Brendan Dawes
The Art of Form and Code

That Was The Week That Was — 1st December 2019

I started to drill down into my Code in your Pocket print project. As I began to play with the code I realised some of the iterations began to resemble Bridget Riley compositions — no doubt influenced by my recent visit to her exhibition at the Southbank the other week. No bad thing I guess.

I fielded a few prospective client calls alongside sending some more Produced for Use orders — some of which made up of multiple items which is always nice to see. Then it was a case of getting stuff ready for my upcoming trip to Sevilla in Spain for OFFF Sevilla.

Thursday seemed to come around quickly and so after navigating the hateful Manchester Airport I found myself walking towards two students holding a big yellow OFFF sign as I exited arrivals at Sevilla airport. As we walked towards the awaiting car, I asked about what they do and how they came to be volunteering for OFFF over the next few days. One was studying fashion whilst one, from Mexico, was studying graphic design. Both were great to talk to as we travelled to my hotel.

After checking in and dropping-off my bag it was off to the cocktail reception, which was already in full-swing at the venue, having started at 9pm. I wasn't sure who I would know, but thankfully as soon as I walked in Irene — from Anton & Irene, saw me and came over, introducing me to people she had already been talking too. A few moments later the students from earlier on appeared together with more of their fellow students.

Later that night, after stopping off at a local tapas bar, a few of us ended up at another bar — though having decided recently to pretty much not drink alcohol any more, I was mostly on water yet did allow myself one JD and coke.

As we walked back in the early hours, we spotted a permanent street vendor thing with the word Churros calling us from across the street. We watched as the Churro master made us the biggest Churros I had ever seen, served with three glasses of liquid hot chocolate. After chomping our way through the deep fried, wrong-but-so-right snacks, we headed back to the hotel, pressing the "dirty stop-outs" buzzer so we could get access to our beds.

At breakfast the next morning I chatted to Daryl from Rewind who was opening the festival in a couple of hours. Then Katie and Abel — better known as Caveza Potata — joined us and we ended up talking so much so that we realised — Daryl having left us earlier — that we were in danger of missing his opening talk. I love how many of the speakers always try and support other speakers at these events.

The venue itself was the Ciaxa Forum — a two year old, underground, ultra modern construction situated next to a shopping mall just a few minutes walk from the hotel. Whilst I wasn't speaking till the next day, I always like to get a feel for the event; what's the audience like, how busy is it and other such things.

The day was great, ending with Marti from Territory talking about his companies incredible work making all those interfaces you see in films such as Bladerunner, Avengers and anything else you can think of. I hadn't realised how much of that stuff is actually real and done on set, rather than in post VFX. Marti showed how using a myriad of iPhones running UI renders on a loop, embedded in 3D printed enclosures were used to make the spaceship cockpit for the Guardians of the Galaxy and others. That technique alone saved studios a fortune in post VFX, plus it really helped the actors get a better feel for the scene as it actually existed on set, rather then being surrounded by green screens.

Later that night about eight of us made our way to a really great restaurant, the food was fantastic, or I should say Fantastico, and then I wondered back to the hotel with Anton, the other half of Anton & Irene, as we chatted about Breaking Bad, Brexit and other things, not all of which began with B.

The Saturday was the day of my talk and I had the honour of opening day two. I have to say I felt so much better having decided to keep the alcohol to almost negligible amounts, though it does help that I've always hated beer and wine anyway. I slept fine, though being able to hear the couple in the room next to me through the locked connecting door was a bit unsettling.

I got to the venue a good hour before my talk. After the tech check in an empty auditorium, I headed to the venue's cafe to get a mint tea on the terrace in the morning sunshine. I've stopped drinking coffee any day I have a talk as after doing some research it turns out coffee is really not great for your throat when you're about to give a talk for an hour. I'd also read that having a few mints is also really great to stop your voice sounding croaky — something I've noticed I've suffered with in the past. So far it seems to work.

As the time came to give me talk, people were still coming in as I sat at the back of the auditorium, having been mic'd up with the obligatory Britney headset. Apparently, once my name finished animating on screen, I was to walk down to the stage, flanked by a volunteer. It served as a kind of intro — of which there never is as such for OFFF and as I got on stage and said hello, the audience — which had filled up nicely by now — very kindly applauded.

Thankfully the talk went well and the feedback, mostly on Instagram but also in person, was lovely. Probably my fave slide in the whole talk was the end were I show and talk about my favourite place in the world — the park bench Lisa and me frequent in our local park. After showing work made with lots of technology, I wanted it to act as a pause and allow me to say how even though all this stuff can be overwhelming, it's OK to slow down and take time out to just sit down, relax and observe the things and people around you, especially so when sat on a bench in a park.