At DLD, cultural undercurrents are always buzzing. People meet, ideas are exchanged and contradictions collide.
Exploring culture - an admittedly very wide and loosely applied term - will often lead to new insights in a setting like this. The very last session of the DLD Moscow was a true example of this dynamic, offering a diverse meal of communication strategies, visual arts, movie making and disruptive entrepreneurship.
Michael Conrad of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership shot off the panel by taking the audience through some of the most pertinent trends in creative branding. “A product is a service that provides a function. Culture creates a brand,” Conrad said, highlighting examples like Havaianas, Freitag Bags, Levi’s, Apple and Marlboro.
Conrad was followed on the stage by Kevin Abosch, renowned for his portrayals of Hollywood stars like Johnny Depp, Scarlett Johansson and Dennis Hopper.
Abosch “will never refer to himself as a photographer,” but rather finds challenges in “exploring the space between community and individuals and the resulting art.” Work includes portraits of populations in for instance Ireland, and more recently, leading figures in the tech industry. This project, helped underway by DLD founders Steffi Czerny and Marcel Reichart, Abosch explained, has allowed him to pursue this quest further, and includes portraits of leading figures like Jack Dorsey, Jimmy Wales and Niklas Zennström.
Exploration of culture is also a driving force for German film maker Jens Meurer and his colleague Johnny Riley, who offered insights into the distinct contemporary Russian film culture.
Russian cinema, Meurer said, is under pressure from Hollywood productions, much like in Europe. This has “driven him to work with Russian movies” and has propelled him into projects that have a significant Russian identity. Among his latest initiatives is the story of Katharina the first and her love affair with Peter the Great - “a Saint Petersburg love story that has yet to be told.”
Finally, Natalia Sindeeva of TV Rain provided a piece of motivational input and a story of dreams coming true. Sindeeva began a journey to create her own TV channel in 2007, and fought a long and complicated fight to establish what has since become an industry leading online TV station.
TV Rain, Sindeeva said, is quickly becoming a leading source for information in a changing Russian media landscape, and is for example revolutionary in providing content that is created in cooperation with the viewership.
The award-winning channel today airs 60% of its show live online, and hosts its editorial meetings in front of rolling cameras. “More than a TV channel, we have become a multimedia content source,” Sindeeva said. “It’s dream come true, and it shows that it is possible to destroy many contemporary TV stereotypes - in Russia and elsewhere.”