Cancer Vaccines? Unicorns?
Understanding gene editing hopes and fears pg. 24
Pussy Riot Unbowed pg. 42
Photo by Mona T. Brooks
Photo by Julian Bajsel
On the Cover: Lee Daniels, photos by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
Volume 11, Issue 1
Roland Swenson, Nick Barbaro, Louis Black
Eleanor B. Rosaire Pousson
Katharyn Howe, Una Johnston,
Katie King, Mirko Whitfield,
Jody Arlington, Amy Braband, Rory Burbeck, Justin Burnham, Brett Cannon, Chris Cantu, Morgan Catalina, Hugh Forrest, Shelley Hiam, Zach Horn, Una Johnston, JIm Kolmar, April Litz, Andrew McNeill, Bobby Nall, Dean Palm, Leeann Pendley, Cathy Ricks, Ari Roth, Amy Wanke, Stacey Wilhelm, Luann Williams, Julie Yost
SXSW 2017 Logo Design
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Shermakaye Bass, Jared Dubin, Eli Fernandez, Cisco Gilliland, Linda Laban, Patrick Nichols, Danielle Nussbaum, Rob Preliasco, Susan Elizabeth Shepard, Jenny Smith, Nigel M. Smith, Dan Solomon, Luke Torn
PO Box 685289, Austin TX 78768 US
Tel 512/467-7979, Fax 512/451-0754
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SXSWORLD (ISSN 1935-1496) is published by SXSW, LLC. five times per year in May, November, February and twice in March at 400 Bowie St, Austin, TX 78703. © 2016 SXSW, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Periodicals postage paid in Austin, TX and at additional mailing offices. “SXSW” and “South By Southwest” are registered trademarks owned by SXSW, LLC. Subscriptions are provided annually with paid registrations to the SXSW Conferences.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to SXSWORLD PO Box 685289, Austin TX 78768
SXSW.com | november 2016 | SXSWORLD 1
IN EVERY ISSUE
At A Glance
Understand the new expanded badge access for 2017
New & Noteworthy
Updates from the SXSW family of events
A Look Back: John Hanke
Niantic CEO gave Pokemon GO preview at SXSW 2016
SXSW Eco 2016!
Remembering October’s conference in words and pictures
South By South Lawn
SXSW goes to Washington
Dr. Jennifer Doudna
CRISPR-Cas9 innovator and the new frontier of “designer genes”
Film and TV maverick on turning struggles into screen success
Nadya Tolokonnikova driving Russian agitprop collective forward
The Science Guy’s climate change empowerment message at SXSW Eco
Design guru discusses importance of remembering the human element
Artifical Intelligence speaker on why ethics must be a focal point
The Solo Way
Transparent creator is making her own television revolution
Virtual Reality Concerts
Could a VR headset be your front-row seat or backstage pass?
Hip-Hop & Urban Planning
SXSW Eco session examined mid-century building schemes and rap
SURVIVE: Belated Exposure
In digital realm, sometimes musician’s popular notice comes late
The eSports Bubble
Will online gaming become more popular than live sports?
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At A Glance
SXSW Is Expanding Access For All Registrants!
We’re streamlining the conference into one unified event with 24 tracks of programming and offering more opportunities for networking, learning, and discovery than ever before.
Music Festival showcases will start on Monday, March 13 while the Film Festival maintains its nine day footprint starting on Friday, March 10.
The Platinum badge is still your best bet with primary access to all of SXSW at a lower price than last year, the Interactive, Film, and Music badges will now include expanded access to more of the SXSW Conference & Festivals experience. Attendees will still receive primary entry to programming associated with their badge type, but can now enjoy secondary access to most other SXSW events.
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Photo by Diego Donamaria
Photo by Ziv Kruger
Photo by Jim Antich
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Photo by Steve Rogers
Place By Design
Photo by Steve Rogers
SXSW Eco 2016 Welcome Reception.
Photo by Earl McGehee
“I honestly enjoyed every session that I attended - from the startup showcases to the panels around food waste, equity, etc ... I also got to meet a TON of people and made some connections that will certainly help our team in our advocacy around the antibiotics issue.”
