On Friday 13th of March, we were joined by Seeper founder Evan Grant. Seeper is an arts and technology collective which employees graphic designers and programmers etc, much like a traditional digital agency.
When describing how it all started, Evan recalls a time in 1995 when he came across a midi file version of a song by No Doubt on the internet. Being blown away by the is, Gavin decided to study media at college. After graduating college in 1998, he applied to Bournemouth University as, like still today, its Digital Media Design (under a different name, New Media Design) had a very good reputation. Unfortunately has application was not successful and joined a similar degree in Lincoln. Part way through the first year, after hearing some people had left the degree at Bournemouth University, Evan reached out to Mik Parsons. After faking a portfolio he was allowed to continue his degree and BU.
At this time BU was teaching CD-ROM design. Seeing the writing on the wall, Evan argued for web technologies but BU insisted on CD-ROM. Evan decided to pursue web technologies anyway and started his own company using a VW Camper as his office with some of his fellow students. At this point, Evan wasn’t attending university much, deeming it more important to follow his passion. The university tried to remove him from the course, but he fought for his place as was able to successfully complete his degree. I admire Evan for defending what he believed for and his belief in pursuing what at the time was a new technology. I hope to be able to do something similar with my final project which uses a lot of new technologies and combining them together.
Eventually, Evan grew tired of screen based technology and decided to pursue his interested in other fields of interactivity. For TED talk in 2010, he designed an installation that consisted of a mutli-touch inflatable ball, which Google saw and asked him to create an updated version featuring Google Maps and YouTube videos from around the world in an attempt to making data physical. Similarly with Fishrod, I really like the concept of bringing the digital world in the physical world.
During the session with Evan, he told us that ages from three to ninety should be able to use and interact with his installations with no instructions. This is a concept I have tried to use in my own project, making it as intuitive as possible. Unfortunately, as I am using Google Glass, I have very little control over how a user interacts with it, but I have made it possible for everything to be controlled by simple, plain English voice commands.
On speaking about career paths, Evan had some advice for us that I found really helpful. He says people are most successful in doing what they are most passionate about. Getting excited about a subject in infectious, this type of positively can flow through other people.