Ever since my colleague Mariana Santos was a student, she's had a (barely suppressed) desire to appear at OFFF – one of Europe's liveliest celebrations of creativity in the visual arts. This tidal wave of enthusiasm was sufficient to carry nearly all our team to Barcelona, where we engaged in a frantic week helping her tick items off her bucket list.
The first job was building a shed. Jonathan and Robin had risen to the occasion and completed an most of the hammering and assembly before I arrived. We then fitted it out with a comfy chair, a large flatscreen and a variety of gadgetry. Outside the shed, Mariana created her interpretation of a Guardian theme by parking the Three Little Pigs (from our recent ad campaign) on a small patch of astroturf. Putting it all together in less than a day wasn't easy, but we were bucked up by Joshua Davis offering us some late night encouragement and a can of Red Bull. The result was The Whole Picture – an interactive installation that enabled punters to watch a sequence of some of the Guardian's most evocative photography.
Whilst the video was playing, a camera tracked people's faces and Robin's software captured the changing states of their mouths, eyes and eyebrows. The data was then used to display fast motion playbacks of the last five viewers on an external screen. This montage created a “Three Stooges” effect which generated enough intrigue to keep people queueing up to have a go all week long.
Once the installation was up and running, we moved on to writing our presentation, planning a workshop and seeing some of Barcelona. This culminated in a hectic day where we helped two groups of curious creatives to present their views of OFFF in an interactive report, then sped across town to the festival site to give our talk.
I fear the talk itself may never live up to the intro. Ranjit – our snappily dressed and eternally calm Picture Ed – followed Robin & Jonathan on stage to the sound of the Hall of The Mountain King. Dressed in piggie masks, they crept around nervously until the crescendo where I appeared in wolf regalia and chased them round the stage. Ranj did an amazing job rescuing Johnny – his sight was so impaired by the mask he fell off the back of the stage. To top it all off, the music cut to MIA and Mariana strode on touting a bubble gun and shot me into soapy submission.