The South by South Lawn festival opened the presidential mansion to innovators in a freewheeling celebration of using technology for social change
You cant imagine a President Trump inviting a crowd like this to invade the South Lawn of the White House. Nor, for that matter, would it seem plausible were the Clintons back in residence in the mansion.
But on Monday the nations most famous expanse of grass became the stomping ground of a few thousand geeks, techies, nerds, rappers, funk musicians and social entrepreneurs. Or as the civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis neatly summed up the motley crew: Troublemakers in a good way.
It was the first and you have to presume the last South By South Lawn. Modeled upon and organized together with the original Austin, Texas, interactive festival South By Southwest, it brought a riot of color to the usually sedate seat of the US presidency.
As a visual statement of intent, a giant placard proclaiming SXSL was erected just in front of the mansions back facade. Around it were dotted a series of wooden benches with life-sized figures seated on them created by artist Nathan Sawaya out of Lego bricks in brilliant red, yellow, orange and blue.
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