Ten talks not to miss at REMIX Sydney 2017

From the Royal Shakespeare Company’s latest innovations to the brains behind a temporary desert city, this summit of electrifying ideas is a two-day feast for your brain.
Ten talks not to miss at REMIX Sydney 2017

Art installation at Burning Man; image via Flickr

The arts sector is well represented at REMIX SYDNEY, a two-day summit positioned at the intersection of culture, technology and entrepreneurship.

Alongside representatives from Melbourne Festival, Urban Theatre Projects, NITV (National Indigenous Television) and animation and effects company Animal Logic, participants will get to hear from organisations as diverse as Airbnb, NASA, WOMADelaide,and the Royal Shakespeare Company.


Perhaps one of the most anticipated speakers is Marian Goodell, CEO of the global cultural phenomenon Burning Man – a temporary city of over 70,000 people which appears and then disappears without trace each year in the middle of a Nevada desert.

As REMIX co-founder Peter Tullin recently told ArtsHub, the summit is less about moving the goal posts and more about doing away with them altogether.

‘REMIX stretches you while at the same time encourages you that it is possible – that idea of being able to make something out of nothing by using world class entrepreneurial strategies is very much at the core of REMIX,' he said.

Read: Don’t think outside the box; smash it to pieces

New speakers for REMIX Sydney were announced this week, including Louise Herron AM, CEO, Sydney Opera House; Topaz Conway, Chair, StartupAus; Alison Wright, Assistant Director, Engagement and Development at the National Gallery of Australia, and Mimi Flemming, General Manager, VICE Australia.

Trying to determine exactly which talks and events to attend is always a challenge at such events; to help you navigate the REMIX Sydney program, here are some of the highlights to have caught our eye.

Reinventing Cultural Experiences for a Digital Age (9:45am, 7 December)

In this opening keynote, Sarah Ellis, Director of Digital Development at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), discusses the opportunities presented by digital technology in traditional performance environments. Working with companies like Intel, the RSC has introduced live motion capture to the stage in productions such as The Tempest, expanding the potential of contemporary theatrical storytelling in the process. The company has also focused on widening participation and enabling experiences beyond the physical constraints. Ellis will discuss these and other initiatives in what promises to be an inspiring presentation.

Reaching New Audiences through Creative Storytelling (10:05am 7 December)

The striking installation work, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, was one of the most widely seen artworks of 2014. Created by artist Paul Cummins, in collaboration with stage designer Tom Piper, it featured 888,246 ceramic red poppies – each representing a British military fatality during the First World War. In this compelling keynote, Deborah Shaw, Head of Creative Programming, Historic Royal Palaces, will discuss ways organisations can develop engaging and immersive narratives to develop new audiences.

State of the Creative Nation – What’s Next for Australia? (11.15am, 7 December)

How do we support and grow the creative industries?  What is the future of creative education and training? How will technology continue to transform cultural experiences? Panellists including Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron and Neil Peplow, CEO, Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) will consider the critical conditions required for building a vibrant, relevant and sustainable creative nation.

Designing Creative Places... Beyond the CBD (2pm, 7 December)

Support, growing and celebrating cultural activity and infrastructure  in the suburbs and regional and rural Australia is increasingly important in the creative industries. This panel gets to grips with some of the challenges and possibilities for the sector. Chaired by Alicia Talbot, Senior Strategic Project Leader, City of Parramatta, and featuring Vic McEwan, Artistic Director of the Narrandera-based arts organisation The Cad Factory; Peter Denham, Director, Curatorial, Collections and Exhibitions, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (MAAS) and Jacqui Hemsley, Manager, Cultural Services, Lake Macquarie City Council.

The main REMIX Sydney reception takes place at the Powerhouse Museum, where delegates will experience the immersive world of Future Park. Image supplied.

21st Century Arts Infrastructure – Blurring Digital and Physical (3pm, 7 December)

Chaired by Melbourne-born, New York-based Georgia King, the Deputy Ideas Editor of Quartz, this panel will explore the trends and technologies that will re-shape cultural consumption, driving cultural institutions to reinvent themselves for a new age. Will we increasingly see the blurring of digital and physical experience of culture? How can we develop compelling experiences for digital-only visitors and how can technology best enhance the personal cultural experience? As well as exploring the ways technology and culture are intersecting, this panel will also highlight some of the pitfalls which await organisations that are rushing to deploy technology in new forms of cultural creation and consumption.

In Conversation with Beatie Wolfe (4:15pm, 7 December)

Much more than just a singer-songwriter, Anglo-American artist Beatie Wolf is a digital pioneer; a technological innovator as much as a musician. The co-founder of a new research project looking at the power of music for people living with dementia, she has also created a series of world-first designs that bridge the tangible and digital, restoring a sense of ceremony and mystery to the experience of accessing music. In this presentation Wolfe will share her insights on blending technology and music innovation via a journey through her work and projects described as ‘ingenious’ (Fast Company), ‘ground-breaking’ (BBC) and ‘extraordinary’ (Forbes).

The Future of Storytelling (4:30pm, 7 December)

Based out of the Fox Studios lot in Sydney’s Moore Park, and with offices in Los Angeles and Vancouver, Animal Logic are one of the world’s most prolific digital studios. They’ve worked their magic on everything from The Matrix and Happy Feet to Walking with Dinosaurs, The LEGO® Movie and Captain America: Civil War, and are helping change the way we imagine and depict narratives. In this presentation, the company’s CEO Zareh Nalbandian charts the Animal Logic journey and explores the future of storytelling as we look at what is coming around the corner.

Future of Libraries (11.15am, Friday 8 December)

Kate Torney, Director, State Library Victoria is currently overseeing an $88 million redevelopment of her building and organisation, so is well placed to ponder the questions: what are the evolving roles of libraries in the cities of the future? Today we all have access to powerful micro-computers in our pockets, and information can be discovered in moments: in light of such changes, how can libraries stay relevant?

Future of Festivals (3pm Friday 8 December)

Chaired by Guardian Australia’s culture editor Steph Harmon, this panel features WOMADelaide’s Ian Scobie, Sydney Festival Director Wesley Enoch, and Melbourne Festival’s Executive Director Kath Mainland discussing the evolution of the festival experience, including the ways festivals such as Asia TOPA are reaching out to new audiences in a changing Australia, the impact of technology and new approaches to festival, and the ways that festivals can extend their impact in areas such as the development of creative precincts and cities.

Data, Art & Technology (4:45pm, 8 December)

Working at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) involves a combination of exceptionally complex science, technology and data. Communicating such specialist knowledges to the general public is a challenge, which is where art comes in. In this closing keynote, Visual Strategist Dan Goods from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will explore some of the insights and processes used to ensure NASA’s scientific discoveries are effectively communicated  to broad audiences, and how such methods could be employed by other organisations.

7-8 December 2017