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Package Design and the New Imagineers: A Conversation with Film Director Ayoub Qanir

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In today's over cluttered info-verse, conveying meaningful ideas and content is an ever-increasing challenge. Designers have to work tirelessly to make images and story more intuitive, original, and impacting -- ideas need to have wit and sleekness in their very embodiment. In fact, when Marshall McLuhan said "the medium is the message," his prophetic words echo exactly this: Your message is only as effective as your package-design; your idea only as good as its delivery.

And yet the tools to conjure up our imaginings have never been greater; the Internet is overflowing with visual artists, interactive designers and augmented reality programmers. What is imminently crucial, however, is making sense of all these options, configuring them -- making them work for you -- what we need is akin to a conductor in an orchestra.

Enter film director and digital technologist Ayoub Qanir, who in partnership with founding duo Kevin Grady and Colin Metcalf, together with Multitouch Barcelona launched World of Lemon, a sublime interplay of pop art, psychedelia, interactive design and publishing.

By leveraging killer visuals, erudite content and the same experimental flair that characterized the print version of Lemon, World of Lemon embodies, what Ayoub believes, is the very juxtaposition and loudness that people will respond to: a mix of literary artists, magazine publishers, and interactive design studios -- technology and art dancing together -- all intersecting and colliding with one another, erupting into fresh new ways of presenting content.

I recently caught up with Ayoub in Café Epistrophy, in New York City, where he was still reeling from his experiences at the post-digital culture festival OFFF in Paris.

What follows is an excerpt from our conversation:

Tell me about your experiences at OFFF, in Paris?

In brief, the 10th edition of the festival was a sublime pool of densely talented digital artists and visual engineers. The abundance of ideas and new ways of seeing the world were what struck me the most -- I saw a future where cultures are exceedingly migrating toward less physical and more digital consumption -- world commerce forced to become one where goods become intangible and where ideas are the vital currency. Meanwhile, intellectual gatherings such as TED, OFFF, and POP TECH have entered the zeitgeist, rendering the consumption of ideas the essence of living.

Tell me about the significance of aesthetics in a world where "the medium is the message"?

As one of the most notable and successful film producers, Jerry Bruckheimer, recently said about his company's obligations: "We are in the transport business. We transport audiences from one place to another."

Today businesses must understand that what they are selling are experiences and not necessarily products -- customers are no longer satisfied with the term "consumer," and are ready to assume their newest role as "experience agents."

As a society, we have romanticized the ideas in sci-fi escapades such as Minority Report, Total Recall and Strange Days -- where the hero no longer wants to consume dull, meaningless pieces of plastic held together with silly colors... he wants more -- today's experience agents, no longer fooled, demand for their contributions to world commerce to mean something.

Do you believe that technology, together with infinite choices for consumers, is actually an opportunity for "content creators" to up their game?

I believe the accelerating technological evolution of the past 15 years has allowed all interested 'creatives' to become digital nomads -- by lowering the price of entry, essentially democratizing all artistic realms, we have allowed for a multitude of talented minds to emerge into mainstream markets -- an idea we could only fantasize about 20 years ago -- SIMULTANEOUSLY, the increase in content has automatically resulted in a rise of consumer standards and expectation, absolutely raising the bar.

Today we find that talented creatives and innovative digital composers are scattered worldwide -- the key rests in unearthing and recruiting them wherever they may be. And so, by adopting new communication technologies, we are expanding our reach and dissolving borders -- we can hold editorial meetings in Skype suites, share CWP's in Google Office, collect inspirational materials through StumbleUpon, share them via Tumblr, publish them on issuu and view it all on Flipboard.

The Imaginary Foundation says "to understand is to perceive patterns," what does this mean to you, in the context of accelerating technology and how do you incorporate this notion in your filmmaking process?

I feel that apart from our ever-so-evolving physical world, society has witnessed major digital and synthetic information growth -- as a species we have arrived at our highest point yet of data-seeking, processing and disseminating. In doing so, we have been exposing our minds to paradigm-shifting doses of information.

In my understanding of patternism, we find commonalities between separate, alternating, juxtaposing types of data. By doing so, we are inviting the human brain to begin doing what it does best: conceive of meaning. It is the human way of making sense of the world we were born into.

As Marshall McLuhan wrote in his book The Medium Is the Massage,

Information pours upon us, instantaneously. And continuously [...] Our electronically configured world has forced us to move from the habit of data classification to the mode of pattern recognition. We can no longer build serially, block-by-block, step-by-step, because instant communication insures that all factors of the environment and of experience co-exist in a state of constant, active interplay.

I see "patterns" as the essence of all creation -- recognizing patterns is what gives us the "source code" to "make real" the images in our minds; be it through architectural design, music, visual composition or film-making.

In my mind, the best patternists are some of the most fascinating artists and greatest catalysts for creative human flourishing.