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SxSW Interactive and the conference that should have been

I was fortunate enough to attend SxSW Interactive this year as an IGDA Scholar. These are my overall impressions on the conference having never been before.

SxSW Music and Film is a unique gathering of music and films that exists almost nowhere else in the world. It’s considered one of the best times and places to see a huge gathering of lesser-known or unknown bands, a wide array of quality films that will never have a major release, and a celebration of the idea of creating music and/or film for the sake of the medium. All kinds gather to revel in their collective creative endeavor. Interactive, however, is not like this.

I expected SxSW Interactive to be a gathering and a celebration of artists and designers coming together to celebrate the beauty of what interactivity can deliver. I didn’t expect it to be small, but I did expect some sort of parity with the music and film festivals. Instead, there seems to be too much money and too many parties. That hope I had is there, somewhere, and shines through intermittedly, but it’s buried by a strange layer of start-up culture and swag promotions.

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