As we wrapped up our first-ever New Frontier Story Lab at the Sundance Resort in Utah, we took a few minutes to check in with 10 guests as they checked out on their way home. Our final and tenth interview is with Yasmin Elavat, co-creator of 18 Days in Egypt, one of the projects selected to participate in the lab. She currently lives in Cairo.
1) Do you know what transmedia is, yes or no? I believe so, but it's such a wide genre. It seems to be the default term for projects that don't fall into other categories.
2) Using only one word, how would you describe it? Immersive.
3) Which is more important? Storytelling or Technology? Storytelling. Game designers, artists, filmmakers, writers and installation designers are all storytellers. Our approach to the craft of storytelling is very different, obviously, but in the end, storytelling is the main objective of our work. We all have a point of view and a vision that we are trying to convey. We all use technology differently as a tool, a means to an end.
4) What do you do? What’s your passion? I'm an interaction designer and a developer. My work has been about storytelling using a different medium - whether it’s to educate children using stories, or to have users rediscover their own childhood fascination with the world around them. I like using technology to create a sense of wonder for users. That’s what motivates me. My passion these days is our current project which is all about collaborative-storytelling. We believe everyone is a storyteller and we just need the tools to help us capture the important moments and shared experiences in our lives.
5) What transmedia website, article, project or person are you really excited about right now? I'm really excited about the current projects that were part of this first ever New Frontier Storylab. I'm now personally invested in each project and look forward to tracking their progress. The fellows are so very talented and visionary. Also, Susan Bonds is my hero!
6) Why do you think it’s taken so long for transmedia to be taken seriously? It's a new frontier. There are no parameters or one structured form. It's limitless and up to the imagination, which is wonderful but also a drawback. It's still an evolving form and cool projects are starting to emerge.
7) Who or what first helped you understand it? I think my graduate studies and professional work are in this space. I'm a graduate of the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. ITP is an interdisciplinary program at an art school where you had artists, programmers, game designers, hackers, dancers, filmmakers and people from all sorts of different fields with a similar interest and approach to technology. ITP is an intellectual playground for the artists and techies inside all of us, and it's where I got my start in exploring new mediums, tools, merging disciplines, and rethinking the use of technology and how we interface with it and the world around us. It's been my work and interest ever since.
8) Have you been to the Owl Bar on this trip, yes or no? Didn't skip a night!
9) What piece of technology could you simply not give up right now? My iPhone. I use it take pictures, know what's going on in the world, share with friends, and to consume blogs.
10) What was the most exciting thing that happened to you at the first-ever New Frontier Lab? Having an intimate exposure to the people that I'm inspired by and a look into their creative process, their current work, their struggles and their successes. It was exciting to be working with so many talented people from so many different fields - only amazing stuff can come out of the New Frontier Lab.