WIERD ideas invite mockery, until they’re proven to be good all along or as Google founder Larry Page out it: “Good ideas are crazy until they’re not”.
Cinema is of no use to the masses said the Lumières. Television, a shoe-horned idea designed to bring the cinema into your living room had little hope of succeeding, but not to outsiders like the father of docs John Grierson, Robert Drew, the father of Direct Cinema, told me in conversation.
The Net too struggled. It would afford us our own personal gaze, until mass surveillance was turned in on us,colonised now by the silicon-nimble-to-big online capitalists. Block chain, or otherwise Internet 4 is portended as giving us back control.
The last vestige of untapped media space in our immediate environments truly remains our corporeal selves. Even our minds are about to be hacked from Islam Alaybeyoglu’s excellent presentation at 5G World in London.
Drawing on Michelangelo’s Renaissance man, Bowie’s Star Gazer and the Kimono (things to wear) how might we in the near future affect what we watch?
My #Meflix, I’m calling it looks pretty daft. It’s not even a prototype, but its potential future is unquestionable along the lines of cool media wearables. We sport tatoos, daub our clothing with labels, we are walking exhibits in static functional media.
In an era of accelerated disruption, ‘everything now’ economy, persistent invitation of attention and data scalloping, Meflix, sadly, is a future near you and even more expands beyond the narrative of WIERD — Western, educated, and from industrialized, rich, and democratic countries.
I’ve not yet taken in onto the streets yet, but imagine ‘watching you’ as the next media gaze. Gross? The idea is to avert any face-to-face lock, but be gracious: “ Hey, I really loved your meflix. I’ve tagged it”. Oh dear oh dear, as some future journo waxes on about the iniquitous future of selling yourself. Tagging in a steamit way will also inflate. your cryptocurrency. What? You’re not on Steamit?
Watch as commuters eye up each other. Some may even fall in love with their gazed upon, by dint of watching you and your own sorry version of netflix’s Saul — loser! Then there are those who’ll show surveillance videos a simulacrum of German photographer Thomas Ruff’s surveillance photos currently showing at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).
Personalised films, encompassing Laura Rascaroli’s scholarship on essays are already the staple for a generation with no memories of a time when Phil Donahue’s show of self confession was an appalling aberration, many hoped would not catch on. Yet in the future you’ll synch your mefix with your social media account. For once you truly do control what you want to say and let others watch. Hitchcock’s Rear View Window becomes an entirely new movie.
And therein lies the point as we march inexorably, dissonantly, towards self rights, ownership of data and commercialism. The idea of watching a thirty second spot in a urinal was a daft idea too until I saw it, but meflix is born out of nuanced scenario.
I had emerged from a meeting around innovation, tying different disciplines together. I’m a Maths and Chemistry graduate, but since 1990 I’ve been a journalist/producer for the BBC and Channel 1, and 4, creative director for an ad agency headed up by a former head of TV at Saatchi and Saatchi, a dotcomer, designer/ artist in residence at the Southbank Centre, and an academic plumb lining into cinema journalism. But invariably those I collide with aren’t certain what I do. In the age of digital competencies, we are all potential renaissance people undertaking multiple tasks.
The images that I’m wearing generally happened over a week — my after life outside academia — or were resuscitated from ideas; brain fuel, that keeps me writing and thinking. They are:
- A reworked version of BBC’s Dragon’s Den in which I turned one of our modules at University around entrepreneurialism for Journalist/digital interactive storytellers into a show. We’re doing it again.
- The Guild of Entrepreneurs, one of the foremost liveries in London, and its Master Lee Robertson, invited me over a weekend to Shrivenham, the UK’s Defence Academy to, amongst others, see some of the techniques and approaches used to guide military leaders.
- At the House of Commons, 100 BAME Leaders in Business where putting their case to FTSE companies around their successes and challenges with Commons speaker John Bercow MP providing the opening.
- Last years TV Leader’s List that we (colleagues and I) produced is touring schools and is currently at Greenshaw in Sutton, before it goes off to the City Hall for a day. The reception from youngsters has been amazing.
It was also a week of creativity, meeting the team from the British Council at the creative industries federation; inviting Sean from IBM to create a workflow around how programmatic videos work and then this. Our big ideas hack next week, where we’ll be taking our MA students through an agile sprint production cycle from idea to prototype, with amongst others Google, IBM and the Guild of Entrepreneurs lending a hand.
Now imagine these all to be shows, or information with frictionless access. WYSIWYG. Frankly I think Michelangelo would approve off the modern riff on his iconic image. Now, all I need is a fashion designer and engineers. Mmm, I have an idea!
Dr David Dunkley Gyimah is an international award winner in Innovation and lectures in a myriad of multi-disciplinary areas and leads the disLAB, a course designed to incorporate next generation storytelling and journalism. He is a communications expert, artist, filmmaker and public speaker. He is listed as one of the most influential Ghanaians in the UK