Denver experiential design studio takes home YIP award in experiential motion design for Greeley, Colorado Musical Hopscotch installation.
Denver, Colorado, November 5, 2019 On October 2nd, 2019, Denver Does Design hosted its inaugural Young Industry Professionals (YIP) Awards. The YIP Awards celebrate the achievements of young professionals in creative design fields. All award nominees and teams have less than 10 years of industry exposure, but are making great strides in innovation surrounding the Denver area. One such nominee and award winner, Alt Ethos, is proud to announce their recognition in the Motion category for an interactive public art display.
Alt Ethos is one of 13 YIP Award winners celebrated at the event this year. The interactive design company, founded by Ethan Bach, is made of several young designers who helped create their winning entry. Their Greeley Hopscotch project, which combined elements of motion and sound to provide an interactive hopscotch experience for Greeley-area residents, won the Alt Ethos team the award.
The Greeley Hopscotch project was nominated in the Motion category for Experience Awards at YIP. The Experience Awards were given to projects which offered interactive experiences to participants using creative design and technology elements. Other categories at the Awards included Everyday Use, Storytelling, Montage, and others based on projects’ creative and social impact and merit.
This Awards event not only spurred creative innovation from the local Denver young professionals community, but preceded a recent proclamation by the Fort Collins Mayor, Wade Troxell, to celebrate October 15th as Empowerment Through Creative Technology Day. Many of the projects presented at the YIP Awards featured creative and artistic design elements that further Denver and Fort Collins’ mission to be a hub of modern art and tech innovation.
Alt Ethos is one of many Denver-area organizations that celebrates empowerment and innovation through creative technology on a daily basis. Alt Ethos’ many community projects follow guiding principles to be inclusive, interactive, and novel in the ways they engage audiences through light, sound, and motion. As the YIP Award and other recognition of tech-centered industry growth emerge, the community goal to enhance the professional opportunity for creative arts and design will be met and exceeded.
Last yearwe hosted a similar event, right in this room, called Our Vision for Denver.
This year, we decided to speak on our Denver Vision with a focus on a new big thing happening, Meow Wolf coming to Denver.
I have a unique perspective as I lived in Santa Fe for thirteen years and have lived in Denver for almost three years. I’ve been an artist for over twenty years and like most of you, I worked day jobs then worked on my art at night.
Watch the entire keynote below.
I witnessed what was happening in the evolution of Meow Wolf pretty closely. At one point I served on the Javier for the Arts committee with now Meow Wolf CEO Vince Kadlubek. We helped former mayor Javier Gonzales get elected.
And now Meow Wolf is coming to Denver. It seems only right that I would help navigate the Denver community through this shift. I see this as a huge opportunity for this city.
And as we all know,
Artist communities are notoriously underfunded.
The world is changing rapidly and communities around the globe are witnessing increased rents.
Where there is a financial disparity there is gentrification. And just like many cities in the world, we are experiencing that in Denver.
The Meow Wolf Effect is an intimate and intentional look into a cultural phenomenon sparking the creative economy in a way that I have not witnessed in my lifetime. My plan is to explore the Meow Wolf Effect through our blog series, public events, and collaborations.
We have a unique opportunity to explore and experience this phenomenon as being one of the first cities Meow Wolf is coming to.
There are many influencers out there making a change. Meow Wolf is one of them. We have several in this community including our panelists whom I look forward to speaking within a few minutes.
You are all the experts on this town and on your experience. That is why you are here.
What I can do is help facilitate the beginnings of a conversation.
I want to help create a new possibility for you, my community.The possibility I see is an interconnected community that spans across the state of Colorado and into New Mexico (why not) that is inspired to create a new economy that is supportive for creative innovators.
Think of the most amazing community that you can imagine. What do you want that to look like? Let’s create that.
An opportunity to do what is your purpose with love and support from your community. That’s what I envision.
To make a living and thrive doing something that you love while inspiring others. That’s what I envision.
More ability to have the influence to shape the world in a way that you want to see it. That’s what I envision.
This is our moment of opportunity. If we do this with great intention, we can make a huge shift in the economy.
Traditionally, artists have not sought out to build businesses and focus on the creative economy.
We don’t feel supported by the current economic structure supporting creative jobs.
And like every other human we have a negative dialog going on in our heads.
Some of us even believe that we must suffer to be real artists. We place social pressure on other artists by calling them “sell outs” if they make money.
A few years ago I decided to change those beliefs in myself. Why I started Alt Ethos and DATA.
I no longer wanted to live hand to mouth and work for someone that wasn’t necessarily treating me with respect.
I want to have a larger influence in the world and these organizations will allow a bigger reach.
I want to have money to create more opportunities for everyone.
I want to share with you today some of my what-ifs and ask that you add to that list.
One of myfavorite clear indicators in identifying your what-ifs is judgment and uncomfortability or contrast if you will.