Carmen Cordova (National
Resources Defense Council)
“It was a pleasure participating in SXSW Eco this year. I thought the audience questions during our panel were incisive, and the interactions with other attendees led to a lot of productive conversations!”
Steven Feldstein (U.S. Department of State - Deputy Asst Secretary/Speaker)
“I have been going to conferences for 16 years, but SXSW really hit it out of the park in terms of the balance between technical content and “expand your mind, blow your mind” content.”
Rachel Bannon Godfrey (Director of Sustainability/Associate, RNL Design)
“It was so eye opening to learn more about the work happening in other industries, to see the many many overlaps with our work, to see how we can start to stretch our thinking ...”
Sarah Morris (Senior Design Strategist, Inclusive Design
Here's a brief recap of what some of SXSW Eco's speakers and registrants had to say about this year's event.
Cheers To A Successful
SXSW Eco 2016!
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Photo by Benedict Jones
Tournament Stage SXSW Gaming 2016
The Dumplings. Photo by Bartek Wieczorek
Tasha the Amazon. Photo by James Ellis
Rocky Banks. Photo by Hector Mendoza
Imarhan. Photo by BEN PI
CJ Fly. Photo by Ashani
Photo by Jeff Dean
Iggy Pop SXSW 2016.
Photo by Amy E. Price
Calling All Hackathoners
In the spirit of creative and tech synergy and overlap, the
Digital Domain is Now
New for 2017, Experiential Storytelling is one of the 24 tracks in the SXSW conference, and a direct evolution from our popular Digital Domain program. It's mission will be to continue to explore new directions in storytelling and experimental narrative storytelling via experimental technologies and methods. Announced sessions include:
Listen to SXSW Artists on SXSWfm and Spotify
With 200+ Showcasing Artists already announced for SXSW 2017, discovering the sounds of all of these artists can be a daunting task. Luckily, we have a couple easy ways for you to check them all out. First, check out our online radio stream, as well as our . Second, check out and follow our SXSW 2017 playlists.
NEW SXSWedu DESIGN COMPETITION
Learn by Design is a new program focused on the design aspect of physical learning spaces and their potential to impact learning outcomes. Selected organizations will pitch their projects to both a panel of industry expert judges and a live audience at SXSWedu, March 6–9, 2017. Learn By Design applications close on November 18. .
With SXSW 2017 already right around the corner, so far we’ve announced more than 200 Showcasing Artists who will perform in Austin, Texas next March. Highlights of the lineup include: Pro Era rapper and founding member CJ Fly, French pop star Jain, Canadian R&B songstress Charlotte Day Wilson, up-and-coming Houston rappers Rocky Banks and Trill Sammy, the electric Saharan desert grooves of Imarhan, Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel, 4AD electronic producer Sohn, Australian dance producer Throttle, Cuban rapper-singer La Dame Blanche, Tommy Stinson’s reformed project Bash & Pop, acclaimed indie pop band The Drums, and Austin acts such as Lincoln Durham and Adam Torres. The full lineup, well so far at least. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements!
Several SXSW alumni artists traveled to the desert oasis of Marfa, Texas for the 11th annual Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love in September. Acts such as Annie Clark aka St. Vincent appeared with David Garza and the El Cosmico Family Band, Kacey Musgraves, a collaborative set from Calexico and Mexrissey, and not to mention the unforgettable performances by Wye Oak, Nathaniel Rateliff, and Ben Kweller before Neko Case closed out the festival.
Expanded dates for Startup Village during the SXSW Conference March 10–16. Startup Village will be located on the 4th Floor of the Hilton Austin and is open to all SXSW badgeholders. While continuing to bring together startups, entrepreneurs, investors, and innovative tastemakers, the newly-expanded SXSW Startup Village will highlight topics ranging from B2B, B2C, bootstrapping, business strategy, colleges, future of money, film, music, and so much more!
An All New SXSW Gaming 2017!
We’re incredibly excited to introduce the all-new SXSW Gaming, featuring an expanded Gaming Expo, a one-of-a-kind awards show and other evening events, and unmatched industry programming. Taking place from Thursday, March 16, through Saturday, March 18 at the Austin Convention Center, SXSW Gaming will offer a variety of opportunities to enjoy your favorite parts of gaming and geek culture. SXSW Gaming wristbands go on sale Monday, November 28!
