Monday, May 21, 2012

Trip to Cairo to Collect an Award from United Nations

by Victoria Spackman
Chief Executive, Gibson Group

Cairo is a fascinating city and recently I had the privilege of spending a bit of time in the city and with some of its great citizens.  

My colleague Allan Smith and I were in Cairo to accept a World Summit Award for e-Culture & Heritage for the Gibson Group’s Wall project in Copenhagen.  The awards are run under the auspices of the United Nations and are therefore a big deal. 

The Wall project is a huge interactive touch screen exhibition for the Museum of Copenhagen.  Using the Gibson Group’s unique TouchCity™ technology, the Wall allows visitors to explore, comment on and add to the Museum’s huge collection of images of the city.  

While we were in Cairo, Allan also led a 2 day workshop with a group of Kiwis, Danes and Egyptians intent on bringing the magic of the Wall and TouchCity™ to Cairo.  With a talented team including an architect, designers and local cultural thinkers, the workshop team made some good progress towards a vision for a Wall in Cairo celebrating the history and culture of Cairo and the values of democracy.  Work continues!   

You will know that Cairo has been in the news lately because of the so-called Arab Spring uprising that overthrew long time President Hosni Mubarak.  The effect of that uprising and revolution is still very plain on the streets – graffiti honouring the martyrs is easy to find, as are people still protesting the current state of affairs.  The feeling in the city is one of sitting on a great precipice – the city and the country could spring or slide in any one of many directions.  As democracy comes to Egypt, lives will be changed, again.  

The awards ceremony for the World Summit Awards was held in the most astonishing of venues.  We dined high above the city in the Citadel, in the open air, under the imposing structure of the Mosque of Mohammad Ali.  The view was breathtaking and the company sublime.  This is probably the most amazing view of I have ever had the pleasure of eating my dinner by.  

There were a few opportunities to explore the vast history of Cairo and Egypt, including the famous pyramids and sphinx as well as the Egyptian Museum.  Having been warned off Egyptian food, I was trepidatious about the food, but it was uniformly excellent.  There is an emphasis of chickpeas, eggplant, sesame and meat simply cooked.  

I will be watching with interest as the Presidential elections commence this week and as democracy continues to unfold over the coming months.  And I look forward to returning to the city to work some more on a Wall celebrating the values of democracy soon.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gibson Group provides silver lining for The Cloud

The Cloud, the temporary building on Auckland’s waterfront, was opened by the Prime Minster Hon. John Key last Friday (2nd September).  With hundreds of guests listening to the speeches and brushing shoulders with industry leaders, politicians and media commentators, it was easy to see how the space will function as a fanzone and a centre for showcasing New Zealand’s innovative science and technology businesses.

The huge screens with the Gibson Group's film showcasing the Pacific.
Image © The Gibson Group, 2011.
 When the two massive 17 metre long screens aren’t playing live rugby, they’ll be showcasing Gibson Group productions especially commissioned for The Cloud – the first off the rank is a three minute film for the Pacific Islands’ Forum  this week.  When the Forum finishes, one of the screens will play a 10 minute film called We Do Things Differently Here.  The film, shot in locations around New Zealand earlier this year, takes the viewers on a journey of New Zealand’s ingenuity and showcases the best of the creative, scientific and creative industries.

The screens are 17 metres long and over 4 metres high - New Zealand
projected (almost) larger han life!
Image © Gibson Group
The other screen hosts case studies of some industries featured in the film. And, because The Cloud is a fanzone, an exhibit and also a function space, we developed software allowing these case studies to be curated for purpose.  For instance, during the Pacific Islands’ Forum, businesses with Pacific ties will be featured or for a technology function, high-tech case studies will be prominent.

30-60 second clips from the innovation sector can be curated according to the occasion
 using Gibson Group-developed software.
Image © Gibson Group 2011.
Finally there’s the Innovation Showcase that allows visitors to find out indepth information about the innovations they’ve seen featured on the big screens.  Each display “pod” also features an example of the technology like the Yike Bike that visitors can touch and in the case of some of the objects, interact with.  When The Cloud goes into party mode, the ‘pods’ can be easily moved into storage.

The Sealegs boat that can be driven on land and in water is one of four large displays in the  Innovation Showcase.
Image ©Gibson Group, 2011.
It’s been fun getting around the country and meeting the brains behind these amazing innovations  - we’ll hopefully have some of the moving and still imagery footage up shortly!

The team from the Gibson Group with Michael Barnett (bottom row, centre) at The Cloud opening.
Image © Gibson Group,2011.

Friday, July 15, 2011

VAEGGEN (the Wall) wins international World Summit Award!

The World Summit Awards recognise the best in e-content in United Nations countries.  The Award happily coincided with the first anniversary of Vaeggen's installation in Copenhagen AND the first time it was moved to a new location.

The Museum of Copenhagen's Director, Ms Jette Sandahl, recently wrote an excellent article for the International Committee of Museum's newsletter and find out more about Vaeggen on our website.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Goalkeepers are Crazy! Gary Scott speaks at Ted X event

I recently presented at a Ted X event being held at Deloittes Wellington with the only instruction being that the presentation should speak to the topic Play To Win, one of Deloittes’ mottos. My presentation was therefore called Goalkeepers Are Crazy – Five Reasons Your Team Needs Egocentric Individualists. Of course, if you know me, that is not a great stretch. Not like plucking a shot out of the top left corner.