I want to ask, what are your what-ifs?
I encourage you right now and throughout this event to think about in what ways are you unsatisfied with the Denver Arts community?
What are you unsatisfied with or fearful of with Meow Wolf coming to town? Keep that and we will touch back on it later.
Is it gentrification? Is it access to space? Is it funding? Is that jobs? Is that all the above? Now take that statement and turn it into a positive action – something that you are going to do to work on finding positivity in that problem.
Here are some of the facts as we know.
Meow Wolf is coming to town.
Meow Wolf anticipates 1.5 million people a year to their Denver site. I anticipate 3 to 5 million people a year. Now think about that – 5 million people a year coming to Denver to spend money in the creative economy.
What opportunities are there?
Where are these people going to stay where they can eat?
Where can they get their entertainment?
What are they going to buy as a souvenir?
What kind of art will they buy?
Where will they want to visit when they like to do it in a group as part of a tour?
So I just want to say that this isn’t about whether or not you like Meow Wolf.
This is not whether or not you agree with the way that they’re going about expressing their art.
This is not about whether or not they can hire you.
Or if they you think they favored one group of people over another.
This is about harnessing the energy with strategic planning in order to make the best possible outcome. This is happening.
So tonight and moving forward, we will all be gathering knowledge.
What do you want to do with this knowledge?
Do you want to sit around and complain and point fingers and say I can’t have that we can’t do this we can’t do that how come they’re doing this is how come they’re doing that?
Do you want to use this as an opportunity for a catalyst for change?
We already have some ideas of what is going to happen. We can look at Santa Fe and we can compare our own economy and how things are going here and we can take some guesses we can take some risks and we can enjoy ourselves along the way as a community.
So what if we could do that? What if we could do this together? Let’s make this city in this state the best experience we could ever imagine. You’re welcome to come with me and you’re welcome to lead the way. I promise to walk beside you. Together, let’s make some change.
There are so many people in this community already doing great things. It’s not fair to just sit back and say that they need to do more or do it this way or that. These people are putting their necks on the line. Through their experiences, they have a lot of information that if we all could harness it, would help make a better community. Let’s take advantage of some of that now. I welcome our panelists so gracious to spend their time with us and share their experience.
On April 19th, 5:00-8pm at the Commons on Champa we celebrate the culmination of one year as a company and unveiling of our interactive LED wall. All who have supported us are welcome to partake in celebration.
Our journey has been as educational as it has been fulfilling. Working with the Commons has resulted in numerous valuable connections both with entrepreneurs and city officials seeking to connect with each other. The history behind this installation begins with then underutilized ceiling scale LED screens.
Upon the beginning of our work at the Commons, formulation of our business plan and love of optimizing existing spaces with interactive technology guided our decision to bring this to life. Through coordination with Jesse Shuler we have successfully activated the screens.
In order to achieve this it was necessary to run the Kinect to the server room controlling the visuals. After intensive calibration the display is able to react to your movements in real-time.
Our work began with the goal of creating an experience binding passersby together through immersive, organic architecture. We make new connections daily throughout these halls. Our energy is directed towards that which ultimately excites us to create and intertwine our stories.
At a glance the screens sit opposite each other, silent and dark leading up to the Event Space. Floating crescents of light dance across the black panels, inviting you to cross the threshold. Once in view of the Kinect V2 sensors position information transfers with a series of servers on a feedback loop, responding to your movement. Patterns of living, colored geometry bloom on either side, trailing and shifting along with you. You’ll find yourself drawn in to linger and experiment. Imagine architecture which communicates with you. When two or more are present the shapes form in relation to the group.
Our vision is to connect people and elevate spaces to another level through the act of playful interaction. This piece is only the first step towards binding sensory engagement to practical application.
Our perceptions are formed through instantaneous sensory processing. I’d like to take a moment to talk about social play. As humans the act of playful creativity forms our experience. Group play has been shown to increase mental and physical adaptivity and strengthen social bonds, ultimately enhancing the hours of our lives. Here Jane Gonigal, a game designer speaks at TED about the importance of expression through the act of play.
We’re proud to have accomplished this installation which not only invites you in but most importantly invites you to play. We invite you to express yourself and connect with others on a deeper level. Next up we plan to activate the projection area on the right of the Event Space.
So come join us, express yourself.
We also have a special announcement: Congratulations to our CEO Ethan Bach and COO Eric Davis who recently graduated from SBDC’s Leading Edge business accelerator program. Our business plan has been selected to be entered into a state competition and be evaluated by Wells Fargo. We are thoroughly proud of their dedication and excited for another sign of great potential.
Matt Maes is a Denver animator focused on immersive and interactive technology. He is Chief Influence Officer ofAlt Ethos, Ltd and is also an executive member of the nonprofit organization Denver Arts and Technology Advancement (D.A.T.A.)