David Carr Prize
Wordsmiths of all types are invited to enter an essay or short story of 2,000 words or fewer for the second-annual David Carr Prize. A longtime writer for The New York Times, Carr spoke on numerous panels at SXSW, and after his death in 2015, SXSW launched the David Carr Prize to spotlight the intersection of technology and journalism. The essay prompt this year: “What it will mean to be human in the nascent age of machine learning and artificial intelligence? What will this mean to you in terms of human creativity, identity, love, communication, and community?”
Deadline to enter the David Carr Prize is December 16, 2016. The winner will receive a prize package valued at $4,000.
BRITISH UNDERGROUND: 15 Years
Since its first U.K. showcase at SXSW in 2002 (featuring Elbow and Oxide and Neutrino), British Underground has worked with some amazing world-class talent, mainly outside the mainstream, from folk to hip-hop, metal and beyond.
Come celebrate the 15 years of British Underground on Wednesday, November 16, from 18:00 to 23:00 (GMT) at Tamesis Dock, Albert Embankment, SE1 7TP London, U.K.
EXPANDS TO 2 DAYS
The Expo is expanding to a two-day event for 2017. The first day will be open to SXSWedu registrants only, while the second day is free and open to the public.
VR/AR Returns for SXSW 2017
The VR/AR program will again spotlight virtual, augmented and mixed reality projects. Session highlights for 2017 will include:
Additionally, VR/AR programming will include project exhibitions in our Virtual Cinema, and Trade Show demonstrations.
The 9th annual SXSW Accelerator Live Pitch Event showcases the most ambitious startup talents from around the world armed with the most creative new ideas to change it. An incredible 71% of SXSW Accelerator alumni have gone on to secure funding amounting to a collective $3.1 billion! The application deadline is Friday, November 11, so don’t forget to apply for your opportunity to compete in this exciting startup event.
Catching Up With the Grulke Prize Winners
Honoring our late Creative Director Brent Grulke, the SXSW Grulke Prize is given in three categories. Here’s what the 2016 winners have been up to this summer:
Rapper, singer, and producer Anderson .Paak (Developing US Act winner) has had a busy few months since SXSW. He spent most of his summer on tour throughout North America and Europe, performed an NPR Tiny Desk Concert, and recently released an album with NxWorries, a collaborative project with Knxwledge.
Following the March release of her debut album and first SXSW appearance, Holly Lapsley Fletcher aka Låpsley (Developing Non-US Act winner) performed at Lollapalooza and had one of her tracks land on the original motion picture soundtrack for American Honey. The electronic pop singer is currently in the middle of a North American tour.
5-plus decades into his career and the legendary Iggy Pop (Career Act winner) finds himself right in the middle of one of the biggest years of his career, riding the momentum of both his acclaimed 17th studio album Post Pop Depression (written and recorded with Josh Homme) and a big showing at SXSW 2016. Pop embarked on a world tour following SXSW and in October, released the live album and DVD: Post Pop Depression - Live at The Royal Albert Hall.
New & Noteworthy
What’s Happening Now & Exciting Things to Come!
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SXSW Staffers at SXSL. Photo courtesy of Ellen Burris
South by south lawn, Say What!?
“Whenever I hear people make gloomy claims about how America is on the downswing, They're either out to promote themselves, or talking about some alternate reality. Think about it -- if you had to choose any time in the course of human history to be alive, you'd choose this one. Right here, right now, right in America.
New technologies and new innovations are transforming the way we live, opening up incredible opportunities to create, to discover, and to do what we never thought possible.
At the same time, we have to navigate these changes in a smart way. They also can be disruptive, even scary -- and sometimes, they leave folks behind.
Our task is to come together and build a future that's more inclusive, tolerant, and full of opportunity for everybody. And I've never been more optimistic that we will.
As President, I've spent the last eight years finding the best people to help us meet that challenge. People who reject cynicism. People who turn change into a force for good. People who believe that, no matter who we are, where we come from, who we love, or what God we pray to, we -- the people -- can create a world that's worthy of our brightest hopes.
