Doug Bucci is the man.

Yeah, I'm a little late, but SNAG 2009 is still fresh on the mind. I'll be brief.

This year's conference was only my third, however, it was definitely the best so far. Thanks, Doug. Some of the things that made this one great:

Excellent Speakers.
(lots of) Awesome exhibitions.

More Organized volunteering arrangements.

Presence -
despite economic conditions, the turnout didn't dwindle.

Excellent Speakers.

Fashion Show-
this should definitely be an annual event.

people just seemed happier ??? Did I mention:

Excellent Speakers?

Unfortunately us Winthrop kids arrived too late for the PDS and pin swap. Shame.

There are only a few things that would have made it better for me, some of which the conference itself is not directly responsible for...

I hated the fact that so many people, yet again this year, stampede out just before the member meeting. It's a shame that not more people are interested in sticking around for it/putting their two cents worth in/voting on things/(at least) listening to what is going on. It also disappointed me to see even fewer students among the sorry little crowd (at least it appeared to be an especially skimpy turnout compared to Savannah - correct me if I am wrong). There's got to be something SNAG/members/individuals/someone can do to encourage more student (and professional) involvement. Some important things were brought up... and voted on.

I'm also pissed that I didn't get to see every piece in every one of the exhibitions. My fault, of course, that I didn't stay an extra day. There's only so much you can get around to on the tour. Of what was seen: excellent. Lots of work by lots of awesome people with awesome skills.

Education Dialogue: disappointment.

I loved the fact that the panel was encouraged to debate. Loved it. Good idea. However, in my opinion (and many others, assuming from a massive exiting of the seminar mid-way through) this year was a let down. For the first half hour I found myself and those around me doodling and wondering where the argument was to begin with . Both sides were in agreement (excellent, intelligent speakers might I add), yet couldn't see that they were simply locked up over an issue of "what to call" the same thing. It eventually moved on from this... but seemed to go on forever.... seeming too focused on philosophy and less focused on details: what works and what can be improved. Not much dialogue, too much debate. No "in the middle".
The topics seemed somewhat narrow as well, although some good ones, they didn't seem to keep students interest (a shame since a bunch actually showed up for this one - perhaps because of the past ones?) I by no means preach "everything for the kids", but at least give us something. In conclusion, I found myself longing for the past couple of dialogues, especially the small circles of educators and students (Memphis?), where I was much more involved, felt like my opinion mattered, felt like the educators were genuinely out to make the best experience for their students, and felt like progress was being made. But maybe I'm reading into personal bias.....

And the most exciting part?

Neri Oxman - Ecology by Craft. Hands down.

Image from http://materialecology.blogspot.com/.

A wonderful speaker, MIT grad Neri Oxman did an awesome job "dumbing it down" for us. Her work (using CAD/CAM technologies) focuses on a collaborative effort between nature, design, and concept. It transcends the fields of design, architecture, medicine, engineering, art, and who knows what all else. Using fairly simple mathematical computations (input of algorithms), she is able to create objects that (in some cases) grow themselves. She exerts different forces against other forms to maximize and minimize necessary material use. She starts with microscopic analysis of structures in nature, and her work begins to mimick the (arguably) simplistic and economical design found therein. She's creating objects/medical apparatus/structures that are simply smarter. Awesome. Standing ovation: necessary.

Only bad thing? All the other Winthrop Kids slept in. BUMMER. They'll know better next year.

More on her:

So, just some of the lingering thoughts about this year's SNAG. Overall, another wonderful experience. I'll be there next year.

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