pixel.play presentations in Whyalla and Port Lincoln

During November the pixel.play team began to wind up a busy year of workshopping after delivering six months of workshops in the Whyalla and Port Lincoln region; from one day to one week long. We met over 100 fantastic young artists and were very proud to be involved in the creation of some excellent and hilarious works.

We compiled these great works, loaded them onto the phones and headed back out to the regions to show off the work to the wider public. The Whyalla presentation took place on November 23rd. and was opened by digital artist and pixel.play trainer Hugh Davies, his inspirational opening speech is included below.

HUGH DAVIES OPENING SPEECH

Thank you all for coming and thanks to all of the students and teachers who have been involved in Pixel play here in Whyalla.
I would also especially like to thank Sacha Grbich for initiating the pixel.play program. This was not a government or industry initiative, (although government, education and business have since awarded sponsorship to this program) this was Sashas idea and she has been the driving force behind pixel.play since its beginnings almost two years ago. I particularly want to thank Sasha for having the cheek and ambition to create a project that teaches high school students mobile content development skills above and beyond what is taught in tertiary institutions.

Over the last year Pixel Play has run programs in city and country South Australia. Programs have also been run with students and filmmakers in Tasmania and New Zealand. Students and lecturers from Whyalla should be aware that New Zealand filmmakers were very impressed with the standard of work. You might also be interested to know that people as far away as Ney York, San Francisco., Copenhagen Singapore, as well as Sydney and Melbourne have seen examples of student works from Whyalla and the response has been extremely good. Americans are particularly impressed and even humbled to see these works as their mobile technology and networks lag behind ours.

This wide distribution is one of the huge benefits of the mobile format. People carry their phones everywhere and they like to show them off. They also like to show off what’s on them and as a result content like the works of the student present today is distributed very quickly. Like television in the nineteen fifties and the Internet in the nineteen nineties, the mobile has created a huge new media space that these works are beginning to fill. Mobile content providers are desperate to find works to fill this space, yet very few people know how to create mobile content. This is because there are not standards yet. There are so many different phones, screen sizes and file formats, that very little mobile media is entirely cross compatible.

Behind all of the image capturing, editing, file formatting and plasticine, Pixel-Play teaches two core lessons. The first of which is to experiment. As there are no universal formats or even guaranteed solutions for getting your images on to a phone, trial and error are the industry standards. Indeed South Australian’s most successful mobile content company - Kukan Studios has a large portion of its company dedicated to trial and error of mobile content on over 40 handsets. This confidence to wrestle and engage with new technology to discover new standards is what Pixel Play students develop in these workshops.

The second lesson that Pixel Play conveys is the analysis and meaning of images and by implication, the forces at work behind what we see in all contemporary media from television, Internet comics and cinema. Given the importance of this lesson, it is encouraging to see that many students are much more media literate, aware and discerning than we give them credit for and Pixel Play gives them a forum to discuss, share and express this knowledge.

Even as a tertiary educator in media arts, I am constantly learning high level technical and cultural information from attendees which I then pass on to my university students and fellow staff. With this in mind I urge parents and teachers to both encourage students to use digital technology to create and also get them to show you.

Hugh Davies

Media educator and artist.

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