The Saga

thesaga1-1216In early November, I had the opportunity to attend CCUMC in San Antonio. The city was amazing, the food was delicious and the conference was great. To read more about the conference and why you should attend (or exhibit) please see my other article in rAVe ED on the subject.

In this column, I want to write about an experience I had while at the conference. Being from Maine, I really enjoy visiting warmer climates in the winter. Yes, when you are from Maine, even early November counts as winter. To be walking around in shorts and a t-shirt at 9 p.m. at night in November is simply a treat a true Mainer will never pass up. So, one evening I decided to stroll off the river walk and go into a part of the city I had not experienced. During this walk I happened to come up the display of “The Saga.”

“San Antonio — The Saga” is an art installation that tells the story of the great city of San Antonio. For those of you who may have forgotten, San Antonio has a rich history and is the site of the Alamo. So, an art installation depicting this history has a deep well of resources. The art piece is indeed an “installation.” It is a 24-minute video that tells the story of San Antonio through images, sound and imagery. According to sources it covers about 7,000 square feet and cost over one million dollars. Projection of the story on the San Fernando Cathedral only adds to the piece. The Cathedral is the oldest operating church in the United States. The picture of the Cathedral during the day was taken from Wikipedia in order to show the beauty of it with no imagery.

thesaga2-1216When I stumbled upon the show, I was stuck between being amazed by the experience and trying to find the technology. This was the first time I had seen a projection onto a building in person. I had seen it on television (at Buckingham Palace and the Olympics opening), but that does not do justice to the real experience. This was art crafted specifically for this building. All the angles, spires and corners were taken into account as the piece was created.

440px-san_fernando_cathedral-1216After a small amount of time, I forgot about the technology and just enjoyed the show. And that is the point of this month’s column. We often (as techies, tech managers, consultants) focus on the technology. We sometimes tend to forget about the show, the beauty, the experience and the art. Whether we are designing an outdoor projection or building a classroom, it matters. The technology should always be secondary to the show. It is only there to support the show, and not to be enjoyed on its own. Next time you are designing something, take some time and think about what you are trying to show off. It should be the content, or the art and not the technology.

While we cannot all take off for San Antonio to see this display, if you get a chance, do it! The show is expected to run several nights per week for the next decade.

Bottom image via Wikipedia. Other photos by Scott Tiner.