Interview with Kasey McMahon (Win Free Tix to Re Evolution!)

By now, most of you are probably familiar with Kasey McMahon's work from our posts here on the blog. Now she's busy preparing for a very exciting project called Re Evolution here in Los Angeles—a sort of science/tech/art expo being planned for next Spring. The bad news is: you need to come to LA to see it in person. The good news is: neatorama is going to send TWO lucky winners to Re Evolution to stream the expo LIVE to the rest of the world so if you can't be here in person, at least you'll be able to experience some of it here on our site.

All you have to do to win is answer the questions at the end of this interview and send us your answers (please don't leave them in the comments!). While we'll comp your tickets into the festival, we can't provide travel or lodging. Nor can we give you and iPhone to stream this (via Ustream or such). SO, please only enter the contest if you're close to Los Angeles and have some sort of device like an iPhone to stream from. Thanks! Wouldn't want to waste the free tix on a RIM user in Maine now would we ;-)

DI: What's the idea behind Re Evolution? Who dreamed it up and why should we care?

KM: Re Evolution is a large-scale science, technology and art festival in Los Angeles. It's my dream come to life through the help of a phenomenal group of people. We are combining love for science, technology and art and a desire to ignite curiosity and interest in the fields. Art and outrageous feats of engineering have a fantastic way of instilling wonder, with Re Evolution we're looking to create an environment that echoes the pervading sense of optimism for the future that the World's Fairs of the past seemed to instill. We want to show the beauty, fun, power and possibilities of science and technology and to help people understand how these tools work and how exciting creative applications of them can be.

DI: Of course, a lot of the success of the 2011 expo will depend on funding. So I notice you've rolled out a Kickstarter campaign to crowdsource raising the dough. Tell us about it.

KM: Yes, Kickstarter felt like an excellent grassroots start to Re Evolution and a great way to get the word out. We're excited to share what we are creating and to be able to offer tickets to the event to people that believe in what we're doing.

DI: What happens if you don't raise the 30K through Kickstarter? Then what? Is there a chance the expo won't happen at all?

KM: We're certainly hoping we will be successful with Kickstarter. We do realize, though, that the majority of funding for this project will come from other sources. We are actively fundraising on many fronts - applying for grants and seeking sponsorship. If we are not able to raise the funds through Kickstarter, the show will still happen.

DI: Lots of our readers don't live in Southern Cali. Is there a way for them to see some of what's going on? Virtually or something?


KM: Yes, we do plan on having virtual content.

DI: When was the last time something on this scale has been attempted?

KM: There are a few festivals of this scale, notably Robodock in Amsterdam. The artists and technologists involved in Re Evolution have built on this scale before for different events around the world. Re Evolution is unique in that we are coming together, focusing on the science and technology behind much of what we do and giving it a very futuristic flair. Re Evolution will be large-scale, but we are predominantly interested in providing an immersive, tightly curated experience. In our first year, we're aiming for quality content over epic scale.

DI: In your fantasies, what's the takeaway from Re Evolution?

KM: To ignite the imagination. To instill wonder. To give a techno-optimistic view of the future. To build understanding and comfort with science and technology and to truly make them fun. By enlivening these subjects, we hope to inspire people to study engineering and science. Wonder inspires curiosity, curiosity drives discovery… Apparently, as a child Carl Sagan attended the 1939 World's Fair and it was a turning point in his life - we'd like to spark that kind of interest. We live in a time when science fiction is reality - the tools we are using are becoming more and more complex. Our hope is that by providing accessible, fun, hands-on and creative applications of science and tech that people will get excited about these subjects and about the future.

DI: You're not doing this solo. Tell us about some of your partners.

KM: Definitely not doing this solo. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by an amazing group of people that are helping bring this to life. At this point there are approximately 30 professionals involved in the project with years of experience in creating, building, and wrangling technology and art and bringing it to the people under various challenging conditions. A few of the folks involved:

Poetic Kinetics - large-scale kinetic sculpture design and fabrication. Notably built a phenomenal kinetic piece for the Beijing Olympics that included giant puppetry, aerial performance, animatronics and modern dance, with the aid of heavy equipment.

Syd Klinge - Mad art scientist. Built the largest dueling tesla coils in the world. Latest projects are a 30' pipe organ that plays Jacob's ladders and a 40' fire tornado built with John Taylor.

Christian Ristow - Kinetic Sculptor and Roboticist. Latest endeavor is the Hand of Man.

Rudy Coby - The coolest magician on Earth, demonstrating the magic behind science and tech

Syyn Labs - A group of creative engineers that twist together art and technology

And on the more academic side, we are teaming with the Hybrid Reality Institute for some inspiring salon and lecture content exploring our evolving relationship with technology.

An endeavor like this requires the help of many. It's a fun, challenging undertaking and we're all looking forward to a fantastic year ahead… thanks for your help in making Re Evolution a reality!
Here’s how to score the free passes: Answer the following four questions and send them to me: david ‘at’ neatorama.com.

1) What platform is Kasey using to raise money for this project?

2) Do you have a way to stream live from your phone or other such device?

3) Are you 100% sure your answer to the previous question is 'yes'?!

4) Will you be able to get to Los Angeles next Spring for this festival (because we can't fly you or put you up!)

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