I recently finished reading James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds. The basic thesis of the book is that decisions made by groups are often better than the decisions that could have been made by any single member of that group. It’s fairly well laid-out, and while I found it lacking in certain areas and a bit repetitive at times, it was a good read and I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in crowd psychology and economics.
Someone over at SXSW Interactive clearly believes in the wisdom of crowds, as they are letting the public have some say on which panels will be part of their annual interactive conference. For the third year in a row, you can use their Panel Picker to cast your votes. Of course, if you read the fine print, the SXSW staff and advisory board have a larger overall say in what gets programmed (30% panel picker, 30% staff, 40% advisory board) than the public does. While I suppose this prevents questionable panel ideas from being selected, it seems to also dilute the importance of the Panel Picker.
And now, for the hard-sell. I am involved in two panel proposals for this year’s SXSW, and would certainly appreciate your votes. Both panels are about generative art, and feature a very diverse and impressive group of potential panelists including Phil Galanter, Mario Klingemann, and Scott Draves. You can cast your votes here:
Generative Art 1
“First popularized by composers such as John Cage and Brian Eno, and fine artists such as Sol Lewitt and Hans Haacke, Generative Art has exploded in the digital age via computer, robotic, and network technologies. Generative artists create and then step away from systems, allowing their machines the autonomy to create, or be, the art. This first of two sessions presents a fast paced survey of randomization, algorithmic mashups, physical computing, and other strategies for creating dynamic art that surprises both the audience and the artist.”
Generative Art 2
“Artists have always learned from nature. Complexity science provides a new interdisciplinary understanding of systems in nature such as ant colonies, weather patterns, the brain, the mind, evolution, the rise and fall of human societies, and more. This second of two sessions presents an advanced look at how generative artists are harnessing complexity through the use of genetic algorithms, chaos, cellular automata, artificial life, neural networks, L-systems, reaction diffusion systems, and more. We’ve seen the future of art and it’s beautifully complex!”