The C-Word Strikes Again


You're probably sick of hearing the word — God knows I am. I speak today of what else but that dreaded “C” word, convergence. The damn thing comes up in nearly any industry conversation anymore, and as someone who traffics in words, I am over it. We need something new.

Oh, sure, you say. Johnson's complaining about the very thing he can't seem to stop talking about. Mea culpa. But like anything that gets overused, the meaning of this term has become diluted from overuse.

Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe that'll lead someone smarter than me to come up with a term or a phrase that more accurately reflects the phenomenon we all agree is happening.

Projection designer Elaine McCarthy mentioned something new in a conversation the other day: linkage. Not sure I love it, but it is something different. Her point was that design is essentially a collaborative art, and that instead of trying to figure out who was going to take over what design discipline in the coming years, we focus on the way all of these various elements are interconnected. Not a bad thought. Not a bad term either, though as Lighting Dimensions editor Marian Sandberg-Dierson noted, it does remind one of sausage, which is probably not an ideal visual for a visual medium.

Do you have a better term for this blend of lighting, video, and staging into one unified design concept? (Of course, one might also ask, do you care, but that's an even deeper philosophical discussion that is best left after a couple of beers at ETS-LDI.) I think Elaine was on the right track. If you're part of this phenomenon and have found yourself using a word or phrase for what it is you do, please drop me a line; I'd love to hear it. Anything but con.…co… I can't even say it anymore.

Speaking of that word which we won't mention again, Entertainment Design, Lighting Dimensions, and SRO magazines recently conducted a rather extensive survey of their readers, the results of which you can find on page 6. One of the topics was — you guessed it — that C-word, and you'll be happy to know (or saddened to know, depending on your point of view) that the vast majority of respondents said it will have an impact on the industry; a quarter of them felt there would be drastic changes in the way shows are designed and specified as a result of this phenomenon. The bottom line is, it's happening. Now get out your thesaurus and give it a new name.