Last night, I accompanied Danielle Siembieda, Community Engagement and Special Projects Manager for zero1, to Girl Geek Dinner (GGD) held at Perforce, a Tech company in (Downtown) Alameda, CA. Granted, it’s some distance away from Silicon Valley but seemingly filled with just as much energy and innovation (if not more). You can read more about Perforce’s revision control system here.
Upon entering the GGD, friendly, smiling faces welcomed me (as well as a lot of pink and purple decor). In the main office downstairs, everyone was preparing for the evening and running about and this is where I noticed the P4 robot. One of the Perforce employees actually created an entire costume that looks just like the plush doll you see above. I regret not taking a photo but I learned pictures will be posted to the company’s blog! Overall, the ambiance and environment was fun and inviting.
Nobody likes to have expectations but I have to admit, I had them. Quite frankly, I assumed the many engineers, programmers, and web developers would be out of my league when it came time to discuss new media arts. I know very little about the technical side (I don’t count playing around in Processing as technical knowledge either). There was a lot of trepidation to engage in conversation but when asked about the art writing and my strong interest in new media artists, some of the discussions ended up being much more lively than I had expected.
I met James Creasy, a Perforce Product Technology Manger, who is also an artist. Some wonderful discussion ensued about art and technology. I also learned that his job entails looking at trends and seeing what new technologies people are using and what has needs to be created. Ashley, a Tech recruiter, and Christine, CEO of Sharefund, joined in the conversation. It was definitely a sweet start to the evening.
A couple of memorable events: 1) Defining ‘geekiness’ and 2) Discussing new media art with programmers and engineers and hearing, “Hmmm, what is new media art? I don’t really know what you mean by that?”
1) Seeing what defined ‘geekiness’ last night, well, to me, those things aren’t geeky (i.e., building a 3D printer, being the only girl in the math club in high school, and having multiple Apple devices, etc.). All of these things are pretty awesome. I’m no mathlete BUT I love mapping and flow charting my writing ideas, I’m a sucker for continental philosophy, and own multiple Apple devices. Oh, and I’m into corny jokes (now, THAT is really geeky). So, perhaps, I fit in more than I originally thought.
2) Now, this is my passion. I’ll spare you transcripts of the conversations but let’s just say it was great to discuss new media arts with technologists. From electronics to robotics to programming and immersive environments, I was more than happy to discuss new media arts, conceptually and philosophically. Hoping I sparked some interest but just as long as one person engages in fruitful and thought-provoking conversation around the topic, I’m happy.
The question after last night, Would I do another GGD?
Yes!! The dinners are facilitated and hosted by different companies but I’m totally into going to these events after all the unique conversations I had from last night. Next time: I’m bringing a stack of business cards! 🙂