As we were last year, Robert and I have emerged from our National Digital Week experience inspired and affirmed and, OK, perhaps just a tiny bit daunted.
Affirmed? Because even though we are Boomers and the world seems to be run increasingly by and for Millennials, we’re comfortable with most of the technology we need to cope with our progressively digitised daily lives and to produce a weekly blog.
Daunted? At what’s ahead of us: the Internet of Things where everything is connected; augmented reality where a pair of glasses will supply additional information about anything we desire; the gameification of internet experiences; and increased reliance on high quality video.
Looks like we have work to do!
Inspired? Because the takeaway message was so encouraging for people like us who create and produce content week after week – you can have the highest, whiz-bang technology in the world but it’s all a means to an end – and that end is to tell a story.
Humans have an innate social and psychological need for stories and a hunger for knowledge – that message was at the core of much of what we heard on the day we attended, even if the sessions had names like Innovation and Creative Thinking or Perspectives and Insights from an Irish Start Up.
Finola with Alan Duggan of Tribal City Interactive, based in Galway
The Irish Start Up under discussion is a group called Tribal City Interactive and they are developing a new game called Runes of Aran. The thing is, it’s all based on Irish mythology, straight from the Leabhar Gabhála, or the Book of Invasions, which tells the story of the successive waves of people who came to Ireland. (See Robert’s post First Foot for more about the Irish origin tale told in the Leabhar Gabhála.) And the game is going to be stunning! Here’s the premise:
A storm has been raging for days. Navigation is impossible, your ship is being inexorably pulled towards a mysterious island at the edge of the world. It is a place which exists in the stories of all mariners; it is a place to be shunned. It is Aran.
The ship is finally dashed ashore at the foot of huge towering cliffs. Only you get off the ship alive, crawling ashore into a surprisingly calm bay. The cliffs form an impenetrable barrier, except for a cave that frames a massive doorway composed of two tall blue stones, capped by an even larger lintel piece. Standing in the doorway is an old man, dressed in a long grey tunic. He is Amergin the Bard, and he waits patiently for you.
Amergin explains an old magic has pulled you to this place and now you are trapped, doomed to spend the rest of your days on this lost island. Unless…
This is a still from Runes of Aran, taken from their concept video – now take a look at the video
We were also excited to see Cartoon Saloon here, talking about their projects. We love their animated films: The Secret of Kells and The Song of the Sea are both based on Irish legends and myths and both were nominated for major international awards. The Song of the Sea also uses imagery directly inspired by prehistoric Irish art. Just look at this screenshot – it manages to combine Boa Island figures with Newgrange-type spirals.
Google has a massive presence in Ireland and Google folk were here in droves. We had booked a one-to-one session in their Digital Garage, where Karl gave us excellent advice (and food for thought) on how to really look at our website and what we might consider doing a little differently.
I’ve only given you a tiny flavour of National Digital Week. We met all kinds of people here, from CEOs to hot-shot young programmers to visionary developers to people just like us, working on the fringes of technology and wanting to learn. And all of this in the heart of West Cork.
The old Lady’s Well Brewery repurposed as the Google Digital Garage
A massive vote of appreciation to the dynamic young people who run the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen and who organise this conference- what an amazing job they do. Next year, come and experience it for yourself. Oh – and don’t miss the Wall of Donuts!