So today, I'm inviting a bunch of these folks to my backyard for South by South Lawn.
Much like the festival I dropped by in Austin earlier this year, SXSL is, at its heart, a call to action. The folks out on the lawn today are artists, creators, entrepreneurs, and innovators who will share how they've used their unique skills to engage their communities in making the change they want to see -- whether it's curing cancer, fighting poverty, empowering women, and so much more.” - Excerpt from email written by President Barack Obama and included in official White House press release announcing SXSL.
October 3’s first-ever South by South Lawn event proved to be a huge success. Attendees learned, listened, connected and brainstormed — what more can you ask for in an afternoon at the White House? At my end, four of the most important lessons that I will remember from this amazing experience are as follows:
Partnerships are everything. SXSL happened as successfully as it did because some relatively odd bedfellows (including two Austin-based companies, SXSW and C3) combined their talents for a common goal. Yes, it is amazing what can happen in a city like Washington D.C. when petty differences are suspended, and people work together to achieve the greater good.
It all comes down to weather. Given that the Monday, October 3 weather in Washington D.C. was spectacular, luck also played a large role in the success of SXSL. The warmth and blue skies were a large contrast to the cool and rainy conditions of a few days earlier. Of course, it’s hard to ignore the significant irony here — the perils of climate change serve as the focus of the powerful Leonardo DiCaprio documentary “Before the Flood” that ended the evening.
“Better is good.” This was a phrase that President Obama mentioned in his conversation about climate change with Leonardo DiCaprio and Texas Tech scientist Katharine Hayhoe. This thinking reflects eight years of political realism and the concept that you probably can’t achieve all of your goals as quickly as you would like. But, the phrase also reflects an optimism that small steps are the solution to accomplishing big things.
The audience is the answer. Speakers at the event packed significant star-power. But the most innovative thinkers were the 2000+ attendees, people whose energy and creativity will pave the future. In this sense, SXSL re-affirmed that the faces in the crowd (not the figures on the stage) are the ones whose actions will both build and inspire a better future.
For those who were not able to attend SXSL, you can re-watch the stream from the event at
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Dr. Jennifer Doudna. Photo by Sam Willard
From bacteria to humans ...
A Gene Editing
By Cisco Gilliland
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The CRISPR-Cas9 discovery has also put billions of dollars of potential profits into play. The massive financial stakes have fueled a patent dispute between two groups of scientists, one from Doudna’s UC Berkeley lab, and another from the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard.
In terms of both animal and plant genomes, the ethical implications of CRISPR are every bit as thorny as these financial struggles. Use at the embryonic stage is particularly troubling. “Human germline engineering,” Doudna and 18 other prominent scientists and ethicists wrote in an open letter in Science in 2015, raises the specter “of concerns about initiating a ‘slippery slope’ from disease curing applications toward uses with less compelling or even troubling implications.”
For her part, Richardson is less concerned about what she views as far-fetched dangers: “The risks that get most attention are the main plot points in thriller science-fiction-action movies.”
The real threat to humanity, Richardson argues, is not the prospect of perfect uber-humans, but lack of scientific progress and financial backing for the time-consuming, detail-oriented labor involved in scientific research. “When the media says we can now create designer babies and we cannot, we're not only stealing thunder from the future. We're also investing in skepticism about the rate and progress of scientific advancement.”
Dr. Jennifer Doudna will be an Interactive Keynote speaker at the 2017 SXSW Conference.
Photo by Chuck Hodes
Photo by Chuck Hodes
Photo by Chuck Hodes
Discovering Lee Daniels
How the Groundbreaking Filmmaker Does It His Way By Danielle Nussbaum
“We didn't know it was serious or a piece of art until we took it up to Sundance & the white people were like <GASPS>.”
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he sat in the hush of the darkened theatre and thought it was a bomb. “On 125th street at the Magic Johnson theater, it played like a comedy,” he says. “We didn't know it was serious or a piece of art until we took it up to Sundance and the white people were like <GASPS>.” Daniels dissolves into laughter.
He went on to helm The Paperboy and 2013’s Lee Daniels’ The Butler, featuring an all-star cast led by Forrest Whittaker that earned over $175 million at the box office. Then Daniels set his sights on TV and blew up the zeitgeist to the tune of 17 million viewers with music mogul soap Empire, currently in its third season, which he co-created with Danny Strong.
