When we came up with our theme of Handmade for this year’s festival we sketched out a list of ideas that it meant to us, one of which was the realisation that a festival wasn’t actually a concrete thing without an audience. In many ways the process of designing a festival is like designing a game. You’re creating a possibility space for an experience – an experience that becomes unique for everyone who comes along, influenced by their focus, their desires, their relationship to the speakers or the topic or each other, and things as simple as where they sit in the room.
And, just like in a game, you can’t predict exactly what that’s going to look like. You can’t hold a beta phase for a festival or playtest it or run metrics to find out what will happen when 200 people get together in a room.
And that’s brilliant.
Because for us it means that people feel a sense of ownership over the event, the conversation that comes out of it, the space we’ve created, and the realisation (which is easily to forget in the emotional up and down of actually producing the festival) that what happens during Freeplay actually matters to people.
Thanks to you all for coming, for being passionate, for being engaged, for sharing, and for letting us continue to do it all.
We look forward to the conversations between now and Freeplay 2012. And we look forward to announcing our first post-festival project taking place in late September with the National Gallery of Victoria. More on that very, very soon.
In the meantime, we’ve put up the photos from all of our events. Enjoy!