Reinventing C2G2 – art+tech+you

Archive Fever show - C2G2 - Sep 2014-144

Montreal artist and friend, Pascal Dufaux was back in WR on Sunday for the opening of Archive Fever at The Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery (C2G2), which includes one of Pascal’s fantastic video installations. His work connects with the maker/artist/photographer in me, so despite having been out on a shoot all weekend, I could not decline his invite.

Archive Fever, curated by Krista Blake, involves interactive participation by you(!), offering the opportunity to explore an archive populated with a variety of personal items collected from famous and otherwise-notable people. Physicists, writers, musicians, artists, and more have contributed various bits from their lives to be housed in a library of sorts and examined by visitors.

The TL;DR: this is a different and cool show. It goes toward active participation in art rather than the passive consumption that is so familiar. We the people can activate (to use Krista’s great word) this gallery. It is chock full of potential in the centre of our city. It is surrounded by Waterloo Park, The Perimeter Institute, new condos, and is steps away from a soon-to-be light rail line. We can do so much with this place. Get there.

More photos…

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Hub Haps #003-Myo-controlled Klugman Kar

Klugman Kar 002

I cannot make this stuff up. But Kurt Schwarz and Yanish Jutton can. They are $400 out of pocket and totally kicking ass with their Myo-controlled Klugman Kar (my moniker, not theirs). It not only drives via Myo-control, but also fires its hood-mounted Nerf chaingun when Kurt makes a fist. Communitech CEO Iain Klugman’s avatar has been installed as the virtual driver. Makerly high-fives to you both!

Happy weekend, Hubsters.


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Born different


Wore that helmet for years.


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A new creative collective

George Briggs Media walkaround 046

Who put the “George Briggs” in George Briggs Media? Alex George Briggs Marshall did. Here he is (at right) in a new space with a new mission to create a collective of kickass creative people. The GB Collective. Think “co-working space”, but with a vetted, cross-discipline bunch. Opportunities for collaboration and tapping both consumers and producers of creative content are in the plan. Alex was talking with curious visitor Matt Quinn of design firm Grand when I dropped by last week for a visit. Alex piqued my interest to visit when he described the in-house photo studio that GBC is constructing in their space. That’s something I haven’t found in WR.

The TL;DR: if you’re a designer, illustrator, photographer, person generally producing creative content destined for business, then give Alex a shout, or better yet drop in for their open house on Friday Sep 19 from 3-6pm at 108 Ahrens St. W, Kitchener.

I snapped a few pics while I was there…

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Hamilton arts SuperCrawl absolutely killed it!

SuperCrawl - Sep 2014 - Hamilton 923

More than one hundred thousand people were expected to flood the James Street North area of Hamilton last weekend for the sixth annual arts SuperCrawl, celebrating art/music/dance/culture in the core of the city.

Attendance has been rising on a hockey stick curve from the 3000 who attended in 2009 to the 100K who attended last year. I am now doing a leaping high five to organizer Tim Potocic and the SuperCrawl team for throwing a helluva an awesome event and showing us what’s possible. If you build it, they will come.

I’ve been chatting with the folks in Kitchener’s Arts and Culture department to explore ways to extend our cultural ecosystem here in Kitchener (or Waterloo, or Waterloo Region… hey, maybe that’s our problem). We were originally slated to rent a bus for a SuperCrawl roadtrip, but that fell through for some reason, so I just headed to The Hammer on my own last Friday afternoon. Boy, am I ever glad I did. I met the friendliest people, saw great work, and was delightfully immersed in a community that shows up.

Special thanks to Jacqueline Norton and René Reid of the City of Hamilton for being such awesome ambassadors for the city and the event. They enthusiastically showed me around, answered my questions, and made me feel right at home.

I brought back some thoughts on developing culture in WR as well as an incomprehensible number of photos. Click through for both…

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What The Fluxible?

Darin White-Fluxible 2014-Day1-663

User experience titans descended on The Tannery over the weekend, coming from various points of the globe to speak and inspire us at Fluxible. This most awesome home-grown conference, now in its third year, teaches/talks/tackles a better UX (user experience) in all sorts of products through a lot of careful thought, design, and testing. Not surprisingly, it brings in a helluva nice bunch of people who love to have fun, too.

