The group was composed of about 20 techie men, entrepreneurial and mid-agish. There were some students and several very quiet women. I was the only woman who wasn't designated as a research assistant, hostess, or Eliza as co-host. I introduced myself as an artist and made a reference to the Italian Futurists art movement that no one in the crowd understood AT ALL, except the Futurists, of course. The discussion fast-forwarded to wirelessness in the future Austin. Eric asked an opening icebreaker question, "What do you remember about 2007?" I wish Chris had been there to answer because of his unique perspective as a sci-fi writer and tech corporate lawyer. Even though the homogenous group came up with business convergence visions and ignored other kinds of societal change, it was quite interesting. The most fun part for me was the men trying to understand Howard Rheingold's concept of a wireless quilt. The men had very little detailed knowledge of what a quilt is, it's social history of collaboration and cooperation -- or the physical components of a quilt such as the patchwork, the batting, the small stitches, the creative array of patterns, the crazy quilts, the drunken man's path, etc. So it was fun to watch them struggle a bit with unfamiliar femme territory.
Quite the contrast to the Italian Futurist's 1908 Manifesto:
We are on the extreme promontory of ages! Why look back since we must break down the door of impossibility? Time and space died yesterday. We already live in the absolute for we have already created the omnipresent eternal speed.
We will glorify war --- The only true hygiene of the world --- militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and the scorn of woman.
We will destroy museums, libraries, and fight against moralism, feminism, and all utilitarian cowardice.
I'll take a wireless quilt any day:-)
After the main meeting it was pleasant to gather and turn to more personal chat where we discussed the process of the meeting and our insights. The food was lovely, especially a very nice Roquefort cheese. All in all, the futures-lab event could be called a business salon. The future emphasis, the artists' studio location, and the nice food combined to give the event an intellectual flavor that showcased the entrepreneurs' strengths and confidence in their abilities to put businesses in place that will serve the needs of the future.