Brendan Dawes
The Aesthetics of Form and Code

That Was The Week That Was — 22nd December 2019

The Dubai large screen visualisation enquiry I had last week has now been moved back to a little later in the New Year, so the pressure is off over the Christmas period.

Before I started to wind things down I had one more talk to do before the close of 2019, in Barcelona as part of OFFF's monthly series of talks in partnership with IDEAL. The IDEAL venue is a purpose built space which features a 1000 metre square 360 degree projection system. After seeing the space online I was really looking forward to presenting there.

Arriving at the airport I was pleasantly suprised to see how quiet it was — negating me paying for premium fast track security. Even though I was the only one on that queue, they still pulled my bag out. Probably because I was the only one using that lane. Maybe they were bored.

A man called Carlos was waiting for me on my arrival into BCN. He asked if I was into football. I said no. The planned conversation of talking about El Classico — happening just after I landed — didn't exactly pan out.

Everytime I travel I always regret having not put the time in to learn another language such as Spanish or French. There's still time of course, but apparently it's a lot harder the older you get. I must make a concerted effort this year to do it.

After checking in to the hotel I dialled up Foursquare to see where I could go to get something to eat. I ended up at a burger place called Timesburg. The burger was good. It was noticeable how the couples in there were actually talking to each other instead of staring into their phones.

The following day was mine to do with as I pleased, as the talk wasn't till 8pm. Breakfast was at a lovely place called Little Fern — smashed avo with poached eggs. Proper hipster. I stay off the coffee on the day of a talk as it doesn't do my throat any favours, going for mint tea instead, which is much better for the vocal chords. Wandering around the neighbourhood after breakfast I realised how nice the Pablenou area is, having never stayed in this area before. It had a nice relaxed vibe to it, yet there were lots of cafe's, restaurants and places to just sit and watch the world go by. Apparently it's one of the trendy areas of Barcelona.

Taking the L1 Metro, I headed into the city centre and then on to the Mies Van de Rohe pavilion. As a big Bauhaus fan, I wanted to see this much talked about building. Four stops later on the L4 I discovered it was closed for the day as an artist intervention was being installed. Arse. I guess I should have checked the website before taking the journey. Still, there was a very nice fountain near by, so I sat for a while, writing in my notebook as the street hawkers tried to sell various bits of tat to the occasional passing tourist.

I arrived at the venue just before 7:30, ready to setup and do a tech check. The space was even better than I imagined, and I even had time to check out the Monet VR experience, which was very magical, travelling through his paintings in a very immersive way.

As we were setting up and doing the tech check just before people would start to come in, one of the AV crew came over said there was a slight problem, in that I would have to my Mac sat by the sound desk. No problem I can just use a remote to control it. Yet that's were the problem was. They didn't have a remote tonight, so the proposal was for me to literally say 'next slide' whenever I wanted to move on. This really wasn't going to work for me, so after thinking about how we could solve it, I realised I could probably download an app on my phone and control the presentation over Bluetooth. I download Air Presentation and it seemed to work great. Only thing was the Mac was actually out of range on the sound desk. We then switched to Wifi and it worked perfectly.

The talk went well, and the audience was great — even having time to have a great discussion at the end.

I left the venue just after 10pm and rather than go for a drink, I was ready to just head back to the hotel as I was being picked-up at 7:30am the next morning to head back home.

At the airport the next morning I spent most of time writing in my notebook. BCN was wonderfully quiet. Couldn't wait to get home and get ready for Christmas and the coming new year.