If you were at SXSW up until yesterday, you may have been accosted in one of several ways by protesters of a group who hated a man named Cain and wanted to "Stop Tarp." They threw a protest in the streets, threw dollar bills around the convention center, caused twitter uproars and otherwise seeped into the festival's consciousness. I was rude to one particularly aggressive flier-distributor, and for this I am sorry, because I now know the secret.
I did not know there was a secret at all before I stepped into the "You're Living Your Own Private Branded Experience
" panel, save for the oblique and confusing references that Lance Weiler had made on Day One
. When I stepped into Weiler's panel, just fifteen minutes late (it was deep into the interactive section of the convention center, where there are many more laptops and many fewer beards, so I got very lost), things were already out of control. There was a rogue twitterer in the audience, heckling the panelists (who also included Brian Clark, Dee Cook and Steve Peters)... and no one could stop him.
Suddenly a video of the much-protested and nowhere-to-be-found panelist Brian Cain (Creative Director of Campfire) appeared on screen -- being splashed with blood! Then Cain arrived, soaked in blood and fuming, flanked by detectives who began to search the audience for the rogue twitterer
Several audience members were called up for questioning. Things got tense. Then audience members cell phones began to ring with instruction to throw shoes at Brian Cain. Shoes were thrown. At this point the tension subsided...
REVEAL: It was all an ARG!
You confused, ignorant luddite -- an ARG
is an Alternate Reality Game. A C.I.L. myself, I was mystified. By the time the audience was decoding the protest poster using a Baconian Cipher
, my brain had melted (an interactive experience for the people sitting next to me, who I understand twittered it broadly.)
In all seriousness, I feel lucky that I got to go to the future for a few hours. Later I went back to the hotel and hid under the covers, clutching my typewriter and shivering.
Labels: sxsw austin
# posted by Alicia Van Couvering @ 3/17/2009 08:53:00 PM