I went to a super fantastic (super tense) panel discussion on "new media, new tools, new audiences". I've come to be pretty disenchanted with the term new media - to my mind there is no longer any such thing; it's not something separate from the way we live our every day lives. Everything we do is through "new" media -- plus what comes next? Do we get new new media when what we have now becomes old new media? Newer media? Terminology aside, the panel discussion was fascinating, due to the range of voices. At one end of the spectrum was Jerry Wasserman, who seems to have gotten into the internet out of necessity more than excitement, and still seems a little skeptical about the whole thing, and at the other was Kris Krug, who had more than enough enthusiasm about and faith in the digital world to get most attendees really excited about the possibilites that come along with expanding your online presence. I could really feel the tension between the two perspectives - the traditional media who don't trust the internet vs. the younger users/creators who seem to have integrated it into every part of their lives - but that tension made me feel so connected to my love for technology and media and newness, and the fact that at its core all media, new and old, is about connection and learning.
Weird fact: we all found out that Michael Jackson died because Kris was online during the session. The moderator had just asked the question, Where do you find information you trust online? and out of nowhere Kris said something like, Apparently Michael Jackson just died. I don't think I was the only one who thought it was some kind of test or demonstration, showing us that you can't trust everything you read. I then got two text messages in short succession both telling me the same thing. It was all a little surreal.
Today, to end the conference, the wonderful emcee (she had another word for herself, but I can't remember what it was... something french sounding), Vanessa Richards, closed by thanking everyone, and then she brought it back to MJ. She talked about how powerful it was to be a kid and see Michael with the Jackson Five showing her that children could sing and do it with passion and energy - that being a kid wasn't restricted to Sesame Street. She talked about how sad she was when Michael first went solo, and how lonely he must have been throughout his life. Then she sang his first solo hit, Ben, because she thought its message was one that should be recognized and embraced by the arts community. I wish I could post a video of her singing, because I had one of those wonderful moments where my vision shifted, and everything aside from the performer and the performance was totally gone. I was completely taken into that moment, which was a perfect end to two days of talk about arts; I got to get into that simple, profound, direct, moving, expansive experience that is the reason people make and see and do art. Since I can't post that, I will post Mr. Jackson, before it all came down around him, singing about connection.
p.s. As a result of this (the summit and the panel, not Michael Jackson's death), I can't stop thinking about this blog. Where it should go. What it should be.
p.p.s. I want to do and be everything. They tell me I can't.
p.p.p.s. I have always loved postscripts - even now that editing functions mean that I could actually insert the thought into the body of what I am writing.