GOGBOT 2016 Festival Blog Entry

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This past weekend, the lovely town of Enschede held its annual GOGBOT Festival 2016 in the center’s Oude Markt. The purpose behind the festival is to incorporate music, multimedia, art, and breakthrough technologies under one roof in order to educate and entertain the masses of youngsters and elders alike. Having attended last year’s event I am quite sad to say I was left feeling pretty disappointed. It felt that the exhibitions from the year prior were sort of imitative in the sense that there was an augmented reality racing game two years in a row. Nonetheless, the purpose of my visit to GOGBOT 2016 was to review the installations and critique which one was my favorite, stating the reason being so, and which one was my least favorite with its given reasoning as well. In my opinion, the most intriguing installation was one located near the Old Church. It involved a netted course of illuminated hoops and obstacles such as barrels and muscle cars. Players were equipped with a remote control powering a tiny propelled drone and virtual reality goggles that made for a racecourse fusing augmented realities of the digital world with real-world scenarios. The objective of the game was to navigate your drone through the illuminated hoops and around the obstacles while wearing the virtual reality goggles in order to stimulate an alternate reality. I believe this was the best installation as it mixed almost all of the festival’s themes of art, multimedia, and breakthrough technologies in one installation that attracted all sorts of visitors admiring in awe at the creativity and ingenuity. I also greatly enjoyed a part of the festival where numerous strange-looking vehicles patrolled around showing-off their might and prowess in a Mad Max-inspired parade. However, there were also some aspects of the festival that let me down. This included that fact that almost all installation explanations were in Dutch, limiting the international appeal to the festival. Also, the music was loud and obtrusive taking away from the event’s core value. Moreover, my least favorite installation was one that seemed anachronistic and out-of-place. This was a small printer-like machine that had me approaching eagerly thinking it was some sort of novel 3D printer. However, to my discontent I was met with an archaic laser-engraving machine printing some text on a piece of plywood. Do not get me wrong, the machine still was interesting, but I was expecting something with more of a wow factor from a festival catering to tech geeks. Altogether though, I can still say I enjoyed myself at the GOGBOT 2016 Festival and that it was a successful event.

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