I am half way with my artist-in-residency at Lake Studio Berlin, just finished an intensive one-on-one mentorship with Mark Coniglio, the creator of Isadora, the primary artistic tool that I use. It has been just a bit over 8 years since I worked with Mark, since then, every since I was mentored by him, my career made a huge departure and still soaring now. I remember meeting this ultra genius and unique soul who creates such an inspiring art and tools that totally speaks my language—it was exactly what I was yearning for. Over the course of 8 years, it had been my primary tool for my art, usually tools are there to be used, then you hop on the next one when something new comes up. I had been curious why I stick with this particular one. I started to think, it’s about time to take the next step to go really deep with this amazing vehicle that has carried me through these years of artistic journey.
Finally, I took on the next step, and go right into the heart of it. Applied funding to go to Berlin right in the transition period of Isadora, attended the first international gathering of Isadora users and get to be mentored by the creator. It’s like a dream-come-true opportunity, I was trying to squeeze the life out of me by pulling out everything that I have accumulated in the past 8 years, and still, there wasn’t much that I could really challenge this ultra genius. I really worked so hard without a specific goal, but to be creative and think far.
The way that Mark works really convinced me of his success, he can still work like I used to in my early 20s during urgent state such as having to design a show in a few days. I started to wonder why he doesn’t take a back seat and create a company where people can just work for him and that the whole business could run on its own. One thing that inspired me the most is here, which answered one of the question why I stuck around with Isadora for so long. I realized that he has created Isadora really solely to support artists to create their art, to actualize the unknown, the curiosity, the imagination and from the virtual to the real. Even with the huge significant success of the software as a marketable commercial product as thus far, he still hasn’t express much of his interest taking on that route.
I realized that the income from selling the software is extremely modest, even the Isadora gathering/conference, usually that’s the best time to make money for most of the corporations, but they actually didn’t at all. After years of being a professional artist, I had been leaning towards career-driven, money matter and marketing/business plans, and here I am engaging with someone that I thought already so successful out there doing such significant and meaningful things that are both highly marketable both artistically and commercially—it didn’t seem to matter so much, the intention was very pure—it had always been about the arts, something for the creativity, the heart and the soul. It never seemed to be forgotten. And I think that’s the reason why I am so drawn to this software, and this wonderful community of people, and especially to get to know and spend time with this respectful creator, someone who really stick to their vision and philosophy.
I can’t help it but realize how lucky I am, to be able to have this dream-come-true experience, and getting to know this hero in depth, in person, and finding out such inspiring stories and philosophies. This is one thing that I really want to share with the world—you can ignore those conservative minds/old assholes out there who will be telling you what you cannot do and what the real world is—about money, profits and giving up dreams, because there are people like Mark Coniglio (or to name a few, Giorgio Magnanensi who happen to be in the same age as Mark) who’s really kicking it real, with the utmost childlike spirit, endless curiosity and staying true with their vision. This is what makes us beyond ourselves, beyond the ego and the capitalist existentialist-crisis.
It’s really funny that throughout the process, we have solved numerous technical difficulties and trouble shoot lots of hardcore issues, we completed everything with a tremendous sense of fulfilment, then at last, Mark tried to find a way to type an emoji on Facebook and asked me if I know how, and the two of us new media artists cannot figure it out. We ended with a high-tech satisfaction and an adorable poetic metaphor of life.
(Mark showing off his newly replaced second hand Nokia phone probably a 8 year old model, since his last Nokia phone that he’s been using in the last 10 years or so just finally stopped working, I just have so much respect for this man)
During the Isadora Werkstatt, I got to meet with one of the veteran Isadora user/media artist John Collingswood in person where we had some of the most meaningful and whimsical discussion about the intersection between spirituality and technology online in the past years. It really feel like a global family getting together.
(thank you Fubbi Karlsson for suggesting the unreal economic food choices by Ufertstudio)
Fubbi is another crazy guy who just knows so much, and really knows what to do with the technology and how to enjoy life, he lead a really awesome workshop Bang with Efx during the werkstatt.
(photo with Fubbi, Francesco & Eva after completing the big strike of the crazy setup for Isadora Werkstatt wrap party, Jaygo should be in the photo, too )
photo collage from Bang with Efx/Isadora Werkstatt Wrap Party