100-Foot Ferris Wheel in Honor of Mr. Robot Is Coming to Downtown Austin
USA Network to turn Congress Ave. lot into Coney Island for SXSW
By Kimberley Jones,
2:20PM, Wed. Feb. 17, 2016
By now we’re pretty used to nutty stuff during South by Southwest, where legitimately cool content shakes hands with “brand synergy.” Our reaction to the just-announced “activation” involving USA Network’s runaway hacker hit Mr. Robot? A Venn diagram of whaaaa and wheeee!!
The latter is the sound I’ll be making from on top a 10-story Ferris wheel plunked down in the middle of Downtown Austin during the most bat-shit crazy week of the calendar year. Yep, a 100-foot Ferris wheel, in a nod to the Coney Island locale frequented in the show. That’s where our lovably unreliable narrator (played by Rami Malek) gathers with his hacker pals for fsociety meetings to nosh popcorn and plan the overthrow of corporate America.
So back to the Mr. Robot branded experience: A parking lot at West 4th Street and Congress Avenue will host, in addition to the Ferris wheel, a “hacker arcade,” featuring “popular retro games,” a photo booth, a screen printed T-shirt bar, a graffiti art installation, and a “basement-inspired hacker lounge with monitors playing the series’ pilot episode daily.”
Of course, it’s not all carnival rides and class struggle. Following the show’s Episodics track debut at last year’s festival, show creator Sam Esmail and stars Malek and Christian Slater return this year for a SXSW Film conference conversation on Sunday, March 13 called "Coding on Camera: Mr. Robot and Authenticity on TV" wherein, according to a USA Network press release, “panelists will discuss the realistic depiction of tech culture on the hit series and why authenticity matters when it comes to attracting and maintaining contemporary audiences.”
This post has been updated to clarify the location of the Ferris wheel and other Mr. Robot-themed activities.
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