“Fusing time-honoured traditions with cutting-edge media. With Fluxiom, it’s not only our mission, it’s our day-to-day process.”
For how long have you been using Fluxiom?
It’s quite recent! We started using Fluxiom to organise the 2010 edition of the festival, purely internally at first, and then to help communicate with our artists, the press and the public at large. It went pretty fast.
Does every edition entail a lot of image management or photo sharing?
We take, store and share tons of photos every year. We start with scouting locations and storing data on the artists, performances and works to be included in the programme. Then we compile and distribute promotional materials (posters, flyers, newsletters, the website itself) and we work with the press to announce and prepare the festival. Finally, we have three full-time photographers working the whole nine days attending the various performances to document them, for both publicity and archiving.
We request and output a tremendous amount of data, in a very short amount of time. Our unique, street-based setup compounds the problem: we can’t shoot in a compact studio, so we need to keep in touch with photographers who keep on moving through a large area. Creating an immersive real-life experience requires a lot of logistics.
What system does Fluxiom replace?
Very much an ad-hoc system. We used to distribute our publicity packets by email, which involved a lot of pain and attachments. As for the documentation and research, it was all traditional: FTP for storage and safekeeping, CD-ROMs and hard drives for swapping the data. It worked, but it was much slower, pretty cumbersome, and error-prone to boot.
What do you like most with Fluxiom?
Fluxiom makes decentralised, real-time collaboration a reality. Our photographers can quickly get on board, and we don’t need to train the press or our staff to download and access our archives, so we can output information as quickly as it gets in the system.
We also like that Fluxiom does not artificially distinguish between input and output: it’s as good at sharing as it is at distributing the data, which makes it a virtual hub for all our photo processing. The previewing and search features don’t hurt either, given the size of our collection, which grows as La Strada itself expands!
Has Fluxiom helped you reach out to the public?
Very much so, it’s certainly not limited to internal use. For example, during the last edition, we used large screens to present a “daily zeitgeist” capturing the big events and main performances of the day. This helps promote the festival and enhances the ephemeral now-or-never quality of some installations.
Fluxiom also enables us to easily share high-resolution images with the press: this means a wider selection and super-fresh content, without sacrificing the quality of the photos to speed-up the transfers. That also gives us a little bit more time to make our own selection, because there is less of a rush to “ship them out."
La Strada seems to enjoy a close relationship with photographers…
Definitely, and it’s part of our mission! We are all about bringing fresh artistic experiences to the general public, in a way that is relevant to modern life. Graz is a bustling city with an artistic life of its own, but La Strada is the occasion to bring that art out onto the streets, and complement it with international events.
It’s only natural for this experiment to be tracked and shared by professional photographers, who are artists in their own right, building their art atop the festival’s own. There’s also a lot of independent photography going on around the event, because some of these performances are visually quite stunning!
We like that Fluxiom does not artificially distinguish between input and output.
Were you scared about going online?
No. It was a big change for us, definitely, but La Strada is a cutting-edge festival and experiments are part of who we are. We definitely do not regret that one!