Designer fired for having an opinion about Bush

I just heard this story about a designer, Glen Hiller, from agency, Octavo Designs, being fired for heckling George W. Bush at a politcal rally.

Apparently one of Octavo Design’s clients had provided the tickets to the event and took objection. It’s pretty scary that something like this could happen. It seems likely that Hiller could take his former employer to an industrial tribunal and win, but he has no plans to get his job back.

I’m surprised there are even tickets to these events, but perhaps that’s to stop hoards of people turning up to shout Bush down for being so inept. It also shows the shallowness of the advertising agency world when they suck up to clients so dreadfully. Surely they pride themselves on their originality and creativity? They probably even trade on their hip, cutting edge understanding of youth markets. I can’t tell at the moment because their site doesn’t appear to be working at present.

Individuality, thinking outside of the box (including the ballot box), voicing opinions when others shy away are all markers of a creative mind, particularly in advertising. It just shows how governments and big-business are in each other’s pockets. What was the client doing giving out tickets to a Bush rally if they didn’t expect people to voice their opinions? It’s hardly like sending out complimentary tickets to The Lion King after all.

Have fun with nuclear reactors

I just received this invite:

Saturday, 21 August 2004 10:30am to 4pm New Illawarra Road, Lucas Heights

Have fun and learn about the fascinating world of materials science at Australia’s only nuclear facility.

There will be a range of hands-on opportunities for people to learn about the diverse and exciting materials that make up our world. From bugs and drugs to bridges, roads and buildings.

Further information: www.ansto.gov.au/msd

Now, is it just me or does “having fun at Australia’s only nuclear facility” sound a little odd?

I, Robot – a very short review

I finally saw I, Robot the other night wondering what Alex Proyas might have made of the famous Asimov story. I had the interesting experience of working with/for him creating his Mystery Clock Cinema site (the navigation was changed by his crew since). I haven’t read the original but I have some idea of what the gist of it was from all the other reviews of the Proyas film.

In the end it was typical Alex, long on style and mysteriousness and a little short on performance from the prinicpal cast. It’s a little hard to tell with Will Smith really. He’s funny and carries himself well (and he has buffed up for the film), but I found it hard to believe his sense of moral outrage and character journey. For my money the best performance was from the robot, Sonny.

Another thought that crossed my mind was this: In many visions of the future robots are painted as slaves doing all our menial tasks. Granted, we do use robots for repetitive jobs such as welding cars or for dangerous jobs such as bomb disposal. But these tend not to be smart robots, they have little artificial intelligence, if any, and tend to be either pre-programmed to make a set of moves or controlled by a human.

What has happened in robotics is that most of them that have made it into the mainstream are not slaves at all, they are pets and companions. It seems likely that the terrible Kubrick/Spielberg mess of a film A.I. is more likely to be the way robotics goes. Humans tend to imbue even dumb machines (like this computer or my car) with human attributes. It seems we can’t avoid anthropomorphising everything – from pets to machines. My guess is that it will be humans that defend robots against other humans much more than intelligent robots defending themselves. Robots would probably see the logic of a situation and take the path of least or most probability for a successful outcome.

How to be Creative

Just saw this thread titled How to be Creative doing the rounds. As someone who spends his time trying to teach others to be creative, and lamenting my own lack of dedication/time in the process, I can truly say it’s spot on. It’s nice to see this has been picked up so much on Popdex too.

Update – 27.11.04 Okay, now I have to admit to being quite addicted to Hugh’s Gaping Void site. It’s really interesting to see someone’s mind unfold and publicly work through and idea and it’s a real gift from him to do it. Of course, he’s attracted a lot of attention in the process, so it just goes to show that being open and giving has some kind of karmic return (I hope).