MILIA 1999

HAPPENINGText: Nicolas Roope

If you think you know anything about multimedia, go to Milia and realise that you’re wrong. It’s business, big business and it’s very, very boring.

I have this naive notion of multimedia production; the bedroom model where the skill, talent and enthusiasm is enough to get ideas up on to the world stage. Milia’s corridors of tawdry multimedia on the other hand is lifted only by the possibility of freebies and the strange body language of the salespeople who are desperate to work out whether you’re worth all the effort of a pitch. That’s why the “Get stuff free game,” is so popular with people like myself.

To play: Get an expensive looking suite, walk around in an arrogant manner and patronise everyone you meet, being careful not to let on how little you know and that you have only enough cash to by a medium sized bag of popcorn.
Result: You get loads of free stuff, half of which must be loaded into the dustbin.

Henri(Oven), Josh(Bullseyeart)

Truth is, the trade show part is a very focused affair, enabling licensees of product to sell their licensers, licenses. There’s a lot of cash involved and a lot of smooth talkers, snake charming cash out of the pockets of publishing corps and investors.

Milia has five parts as far as I could see; the trade fair, the games fair, the prizes, the talks , the conferences and the new talent pavilion.

The trade fair as I have already mentioned is a bit of a desperate affair. The price for having a stand at the show and the $600 (or there about) entry fee all contribute to paying for the speakers and the new talent pavilion.

The new talent pavilion, whilst suffering a little from a conservative selection process does present a range of fresh works, from colleges, studios and small companies around the world. There were some really nice pieces including a french project which required you to blow on to a microphone to move a yellow ball through a maze of potential disasters. I was worried about the economic viability of such a work that would invariably have kids hyperventilating, passing out and smashing their heads on sharp objects on their journey to the ground.

There were also many Japanese works in the new talent area, which on the whole showed a deep understanding of interactive media’s potential for communicating very abstract ideas. One whose makers and title I am ashamed not to have remembered, took on the task of educating children about animal behaviour and habits. One screen helped me to discover that rabbits only like chocolate milk and nothing else. I wondered that if I could read Japanese, it would make any more sense.

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