In November 2020, Wacom held an event called "Connected Ink 2020" where the theme was "Creative Chaos". What is Connected Ink? What is creative chaos? While the event and the theme itself set out to approach these questions, people in technology, creativity, art, and music gathered and shared their enthusiasm. More than half a year after the event has ended, the answer to these questions remains a mystery, and the investigation will be picked back up at "Connected Ink 2021".
Going deeper into the eternal question of what is the meaning of our existence; to keep asking questions and moving forward: That is what’s important to Wacom when we consider our relationship to and within society. Connected Ink is a new commitment and the beginning of a new challenge for Wacom to continue asking these questions that have no end. We would like to take this opportunity to look back at some of the questions that emerged from Connected Ink 2020 and imagine the journey that will continue into Connected Ink 2021.
What is calm co-existence between people, nature, goods, and technology?
In this session, Team KOPPA, mui Lab, and Wacom shared their thoughts on the distance between humans and technology. Both mui Lab’s "cabin" that appeared in the venue and the "Stage KOPPA" that changed its shape each session were created based on the idea of coexisting with people, nature, goods, and technology. Even after the event, they continue to exist in different locations, wandering and exploring, continuing their creative journey. And during Connected Ink 2021, the questions will expand from our relationship with nature to our relationship with the universe.
https://youtu.be/GY5HVsX-qmg (Connected Ink YouTube channel)
How can we support kids’ love for drawing, today and beyond?
Oiso Town in Kanagawa Prefecture (Japan), inet, Celsys, and Wacom have come together to create a project in which we adults continue to genuinely ask how we can support the children in Oiso Town. The project continues to grow into a new challenge that goes beyond the realm of art. It is driven by our passion to support the children's experience, not only from the aspect of technology but as a community.
https://youtu.be/NXQjaJ1FasI (Connected Ink YouTube channel)
How can we turn the challenge of digital education into an opportunity?
In a session with Verena Pausder, who works in digital education in Germany, and Heidi Wang, SVP of Ink Division at Wacom, they talked about new ideas to take on the challenges of digital education that rapidly advanced during the COVID-19 situation. With the world changing at an unprecedented speed, Pausder discussed the importance of teachers, students, politicians, and IT companies like Wacom coming together. How can Wacom turn this challenge into an opportunity to support children's growth through our “Lifelong Ink” vision?
https://youtu.be/7C-k-_kHWZ0 (Connected Ink YouTube channel)
What can Wacom do to unleash young talent into the world?
Together with the World Bank Group and the Rockefeller Foundation, Wacom supported the "Click-On Kaduna" program in Kaduna, Nigeria, which is facing a youth employment challenge. The program is designed to create employment and economic opportunities for young people, especially women by providing them with digital skills in digital art, design, and entrepreneurship. Especially during the COVID-19 situation, where learning and employment opportunities have declined, digital skills are a catalyst for people's creativity, in turn leading to hope for the future. Wacom will continue our efforts to support people’s desire to learn and work with a particular focus on areas such as Kaduna which are plagued by fragility, conflict, and violence.
https://youtu.be/ZHT43zlEb2Y (Connected Ink YouTube channel)
How can we deliver an authentic experience?
This session featured “Cartoon Crunch”, a challenge where students from the US, Canada, and South America gathered remotely to create short animations in only one week. The animation star, Mike Morris, supported this journey together with other mentors who were there to guide the students. We are always thinking about what we can provide young animators, not only in terms of educational opportunities but also authentic experiences. Together with professional animators, Wacom will continue to think about this question.
https://youtu.be/8C76zsZRj-8 (Connected Ink YouTube channel)
Where is My Soul? Does Future Ink hold the answer to this question?
“Space Ink" is the first project announced in collaboration with Ars Electronica. It is an attempt to explore the possibilities of new types of drawing by combining new expressions of art “Spaxels” (space + pixels) and Wacom’s pen technology. It works like this: An artist draws with a pen, and a drone interprets and expresses the artwork. What emerged from this experiment were questions such as "What is the soul?”, "Why does my soul get excited?”, “Are feelings caused by the time born from the resonant energy that makes it so, or does something happen in resonance with the energy created in the time?” At Connected Ink 2021, we will continue to ask these questions through new works while creating a dialogue with society.
https://youtu.be/G1esa8u63X8 (Connected Ink YouTube channel)
What are the freedoms and restrictions of classical music?
The final session at Connected Ink 2020 was a performance by Japan Philharmonic Orchestra and LIMITS. Based on the theme of freedom and restriction, they played Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 for 20 minutes, while the LIMITS artists drew. This may have been the moment when fate knocked on the door of Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, because since then they have been navigating this new realm, while keeping the tradition and culture of classical music alive. The Japan Philharmonic Orchestra faces the complex challenge of asking questions about freedom and restrictions, a topic that they will continue to address at Connected Ink 2021.
https://youtu.be/m51lnGV4eyM (Connected Ink YouTube channel)
To Connected Ink 2021
Connected Ink 2020 was an event where many moments and people crossed paths and chaos overlapped. At the opening session, which also served as a signal for the start of the event, Nobu Ide, CEO at Wacom said, "Creative chaos is a journey that has just begun and will continue onwards. We will interweave the art, technology, and learning important to humans into Connected Ink 2021. There is no right answer. However, we believe that we must confront our thoughts. We would like to embrace the creative chaos with you as we think about and design the future together.”
All these questions culminated in Connected Ink 2021, where we will embrace "more" creative chaos this year.
About Connected Ink 2021
November 16 & 17, 2021, online and offline (Tokyo, Beijing, Dusseldorf, Portland)
The Connected Ink logo is “growing”. Using the original Connected Ink 2020 logo as a template, Satoru Kobayashi will integrate the latest year somewhere into the design for every Connected Ink event going forward. He also added colors this year.