Friday, March 13, 2009

SXSW absurdity

I will be taking pictures for SXSW this week. Last night I helped out with the SXSW bag stuffing, an event required for all volunteers. The process was a fascinating experience, a social experiment waiting to happen. I would grab a tote bag, then walk down a long row of about fifty people whose job it was to put various materials into the bag, a human assembly line. I met hundreds of people in a matter of minutes for a duration too short to create awkward small talk, but too long to not say anything at all.

Throughout all of this a DJ serenaded us with a variety of tunes from Love Shack to Reach for the Sky. In a room with over a thousand people working monotonously, it was weird to see people randomly dancing as they sorted iTunes gift cards or placed condoms in the tote bags.

After we finished stuffing 27,000 bags the room erupted into applause. There's nothing that unites a group of a thousand strangers more than completing a highly repetitive and inane task. It was amazing.

I have decided, fellow readers, that besides covering my required assignments for SXSW I will try to show you the underbelly of the SXSW beast through the unbiased lens of my camera. Yes, it is an efficient commercialism machine which floods the streets of Austin. And yes, it is a seemingly endless stream of drunkness and meaningless parties (which sadly I am not old enough to enjoy until next year).

Over the next several days on this blog I will try to capture the essence of South By South West, forever searching for the wealth of creativity and artistry that lies at its core. Or so I hope.

"Photograph" - Weezer
"I Turn My Camera On" - Spoon
"The Film Did Not Go 'Round" - Nada Surf

*there's a new SXSW poll btw!

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