Archive for February, 2006

Photo Generation

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

As we enlarge the circle of those discovering our site, we have benefitted from thorough feedback, ideas and participation. (One of the changes in this ongoing process of beta testing is evident on our home page for this week. Take a look.)

The submission of photographs from festivals has been an exciting - and fun - aspect of our growth, and recognition. Every morning we review what has come in; pass it around; and perform acts of joy at what we see. Each photo - and those in a series - gives a genuine flavor of the event, place, artists, and audiences. We have set up a system for the photos on the home page to rotate through different kinds of performances from different places each week. (Maybe in the future we’ll run another “kontest” to choose the best one of each season? Wait until you see some of the ones coming up in the next weeks!)

No festival pays to have their photos highlighted on the home page. In fact — and it is a very important point for us — no festival pays for any of our information and materials on this site. This is also true of artists and artistic companies who submit information and materials.

One of the ways we can be a comprehensive site for the performing arts festivals around the world is to give all festivals and artists an open platform for promoting, informing and educating audiences and cultural tourists about their performance work. This kind of level playing field also extends to the types of festivals. If you have been diving into the site you will find high art, low art, wild art, calm art, loud art, soft art… you get the idea.

What each festival shares is the creation of a community. No matter how large or how small the event, people come together to share in the delight, exploration and discovery of another citizen’s expression. Pretty cool, when you think about it. Mix in different cultures, languages (linguistic and artistic), and points of view, and it’s even cooler.

This idea of “creation of a community” is exactly what we are trying to do here on the site. Think about this: as you are reading this, there is a good chance that someone in Argentina, Estonia, Kenya, Lebanon, New Zealand, Spain and United States is also here at this moment. (And that’s just a random sample.)

As we continue our process of beta-testing — and letting more and more know about the site — we hope the community forum will be a place to engage in the “conversation”. For one example, if you are with a festival, you can “talk” about your festival, your work, or ask questions to the field.

If you haven’t registered for the forum, go ahead — it, too, is free (!), private, no hassle, and you’ll get that little tingle to know that you belong to a new community. (Just like a child’s first day at a new school when they exhale and feel so much better knowing that they have found a friend. Remember?)

In this phase of beta testing, we are beginning to introduce everyone we know to the site. You can help us by doing the same: share the site with any and all. We thrive on the feedback; we delight in the submission of materials; and, we are grateful for sites adding us as a link.

- Bill Reichblum

Alpha Contest; Beta Home

Tuesday, February 7th, 2006

The newest iteration of our home page is now live on the site. If you have been following our progress during this beta testing period, you know that each week we have been refining the site based on user experience, and adding to the site with contributions from our team, festivals, artists and other users.

Throughout this process, the site is positioned as a weekly destination point. For those real fans of ours (those that check the site at least once every seven hours!), you know that each day we add or adjust site content, such as new announced dates for a festival, or new background links, or new festivals. At the beginning of each week, new information is highlighted on our home page. The weekly schedule also lets us plan new roll-outs of options, tools and possibilities.

The new home page has developed a process of transformation. Last week, there was a transition page from the earlier design to the current one. There are now four areas from which you are able to begin: Spotlight on what’s happening right now in the world; Experiment with different ways of searching through the site and capturing all the different kinds of content we have; Create your own voice on the site through the forum or this blog; and Contribute information, festival stories, photographs or other content.

As always, please do not hesitate to give us feedback on the design, usability, and any Palazzo Ducale oversight - by intention or not. (Ok, that was a pretty obscure reference. But, it’s a game we often play: replace a common phrase or proper name with a cultural/artistic/fun reference.)

So, let’s begin the first KadmusArts Kontest: if you write me (via the blog comments) the meaning of the reference, you win a free drink the next time I am traveling through your neighborhood.

Assuming that you are an honest person — a good position to have when meeting someone — you can’t play the game if you click on this link which will tell you about the connection between our design feedback and what’s notable about Duke Federico de Montefeltro’s design.

Don’t forget to keep checking the site and letting us know what you think, and what you dream for the site.

- Bill Reichblum