Gary presents at Deloittes' Ted X event
The talk suggested a number of egocentric management theories based on the idea that the best management book ever written is Clemence On Goalkeeping. Old school, but still relevant today.And that to succeed as a producer is much like being goalie – first you have to recognise that it’s all your fault.

After that do five things well – get your body behind the ball (sure it can hurt, but that’s life), narrow the angle (put all the pressure on the competition), distribute quickly (don’t waste time in getting people out there), trust your instincts (i.e. you can over-think things) and stay calm under pressure. Easy right?

It was a fun talk to give, and was well received. Though not as well received as the talk given by Sister Loyola Galvin, an 86 year old character from the Home of Compassion. Sure, make me speak before the nun!

Click here for more info about Gary Scott.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wine doco for China

A Gibson Group production crew is currently filming at locations around New Zealand in partnership with major Chinese TV network, Tianjin Television (TJTV).

Three 30 minute episodes will feature Marlborough vineyards Wairau River Wines, Jackson Estate and Marisco, introducing New Zealand wines to the Chinese market, and showcasing the scenery and tourist attractions of the region.

View over the Marisco vineyard irrigation pond towards the mountains (note golf ball target in the middle of the pond!)
 The series will air on TJTV's terrestrial and satellite channels later this year. Tianjin, one of China's wealthiest and fastest growing areas, is a city of nearly 13 million people and closely linked economically with the capital Beijing. The domestic TJTV satellite channel has a footprint of around 600 million people. It will also be broadcast on their international satellite channel, and then be distributed to other major Chinese TV networks.

The three Marlborough episodes are part of a 10-part series, complementing episodes from the Chinese and Australian wine industries.

Filming will wrap early April.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Remembering Graeme

Posted by Dave Gibson

Sunday night I got a call from Gaylene Preston telling me of the death of well-known screenwriter Graeme Tetley.  Graeme wrote two of our recent very successful telemovies - Aftershock, about an earthquake in Wellington, and Eruption, set in Auckland.

He was also the originating writer for TVNZ's Shark in the Park back in the late 1980’s, a show the Gibson Group inherited and created a further two series.

You can read the official version of his life in this obituary or on NZ on Screen and there is no doubt that he was one of the major screenwriting voices in New Zealand over a very long period.

He was also an incredibly warm, caring human being who I always looked forward to working with and spending time with.  He was bloody hard to get a script out of on time, but at least it meant that you could go round to his place and spent a few hours with him while he made bad coffee.  And then you could talk about interesting things that had happened to each of you, pretending that it was somehow relevant to the script that he was supposed to be writing.

A few days later when you really needed the script of course, it would be more frustrating. “ Ah well I know you think it just needs a tweak at the end Dave , but I’ve gone back to the start…”
I sometimes thought that he so obviously loved writing so much that he just couldn’t bear the idea that the scripts had to leave home.

Recently, just before the second earthquake, he set off for Christchurch to take up a position for the rest of 2011 as writer in residence at Canterbury University, promising me that he would really crack a new series we were working on.

After the earthquake I tried to get hold of him…his words from here…

Dear Dave
I got back to Wellington last night. I drove up to Picton and came across in the ferry.
I’m pretty well and safe. Thank you for your concern.
The earthquake itself was the most ferocious thing imaginable. Unimaginable. No rumbles. No warning tremors. It just leapt out of nowhere roaring.
Poor Lyttelton.  Not a church left. Not a down-town building with its street wall still facing the street, the Time-ball busted, walls caved in. Boulders rolling down out of the hills. Everyone affected. I went to the Civil Defence yesterday. People in bare feet in the rain. Their houses gone. Lost. In shock.
I knew nothing about Chch because I had no phone. No radio. No TV. No broadband. No power. No water. No sewerage. (Had to think – now what did they do in that tele movie about when the big one hits Wellington?) I was scared to use my mobile in case there was another big one ahead and I would have used all the juice.
I drove into Chch yesterday – over a rough road from Governor’s Bay.  Poor Christchurch.
Needless to say I did mental checks on what happened and what we thought might happen in Aftershock. We were pretty good. Yesterday was Day 2 - day 2 in the Civil Defence Bible was supposed to be the day of confusion. Dead right. If we got anything wrong it was the effect of shock on everyone. But really we should be proud of what we did. The TV when I did get to hear/see it - looked like a rerun. I would put in a Maori woman from Lyttelton who turned up at the Civil Defence centre with all the food she had found, her barbeque and cups - made tea and breakfast for everyone - while the 'real' civil defence went about slinging to their clip boards - in shock. She told people off who didn't clean up after themselves. 'How are we going to run this thing if you don't tidy up?' A lady popped out of her house and asked me - 'You okay? Need a place to stay?' And the Maori guy who ran through the quake to let his dogs loose out of their kennels.
We did pretty damn good in our situations and the emotions.
What happens when your electricity, your phone (landline), your mobile, your radio, your water, sewerage, radio, tv, broadband, power (house, friends, family) disappear is you realise what's left has to be in pretty good shape if you are going to manage.

I appreciated you contacting me.

Thank you Graeme, it was a pleasure to spend time with you and a privilege to have worked with you.