentation w/ colleagues from gyro…

I’ll be modifying this presentation (obviously) for a presentation at ad:tech San Francisco in April. Maybe I’ll see you there?

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3 Responses to “Reflections upon my presentation to SXSW on “Signs & Evolution of Ambient.””

  1. caught the end of this presentation and was intrigued…I think we are hard-wired for signage…great job!

  2. [...] of the first who made a great impression on me was Steffan Postaer with his talk named “Sign of the Times: The Evolution of Ambient”. For a quick 15 minutes, he [...]

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