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Resonate 2015 Roundup: Smart people sharing smarter things

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I spent the past week at the Resonate festival & conference. The event, held annually in Belgrade, Serbia, has the aim of “bringing together artists to drive a forward-looking debate on the position of technology in art and culture.” It was a fantastic experience and I learnt a great deal from a lot of people, with a whole bunch of smarts and experience in many different creative fields.

I decided to collect my favourite quotes and tidbits from the variety of talks, workshops, and presentations on offer over the week. I might not necessarily agree with every one but I found them to be thought-provoking, so thought I’d share (note: most of these are not word-for-word what came out of the speaker’s mouth, but as close as I could scribble down at the time).

Version 2


  • “Too often, information’s value is judged on the size of its audience: we’ve lost the power of the secret.”
  • “Once you put art out in the world, it is no longer yours. Everyone has different, valid, emotional responses. There is no way to, and no point in, trying to control them.”
  • “Record companies sell us music as reflections of ourselves, but do not allow us to share these reflections of us, these parts of ourselves, without expecting payment.”
  • “I don’t like compromising to higher-ups who make up an audience, that doesn’t exist, that is scared of newness, scared of something outside their perceived boundaries of genre. Audiences are a lot more clever than they are given credit for.”
  • “It’s fuckin’ art. It’s all valid.”

Creative Process

  • “Restrictions are good for creativity, they give you something to push against. You have to find your way around these restrictive walls, finding creativity in the cracks.”
  • “90% of the work is done in 10% of the time. It’s the last 10% that takes 90% of the time.”
  • “Don’t care too much about what other people think of are doing right now. Be confident in yourself and your taste, and do what is good for you.”
  • “Freelance work has a self-perpetuating model; if you start doing scores for crappy Hollywood films, people will come to you asking to score their crappy Hollywood film. Accept only what is vital and reject everything else: ignore the financial incentive.”
  • “I like when you see a work and don’t know how it was done.”
  • “I just make things up as I go along, going with the flow and making many iterations.”
  • “Be aware of your confirmation bias, and try every day to break it.”
  • “Unlearn to learn.”
  • “I don’t see the reason to make a piece of art if I can already visualise what the outcome will be.”
  • “I want to keep art and money separate, not allowing money to influence what I create.”

Technology & Tools

  • “There is no [musical] human-computer interface that would inspire you to spend 6 hours a day for 20 years to become a virtuoso at it, like a violin does.”
  • “I’m not interested in the tools themselves, but how they can be used.”
  • “Limiting ourselves to commercial packages limits our capability of expression.”
  • “There are no if-statements in nature.”
  • “I always relied on low-budget ingenuity rather than expensive tools to produce my work.”
  • “Code = storage + transmission + execution”.
  • “In New Media art there can be a pressure to discover and use the latest technologies and the most complicated techniques. I think it is important that technology is not at the forefront, but is a tool that we have a relationship with — just like any other tool.”
  • “It’s hard to make mistakes using software like Photoshop and 3ds Max, behind a UI. Incorporating interesting mistakes is a great source of creativity.”
  • “I’m not bound to a certain media: what connects my works is the concept.”
  • “We are electric.”


  • “I’m not interested in writing the story so much at all, but in the editing, framing and construction of images, which is a whole other language to tell stories in.”
  • “Don’t succumb to the idea that it has to mean something, but that it can make you feel something.”
  • “Narrative has been done to death.”
  • “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

And finally…

  • “Fuck tradition.”

Thanks to everyone who made Resonate 2015 happen; as you can tell, it was a very informative and constructive event, and I’ve left Belgrade full of ideas and creativity.

If you have any words of wisdom you’ve picked up over the years, feel free to comment below!


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