Overcoming Adversity on the Road: Stories Behind the Liquid Galaxy
By Mark Johnson · Thursday, June 14, 2012
I recall receiving a call from Ben Goldstein about an early LG install in Washington, DC (near my home). After a short discussion about the general project, the gist of the call: "Can Kiel and I use your garage to store and assemble the LG display? It'll just be for a few days."
As it turned out, they didn't need my garage (even though they were welcome to it), but it was a glimpse into some of the obstacles the End Point team faces when we take remote work, outside the familiar trappings of our own environment.
Gerard Drazba provided an introduction of the scope of LG installations in 2012. For the current year alone, through Q3, travel to deliver the sizable LG equipment will approach 60,000 miles to dozens of different destinations, from across the street (and up 5 floors) in NYC to destinations as far away as Singapore and South Korea.
The equipment is bulky, complicated to deliver--and heavy! Each shipment is approximately 1800 lbs. Fully 44% of these different installations have been, or will have been, delivered to international locations. The global presence for demand of LG installations is only growing--and has its own challenges beyond the domestic destinations.
Kiel Christofferson spoke next giving an account of one of the earliest installations, in Tokyo, Japan. The combination of travel to unfamiliar locations in conjunction with the detail required to pull together the equipment and prepare an installation had things a bit hectic. There were a number of initial snafus, including showing up at the wrong hotel, that occupied the better part of the first day with complications. However, with local help, and a lot of communication with our directors, the actual presentation went very smoothly and was well received.
Matt Vollrath followed with a recount of an event in Washington, DC, displaying how dependent the remote work for our installations is on the completeness of the facilities where we have little (or no) control. Upon arrival, there was no active network, and insufficient equipment readily available to put things together. Due to rainy conditions, many other complications occurred, including a situation where a coffee pot being plugged in cut off sufficient electrical supply to the Liquid Galaxy. The patchwork continued until after the event was supposed to begin, but ultimately with sufficient effort the show pulled together and was received as a success.
Josh Ausborne provided some background on the importance of hotels, and when difficulties there (and lack of rest) can contribute to how effective we can be in managing problems. More anecdotes followed that continued on Matt's theme that we find adverse conditions and we have to work within them. One specific instance was where the display room had plenty of lighting with about 30 lights--except only 2 of the lights actually worked; thus, the installation had to be assembled essentially in the dark.
Adam Vollrath concluded the stories, providing Matt with phone support on the Washington, DC installation--while simultaneously working on a very difficult installation in Paris. The installation in Paris was so demanding that during a 2-week setup, Adam logged 96 hours in a single week. Other frequent issues on installations revolve around power failures, or insufficient power.
As the result of experiences of many of these jobs--and so many not mentioned--we have refined our process to anticipate better the challenges we will face. We also have seen great improvements in the technology and its stability, which produces a much smoother setup and presentation, contributing to the growing success of the Liquid Galaxy offering.