CX & Design November 19, 2018
The little secrets that Kikk festival holds
Kikk is the yearly Festival of Digital & Creative Cultures, in Namur, Belgium. Two days a year, this picturesque city comes to life to receive and accommodate creatives from all around the globe. At the conference, there’s a number of shared values between speakers. They all try to bring something inspiring to the room. Most succeed, others don’t. Especially in the latter category, some can’t seem to avoid cliché slides like ‘Trust your gut feeling’ and ‘To lead change, be the change’, often dooming their credibility from the start. Then there are the good stories, those that you leave with and think about on your way back home.
Going to Kikk often means meeting the weird and the insolite. Its organisers consistently invite original creators each year who share their stories to the amazement of most. 2018 didn’t fall short of that. When entering the scene, you are welcomed into a movielike theatre with a hand-painted ceiling and golden artefacts all around, setting the mood for something special: friendly people, very good organisation and, wait for it, it is completely free of charge.
Dominic, inventor and technologist with an enviable sense of humour, from Sunderland in the UK, is responsible for a number of remarkable creations. ‘The Little Inventors’ is probably the most relevant, a project which goal is to stimulate and inspire children to become the inventors of the future. In 2015, he invited 400 young creators to draw any invention they would like. The best ideas were then built by talented craftsman and the final pieces exhibited in a museum in Sunderland. The idea was so successful that the project still runs today at littleinventors.org, where children can upload drawings and the most applauded get to be created by devoted makers.
Dominic didn’t stop there, in 2016 he went on to create the ‘World’s First Art Exhibition for Dogs’ As the name suggests, one where our dear canine friends could wander around and appreciate art commissioned and chosen especially for them, together with lots of other good pieces worth glancing on his website.
DBLG’s talk is a cocktail of classic British humour and a showcase of great work. Grant Gilbert brings a message he calls ‘Creativity Sometimes’ – vague at first but somewhat meaningful by the end of the talk. He shares the process of a variety of projects where, on all occasions, creatives disconnect from the screen in order to solve design challenges. For Channel 4’s rebranding, a British public-service television broadcaster, they started by reproducing the elements of the current logo in wood. Those were used to toss around and explore new ideas with the whole team, a way of work hard to achieve when attached to a screen moving shapes around.
This process of going from digital to physical and back repeats itself on most of their projects. They go from a simple yet hypnotising stop motion of a bear walking up some stairs, to the branding of the BFI London Film Festival, this one also started with a very physical approach leading up to the digital assets generated in the end. Creativity often means, in Gilbert’s own words – ‘having to break things apart before reassembling them’.
Founder of her very own studio, Kate masters grand scale projection design and techniques. She worked on the main act of the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremony.
At Kikk, she brings in an honest and transparent view of how her creative processes work. First by showing jaw-dropping footage of her latest work, then by giving a real impression on what happens behind the scenes. Kate expressed how products hide lots of sweat and tears, but also honestly speaks about projects where she had no clue about what she was doing, only to strive forth and succeed. Often viewers have the impression that such amazing acts are done by experts, but they are generally put together by ambitious creatives, combined with a sequence of happy accidents and a jar of lucky coincidences.
Kate is also the mastermind behind other big creations. Creating the visuals for an Elton John show in Las Vegas is one she surely showed pride about. Less known but no less cool, The Passchendaele Centenary Ypres and The Fast & Furious Live World tour are two other pieces worth mentioning from her impressive collection of work.
Inspiration and Kikk
There we are, sitting at our corporate desk, drinking our corporate coffee from our corporate mug, putting on our best creative face. The pace is high, our talented brains respond to challenges with top-notch solutions for our clients. Day after day we hop in and out of different project teams to deliver and make sure the show goes on. Kikk provides just the chance to step out of this corporate bubble and step in the creative processes of inventors and creators from other spectrums.
Creatives rely on a set of ingredients to stay on the treadmill, a pleasant work environment, a capable team and above all, inspiration. Every now and then, the latter slips through our fingers when we most need it, those might be signs of you needing some new stimulus. In many Romanic languages, Inspira translates to inspire, but can also mean ‘to breath in’. We can’t inhale inspiration, but we should never stop looking for alternative ways to stay inspired.
Following your trusted design blogs as a source of inspiration won’t keep you afloat for long, you unconsciously end up in this vicious circle of creating from solutions invented by others. At Kikk you get in touch with other forms of expression entirely disconnected from our industry, you get to stimulate your creative senses on a much greater level than through more conventional methods.
By handpicking the presenters, Kikk shows a consistent level of quality, which derives from the passion presented by those who come to show their work. Most speakers unconsciously share the power to inspire attendees to be brutal and deny comfort, the opposite may relegate you to a not so ambitious place in the creative industry. Simultaneously, they remind us that creative processes involve pain at first instance and joy and fulfilment only later on.
Twelve months later, we are still sitting at our corporate desk, with our corporate mug, but after spending a full year helping our clients grow as best as we can within our confined corporate bubble, we have already forgotten all of the important mantras mentioned above. So for a good creative reset and a big loaf of inspiration, creatives should head towards Kikk, once again. Creating a circular tradition to keep us all inspired, for as long as this happening exists.