The Startupfest 2013 artwall embodies our “startup stories” theme

When we inaugurated Startupfest a mere 3 years ago, we wanted to create a different experience than what you would typically expect from a tech conference: so we brought you an “artwall.” The notion of using a collaborative piece of art was such a big success, that we’ve made a bit of a tradition out of it! First year’s artwall was all about new experiences, and last year’s artwall was all about what matters…but what do we have in store for you this coming July? Well we’ve decided to truly embody this year’s theme (“Startup Stories”), by inviting every Startupfest go-er to to join us in creating a story. A collaborative story.

How will it work? Like last year, everyone will have a chance to color artwall tiles. But this year, we’re asking everyone to flex their creative muscles a little bit more by coming up with one sentence of a story line. The first tile will hold the first line of the story, the second tile will build off the first and so on…until all 400 of our tiles come together to create one, big, Startupfest story!

Every great company has a story, and every startup has a story. Stories make us who we are, and we want to weave together something exceptional this year!

Please read the following words from the wall’s designer and Raison d’Art representative, Nathalie Hazan (without whom this would be possible!):

I create “artwalls” because I believe in the power of collaboration and innate creativity. For me, working with others allows my art to be complex and ambitious – on a scale that would otherwise be out of reach of any individual working in isolation.

When I begin to think of an image, I start with a simple idea or universal shape. For this artwall, the circle was my inspiration: simple and universal. By bringing together many circles, I was able to access a different type of grid from the square grid I have used in my previous work. The circular grid offers the experience of a new perceptual framework because there are spaces that are void. In my eyes, these void spaces allow the viewer to interpret what they see (and what they do not see).

I make a connection between this perceptual experience and an individual’s potential to tell a story. When we tell our story to someone, they have the opportunity of filling in the blanks as they understand and interpret it. The representational image of this artwork is the storyteller and the perceptual experience is the story that we each see in it.

I have been fascinated with creating a narrative environment – an installation space in which stories can unfold. The artwall this year is structured on a transparent wall, on one side people will tell their stories, on the other they will read it. I hope that at times people will wonder if they are the storyteller or the viewer. The story that is told will be collaborative and use a variety of media including drawing, video, words, and stop frame animation. To me all of this truly means that I am working on a scale that allows each person to be artists; hopefully in a way that tells their story as well.