Saturday, 17 October 2009
Sunday, 1 March 2009
Kudos to up and coming filmmaker Ivo Gormley for creating Us Now, a thought provoking documentary about the social and commercial transformations catalysed by internet technologies.
Screened to sold-out crowd Wednesday evening at the Barbican by the LIDF, the film highlights popular online services like Couchsurfing and Mumsnet which Gormley suggests, indicate the potential for greater grass roots participation in public institutions and government. These businesses in their different ways both demonstrate the efficacy of peer-to-peer networking and collaboration around common goals and interests (i.e.travel and parenting respectively).
A who's who of the internet intelligensia - including Clay Shirky and Don Tapscott - support Ivo's thesis with lots of talk of potential. Labour politician Ed Milliband interviewed for the film seems less sure. Good thing then that the successfully fan-managed community-owned Ebbsfleet Football Club is heralded as a model for future government. It is highly evocative case study- if only we could get people to be as passionate about government as many are about football.
In contrast, the post-film panel suggested a recent participatory US government trial run by Change.gov highlighted potential pitfalls of participatory democracy; the legalisation of marijuana dominated online discussions about desired legislative changes and consequently was slated for it.
My view is we need to think about how on and offline activites can work in harmony whilst being clever and committed to finding new ways to get people interested in politics. An example of participatory budgeting in Morecombe Bay presented in the film (drawn from a methodology from Brazil) seems promising, however this excercise took place offline in the form of a public meeting. Links with citizenship education should also be explored.
So how do we get governments to seriously consider these new approaches? Does it take, as I suggested on the panel, a crisis? The Kent town of Wye mobilised over a threat to their countryside via the internet-enabled Save Wye campaign led by two former journalists. Kent Council now has a social innovation lab.
Although the film raises more questions than it answers, it is a great conversation starter especially for the digital generation about the future of politics as well as a reminder to people like me about why I got involved in the first place.
Sunday, 14 December 2008
Last Will from Hide and Seek on Vimeo.
Experiencing the the Last Will on Hallowe'en was a real treat. Unfortunately my schedule didn't allow to me write about it at the time, but it is never too late to spread the word about something this unique.
While one of us played in the physical world, the other played using a desk top computer. If successful the virtual player helps the real world player progress through the game, but both have to work together to solve the challenges. The twist is that players cannot communicate directly conveying the sense of a magical, even mystical experience, that subtly echoes the storyline.
This genre-defying protoype aka as a Multiplatform Immersive Theatre Experience (MITE) was created by the talented Punch Drunk crew, Alex Fleetwood of Hide & Seek (known for its annual pervasive gaming festival and monthy Sandpit events in London and Brighton), Interactive design collective Seeper, and HP Labs.
Sunday, 19 October 2008
New Media Age recently cautioned against blindly following the ARG trend. Fair point although it is worth pointing out that McDonald's sponsored The Lost Ring, created by Jane McGonigal, engaged more than 2.5 million people from 100 different countries. Not a bad achievement for an emerging genre.
Jane McGonigal's newest gaming initiative, developed with the Institute for the Future, a not-for-profit think tank based in Palo Alto, California, Superstruct sounds fascinating. This massively multiplayer game is designed to forecast the future. Although the game has begun, it is still not too late to join in the fun. Many many non-profits are embracing the approach including The Red Cross with Traces of Hope communicating the plight of Ungandan refugees.
For those interested in learning more about the power of games including ARGs, check out Playful - London Game Design event this week. It features a range of speakers including Don Ho of Six to Start, makers of The Shadow War for Puffin and Toby Barnes of Pixel Lab who is organising the event.
Saturday, 20 September 2008
This eclectic mix led to rich conversations raising a number of issues including the need for greater collaboration between the disciplines and the opportunity for designers to move up/along the value chain in terms developing and implementing their own products/IP.
The best examples of this potential were presented by Brendan Dawes, of Magnetic North, creator of the acclaimed Mixa (pictured above) and Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, CEO of technology and design consultancy Tinker it!, who showcased some of her team's innovative work using Arduino.
Friday, 5 September 2008
Whilst much of the most ground breaking work was designed for the ipod touch/iphone, everyone agreed applications should ideally be device neutral. Knowing the myriad issues relating to interoperability, this may take some time to resolve. Specialist supplier Antenna Audio have tackled this issue by creating their own device thus saving the cash-sensitive sector frequent upgrading costs until these issues are sorted out.
Jane Burton, Creative Director of Tate Media, helpfully questioned what we mean by 'tour' and has developed a number of resource effective ways to create and distribute digital content both for real and virtual gallery visitors expanding and enriching the tour definition and experience. For example, in addition to ambitious gallery-wide tours, Burton has proposed and implemented simple (and cheap) video podcasts, known as Tate Shots, that can be watched online or downloaded to a handheld player.
Undoubtedly the most exciting conversation came towards the end of the day with talk about the next generation tours. Here Koven J. Smith of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York created a vision for a new approach to curation driven by the imaginative harnessing of user experiences and user generated content. "Why not give real-time feedback to all gallery goers about the day's most popular paintings, best room to visit if you are hungover or feeling blue...", he proposed.
The organisers have set up a wiki where they are posting the conference materials and ongoing contributions. I highly recommend checking out their illustrated mind maps covering conference themes which they created in the previous day's workshop.
Why was I there? Having recently proposed a multimedia tour for a client, I thought what better place to gain cross sector learning experiences and I was not disappointed. In addition, I am now in a position to share a multitude of opportunities with my colleagues who work on the sponsorship team.