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The day’s line up was an eclectic mix of industry leaders, ranging from the established, eccentric and brilliant, to newer names blazing trails in their respective fields. As expected, there were a number of ideas celebrated which the discussions congregated around, predominantly the advent of digital mediums and new technologies.
Providing an update on the state of play for those interested in the spectrum of creative industries, the festival set up a stall for future forums of debate and discussion, whilst not always achieving the spirit of debate that an event of this calibre could. That said, a special hurrah to Paul Pieroni who subverted the day’s interesting (but on occastions, a little static) presentations. Pieroni contended head on with the vernacular of the day, that was encouraging all to “Declare Independence!”, and was the only person to pause to ask “what are we declaring independence from?”. Pieroni’s short talk in the Tramshed gave way to a greater debate which touched upon art funding, value and prestige, a sucess of the day and a real demonstration of the productive debates which future Dazed events could foster.
Complementing the talks and film viewings were a series of exhibitions, disappointingly, due to the nature of the event and the packed schedule, there was a feeling that most were engaging with these spaces as the sideshow to the talks, or the evening’s musical “main event”. The best of these was Absolut London and Jotta’s collaborative exploration of self publishing, with the concept encompassing the history of the zine and the new breed of “self publishing” enabled by the internet, specifically twitter. The interactive installation mapped and visualised Londoners’ thoughts about the city, producing a “‘mind map’, embodying the core and ethos of zine culture as the expression of individual opinion.” This enacted what much of the festival seemed to be striving towards, producing an exploration of the possibilities and parametrs of debates, engendered by the advent of new media, and was one of the most fully realised expressions of this idea. This direction could prove a fascinating future avenue of pursuit if Dazed are to repeat the festival format.
A buoyant mix of the riveting and the raucous, the evening saw XOYO and Village Underground taken over for a truly ecclectic music line up. Aidan Moffat, Caribou and Greco-Roman Soundsystem occupying the same stage not something that happens every day in the capital.
The day offered a good entrée to some of the issues touched upon, and set out a blueprint for future events. Whether it achieved the “declaration of independence” it aimed at is not certain, but as a model for future conventions, discussions and creative amusements, it hints at something more akin to what literary festiva’s do so well. As such, if the first Dazed Live was a declaration of something, it was a confident declaration of a new model for discussion, in line with TED talks, embracing new media and good old fashioned “in person” debate. What Dazed are pioneering or, at least, are trying to do bigger and better than others, is an intriguing platform for creativity and showcase, which will hopefully evolve to foster more productive future debates and festivals.
Look out for more from FAD this week, where we’ll be using the day’s highlights and engaging with some of the ideas in greater depth.