Before you can become a legend though, you start out as a man, and like most, Daniels has struggled, fighting such demons as drug addiction, racism, homophobia and childhood abuse. But it’s the way in which he bares his struggles that has had such a profound effect on his work—and thus on his audiences. “I'm gay. I'm black. I realize that the fight has been so hard on me because of the color of my skin. And because I've been so open and honest about who it is that I am,” he says. “It's very powerful to live in your truth and to work in your truth. And actors know it's your truth so they roll along with you. So I'm able to get Queen Latifah to do some things she ordinarily wouldn't do.”
Latifah—along with Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny and Brittany O’Grady—stars in the modern Dreamgirls drama, Star, which is set to premiere on Fox in early 2017. Daniels, who created the show with Tom Donaghy, wrote and directed the first two episodes.
“In Star, you get early me … what happened when I first landed in Hollywood,” he says. “I've talked about everything in my life except that part of me that I'm not proud of, stuff I did to survive, so creating and busting down doors and doing things maybe that weren't legal ... Exposing that is healing for me.”
Daniels, who grew up hooked on the TV magic of Norman Lear, longs for that more politically incorrect era of storytelling and worked hard to ground Empire in a place of uncomfortable truths. Still, Daniels’ transition into network television, where he suddenly
wasn’t the only one running the show, was a bit of a rude awakening. “When I jumped into television, I didn't understand the idea of collaboration, because as an independent filmmaker, you are the boss. I never took ‘no’ for an answer and I always did it my way,” he says. “So I was thrown into a body of suits with Fox; that was a first for me. That was sort of jarring.”
Now that Daniels has proven himself with Empire, the process with Star is smoother. That is, except when it comes to casting. “I was really excited about Empire because at the time, no network wanted to do black shows,” he says. “Now I can't even get black actors right now for my new show. It's crazy. Everybody's already employed.”
Lee Daniels will be a Film Keynote speaker at the SXSW 2017 conference.
Nadya Tolokonnikova will be a Featured Speaker
in the Music Influencers Track at SXSW 2017.
UNMASKING THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF PUSSY RIOT
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By Linda Laban
Bill Nye: SXSW Eco 2016 Keynote. Photo by Steve Rogers
When It Comes
The Time Is Nye!
By Rob Preliasco
— On Why The Real
World May Be A Better
Academia. For Now...
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By Shermakaye Bass
to hear an audio excerpt of
Kate Crawford speaking at SXSW 2016.
Why Equality and Social Impact Must Be Part of the A.I. Future
By Susan Elizabeth Shepard
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Jill Soloway will be a Film Keynote Speaker at SXSW 2016
The Solo way
Sense of Purpose
By Nigel M. Smith
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VR camera at work during ACL 2016.
Photo by Cameron Gott for Nokia OZO
The Chainsmokers at ACL 2016. Photo by Roger Ho
Photo by Cameron Gott for Nokia OZO
Foals at ACL 2016. Photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman
Concerts & Festivals
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By Patrick Nichols
Increasingly Available at Home, In Virtual Reality
Michael Ford. Photo by Nicole Burton
How Urban Renewal Unintentionally Birthed An Art Form By Dan Solomon
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Click for SurvivE Q&A. Photo by Dylan O'Connor
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SXSW Gaming 2016 Tournament Stage. Photo by Lisa Hause
SXSW Gaming 2016 Tournament Stage winner. Photo by Lisa Hause
Photo courtesy of ELEAGUE/Turner Sports
How Online Gaming Leagues Have Become Bigger Than Basketball ...
By Jared Dubin
In 2013, the global eSports audience was estimated to be some 71.5 million people... that figure rose a whopping 216% … in 2015.
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“In terms of hardware, augmented reality’s going to be much more evolutionary. It’s not going to be the launch of a specific device, but rather it is a collection of devices that are going to extend the capabilities of the cell phone, add new capabilities to get information in a frictionless way ...”
Photo by Samantha Burkardt
A Look Back
Founder & CEO of Niantic, Inc.
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