As new technology develops and appetites for the very latest immersive content grow, so too are the scope and ambition of the briefs we receive from our clients.
'Creativity' is a much vaunted word within the industry and you'll find pages and pages of articles devoted to capturing it, bottling it, distilling it and unleashing it on an audience. Of course, it is an essential ingredient towards delivering a successful event or experience but sometimes I find the word is used too liberally. On occasion it can overarch a project's conceptual conversation to its detriment.
However, there's a big difference between having an idea and making it happen. As such, I feel, right from the beginning that all parties involved need to bed the creative process with a sense of 'Gravity'. For an experiential creative 'Gravity' is a fundamental consideration. As creatives working on physical experiences, we not only need to find ideas which fulfil the brief but also work in the real world.
Thanks to the wonders of CGI and code, creatives in other disciplines can imagine anything and have it realised for them, something we can only dream of. As such, an Experiential Creative's skill-set has to include an understanding of technical and construction techniques to allow them to push the boundaries of what's possible, the ‘Gravity’ if you will. It’s something that can be overlooked in the quest for the unique and the visionary.
It need not be.
Any experience agency worth their salt should be shaping their creative dreams around the practicalities of delivery. You only have to look at the world of modern art to see this in action. I think some recent immersive exhibitions deliver this balance between creativity and practicality perfectly. Think of Random International's Rain Room or much of the current ShapeShifters exhibition at the Hayward (go before it closes on 6th of January).
From a Set Creative perspective, the understanding of what's physically possible is a key part of our work. ‘Gravity’ has a part to play in everything we do; from repurposing 1,000's of water butts to build the set and stage at a YouTube event, to creating a beach club in Cannes that had to look like it had been there for years (as opposed to the 3 days we had to build it!).
Ultimately, it's vital that creatives learn to work alongside a technical production team to help realize their ideas. Respecting and listening to the advice and input of the people actively working to deliver the solution is vital - as is having enough knowledge in the field to push back a little when required.
The need for people to gather physically will not diminish or change, but expectations will increase. We need to manage these, working together to deliver amazingly creative experiences which can also be delivered to the client’s (and our) satisfaction.
An interview based on this article has been published on Mit Magazine on November 30, 2018