I caught up with some of the speakers from Day 1 (above) between talks and dinner as they were recording a podcast with Desire2Learn’s Sean Yo (far right). Left to right, these characters are: Indi Young, Dani Malik, Giles Colborn, Bill DeRouchey, Dana Chisnell, Kelly Goto, Sean, and reclining is Jared Spool.

Fluxible is the brain child of UX practitioners-about-town Mark Connolly and Bob Barlow-Busch. Mark is an old friend from way back on a gig I had 20 years ago building the first online application to Ontario universities. I thought I just needed some help with graphics, and Mark brought that and a whole lot more, helping to define and design workflows and everything else that was user-facing. Win!

A much-more-recent beer on Mark’s front porch led to me exploring this year’s Fluxible with camera in hand. I’ve got an affinity for UX, having worked a number of years earlier in my career at IBM’s Toronto Lab User Centered Design group with Karel Vredenburg (who set my standard for great leaders).

The TL;DR: Fluxible was fantastic and sold out. Mark and Bob got meta and provided a great UX to their UX conference. The caliber of talent was impressive and drew attendees from far and wide to Kitchener. I expect Fluxible is going to hockey stick in popularity any second.

You will definitely want to hit up the official Fluxible site for tons of great content, and you can click through for a wholly unreasonable number of pics (hey, it was a 2-day event) as I saw it…

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I like to bike… especially on Bike Day

Bike Day - Fall 2014 019

A funny-great thing happened on my bike ride this morning. I was…

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Hot lunch!–papusas at America Latina

America Latina lunch 012

I don’t often blog about food, but ever since Kayleigh Platz wrote about America Latina Variety & Deli in her Tech About Town column, I’ve had gustatory hankering to hit this place for lunch. Yesterday, I took the short walk across the parking lot from The Tannery and, with guidance from proprietor Mynor Garcia, I ordered and watched Anita cook up some papusas for me. The wait allowed me to wander around the shop full of interesting image potential and soak up all the Spanish being spoken by customers and staff alike. Such a beautiful language.

Check this place out, and don’t be put off by this photo: there’s lots of stuff that tastes awesome and isn’t too spicy. I’m heading back on Saturday to grab some churros, which I’m told will be ready to go around 9:30am.

Read Kayleigh’s column for more deets.


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Garden of Egan

Bob Egan shop visit 075-2

Last week, Tony Reinhart and I took a short walk from The Tannery to Bob’s Guitar Service to sit down and talk music/culture/arts/GSD with proprietor Bob Egan. Some of you may know Bob as a player with Blue Rodeo. Regular makebright readers may remember my interview with Bob and David Gray about their Modern Audio Arts college program.

I learned two things about Bob last week: #1 His shop is a visual wonderland for photography and #2 He has some interesting and action-oriented ideas about extending and expanding our cultural ecosystem. This post rolls with the former with conversations to follow on the latter.

Click through for a fairly reasonable number of pics…

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Who is Jon Johnson?

Jon Johnson interview 044

I first met Jon Johnson three years ago in a dark garage.

Our mutual friend Matthew Reynolds threw this great party where you could try out a bunch of his awesome letterpress gear in his garage/print shop while the gigantic Heidelberg press whirred away. I was photographing (or course) a print block of the Budds logo and Jon said that was one of his favourites out of Matthew’s extensive collection of vintage typefaces and logos. Introductions, what-do-you-do’s and high-fives then I headed out to review the photos to see if I got anything good out of my wide-open 50mm lens in all that inky darkness.

Fast forward to spring 2012.  I saw an invite fly by for a gig Jon organized at The Princess. Designer Aaron Draplin was coming in to talk shop, having just spoken at a conference in Toronto. Matthew assured me this was a big deal in the context of the design world. I love it when somebody thinks something up and actually does it, so with ticket and camera in hand I checked it out. Full house, big success and a very relieved Jon Johnson.

Meanwhile, I had been seeing more and more of Jon’s very distinct design work around town on gig posters, restaurant logos, t-shirts, and banners. You know how it works: when you look, you see. And I was an immediate fan of his work.

Jon and I reconnected last month, while eating pancakes and listening to Sunday morning metal at Marc Lecompte’s Heavy Breakfast. I reckoned it was time to profile Jon on makebright.

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