Jarita’s Trip to FITC Toronto

By Jarita Lee - May 7th, 2013


FITC (short for: Future. Innovation. Technology. Creativity) is a design and technology event that brings together digital creators of all types. It aims to inspire, educate, and challenge attendees. Each day of the conference was packed with a great selection of sessions that covered a variety of topics from Creative, Technical and Business spheres. As a first time attendee, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect; but since my personal background overlapped the most with the Business and Creative side of things, I chose a few sessions from those categories to fill out my Sunday. I’ll admit that I was a bit hesitant and skeptical on the content of these presentations. Would I be sitting in a one hour session of someone dropping buzzwords on me, much like a running joke on 30 Rock? I’m glad to report that I was completely and 100% stupid for even worrying about that. If you have the opportunity to attend FITC, please do so at your earliest convenience.

Herding Cats 101

The first session I attended was entitled Herding Cats 101 (that’s right) with Stacey Mulcahy.

Herding Cats 101!

It promised to be a rousing session on everybody’s favourite topic: process. My day job involves a lot of process so it was a natural choice for me – plus: the promise of cats! What I got was a hilarious presentation on process – and all the frustration, agony, and humour that accompanies it. Stacey masterfully used a crap-ton of GIFs to give context, advice, and humour on a topic that is admittedly not all that exciting.

I’m sure that my day job had a big role in allowing me to geek out in a one hour presentation about process and how to improve on it (or maybe it was just the GIF)s. Either way, thank you to Stacey for giving me something think back to (and laugh about) everyday at work.

After some post-FITC research, it turns out that Stacey also wrote a beautiful piece about women in technology in the form of a letter addressed to her 8 year-old niece (an aspiring video game maker) that I think everyone should read, regardless of their day job or gender.

Designer Lap Explosives

DJing the FITC event the only way that would make sense: with a really cool interface!

My second session of the day was entitled Designer Lap Explosives, given by GMUNK. This was a great session because it featured the faces of Daniel Craig, Garrett Hedlund, and Tom Cruise. GMUNK is a seasoned Design Director who recently did some high profile user interface (UI) work for TRON: Legacy, Oblivion, and Sony. Attractive Hollywood actors aside, I loved GMUNK’s enthusiasm and passion for UI. He was quite proud (and rightfully so) of his work in the TRON: Legacy scene involving DNA helixes and a broken arm. It was interesting to see the 2-minute segment broken down by GMUNK, and learning how the design evolved to help capture the context and tone of the movie. I was unaware of his work previous with FITC; and as someone who always pays attention to UI work in movies, I am very glad that I was able to attend this session.

The rest of the talk focused on GMUNK’s design and thought process with some work samples from Flash on the Beach and FITC Amsterdam. The latter was an awesome example of how creativity within one medium can be transferred and used extremely well in another medium. His portfolio is quite varied and inspiring and I highly recommend checking it out (especially for all the sexy UI work), even if you are not a “design person”.

Beyond Interaction

My third and last session of the day was with Daito Manabe, and his Beyond Interaction presentation. A seasoned and self described artist/programmer/designer/DJ/VJ/composer/hacker from Tokyo (phew!), Daito’s session focused on a music and electronic stimulus experiment where he hooked his face up to electronic pulses that were set to music. It was very interesting (and funny) to see how he took this idea and evolved it along the way.

He then showed us how it was used in a more practical sense when the pulses were attached to a deaf dancer, which allowed them to dance by actually feeling the music. His experiment has also been used in other creative ways for Japanese music videos and even a gum commercial, which was great because it meant that he was able to get money for it (his words not mine). As a native Japanese speaker, I’m sure a lot of the details of his talk were lost in translation, but his Youtube channel features a ton of creative “beyond interaction” type work that he has done.

Roaming the halls at FITC.


Unfortunately, I was only able to attend 1 out of the 3 days that FITC ran for; and I imagine that most of the attendees were there for work or school. I highly advise that if you are ever given the chance to attend this event, to please do so. The presentations and panels are given by some of the best people in the design industry from all over the world. FITC is a giant love-fest of amazingly talented people who want to share their knowledge and passion with you. In closing, this was probably the only time I was glad that my day did not turn into an episode of 30 Rock, and was more akin to something like this.

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