stealing eyeballs – designing media

stealing eyeballs – designing media

The digital dynamic dominates current social developments. Over the last decade, the computer established itself as the central and practically universal means of production and distribution, while simultaneously eroding the very concept of "the centre": the contours of today's culture can no longer be localised, instead they are in constant oscillation within this new net of globally linked digital machines. At the same time, the digital revolution has brought about a renaissance in the disciplines of design. As creators of interfaces, for example, media designers are responsible for the applicability of complex technologies as well as the organisation of information, thereby occupying key positions in society at the intersection of culture and technology. At the same time, media designers increasingly take on responsibility for content in different areas as technology developers, directors, authors, theorists, consultants, thereby profiting from the rapidly expanding potential of their digital instruments. These new challenges, tasks, roles and the creative space for media designers are the theme of the exhibition and series of events titled stealing eyeballs – designing media.

The title phrase is one frequently found in connotation with the Internet, coined by the radical changes in perception and competitor relationships wrought by the medium. Increasingly, the array of media choice makes "stealing" the attention of a mass audience a necessity. This "theft" as a creative manoeuvre, in the context of ever greater competition in the race to obtain the limited store of our attention, requires continual innovation in design and engagement with the very latest advances in technology.

Starting from relevant positions in the area of "old media", stealing eyeballs attempts to articulate the current shift towards "new media" and to draw comparisons between linear and interactive media. The focus includes graphic design but also particularly web design, experiments and applications with mobile typography (motion graphics), as well as new forms of digital film production.

Spatial concentration and media distribution, monographic reduction and variations in content, equality of prerequisites and resulting disparity are the central parameters of a concept as simple as it is strict: stealing eyeballs presents ten international positions that embody the profusion of different methods, working approaches, division of responsibilities, stylistics and theoretical concepts that exist in current media design. Web design, broadcast design, motion graphics, film title design, animation, interactivity research, online games, print design, illustration and typographical films, as characteristic genres, are at the centre of this decentralised exhibition project.

The primary forum is the Künstlerhaus in Vienna, which will showcase this theme and a full programme throughout one month. Ten interactive, walk-through multimedia installations, specifically conceived for stealing eyeballs, will be on permanent display. They present either a representative cross-section of the contributor's oeuvre or key excerpts from particular works. The exhibition architecture, designed by propeller z, offers each participant exactly the same spatial and technical conditions for their presentation, functioning together with the visual appearance as a link between the real and media exhibition components: stealing eyeballs is not only a media-design exhibition but a design exhibition in the mass media. In the context of the project, each contributor will design a full page in the Austrian daily Der Standard. At the same time, they will create short clips to be screened in public on over 50 large-format screens in Vienna's subway stations. This media exposure alone will enable the "stealing" of millions of eyes. The goal, however, is to redirect and extend these glimpses: stealing eyeballs will not only prove the relevance of media design through these key examples but will focus on the processes involved in their creation. An integral part of the exhibition will involve each designer in presenting their ideas in lectures and multimedia performances, to provide commentary upon the works and provoke debate about them.

stealing eyeballs aims to stake out territory for itself not only at the international level but also in relation to the special situation of media design in Austria itself. Two Designers' Sundays are scheduled, at which a further ten selected media designers based in Vienna will display their work. As an additional programme feature, a selection of mainly typographical films, put together by the London Festival for Digital Film onedotzero, will be screened.