We’ve had the camera dolly for a while now and it’s been really useful in film work, helping to achieve interesting cinematic results. We wanted to add a motor for longer time-lapse panning shots and eliminate any undesirable vibration. This was a good opportunity for us to tinker with motors, as well as explore the [...]
More pictures here El Ultimo Grito’s workshop programme Pilots is an undertaking at the Stanley Pickering Gallery that explores new forms of design education. The imperative for this discussion is the changing role of education in an open-data society. If you can learn anything on youtube, what is the role of the educator? Though it’s [...]
Last Wednesday evening our EEG controlled mini helicopter became airborne. It’s a lot of fun, though it takes time to master the techniques of concentration and meditation for precise control. EEG Electroencephalography (EEG) is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp. EEG measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain.
At Boring conference this year, Roo Reynolds spoke about collecting things. Among the cabinet of curiosities one project particularly stood out, Peter Fletcher’s Sneeze Diary, ostensibly a record of every time he sneezes, but it is more than that, as he explains.
Recently we’ve talked a lot about how memory and place relate, in part following on from our thoughts on Memory, identity and the network. The discussion also formed a starting point for our Playable City submission. We have been exploring ways to let people create a new history of the city, to record and share the stories they have lived and are living. One inspiration was Austerlitz, Seabald’s excellent novel where the titular protagonist unravels his forgotten past through travel.
We are excited to announce that our project Hello Lamp Post! has been selected for the Playable City Award. It’s a real surprise, we still can’t quite believe it. When we saw the quality of the shortlist, with work from so many names that we respect, we never imagined being chosen. We’re thrilled and can’t [...]
A while back I mentioned our theory-in-progress: that there are two kinds of design intervention that can improve the human experience. The first are designed ‘events’: finite moments in time, with their own contexts, during which things happen. Lots of people work in producing consumable experiential events, even if they don’t necessarily view them this way - certainly performers, [...]
We’ve been looking at memory – specifically episodic memory - and it’s relationship with experience for a few months now. We’ve spoken with neuroscientists on the science of memory, and Ben has been working on several interventions around the subject. Earlier in the year I first proposed our so-called “Anti-Camera”, or “Scent-camera”. More recently we have come to [...]
We’re very excited to announce we’ve been shortlisted for the Playable City Award 2013. The Playable City Award offers artists and creatives from across the world a unique opportunity to make something wonderful using creative technologies.
This year our advent calendar is called The Santa Scores. As the description says, it is the only advent-calendar tv-listings site that picks a film from that day, and then rates it for Christmasiness, against other films that are also on, but on different days.
The version shown here focuses almost entirely on human-to-object input. The first public beta version published was v.0.13. (This is the current version.) Conceived in a Pub We had an idea a couple of months ago (one of those “made-sense-in-the-pub, does-it-still-makes-sense-in-the-morning?” type of ideas) that it’d be incredibly useful to have some kind of universal classification [...]
Since first talking about memory a few months ago, we’ve be playing with a few things that explore its role in how we reflect on experiences, and how we remember. We’ve recorded the podcast with Neuroscientist Izzy and the smell camera is coming along well, more to follow on that shortly. In conversation, it has also become a defacto measure of an experience’s worth. Below are some of the other things we’ve been fiddling with.
Chirp We’ve been working with Animal Systems to find a way of communicating Chirp to the world - a platform they’ve developed for devices to share data with each other via audio. Chirp was demoed recently at Future Everything and Sonar, and the explanatory film below has now been released into the public domain. Which would be you. [...]
In this second podcast we talk with Isabel Christie, a neuroscientist, about memory creation and recollection. We ask, without memory, or the ability to recall it, is there any value in experience? Can you be something other than the collection of memories that you have? Are memory and sentience the same thing?
There is an integral relationship between personal experience, identity and ideology. This relationship was touched upon briefly by political philosopher Robert Nozick in the “Experience Machine” thought experiment, which he published as part of his seminal work Anarchy, State and Utopia in the mid-seventies. The relationship was also discussed in more detail about ten years [...]
(Photo courtesy of Russell Davies) Cameras as Diminutive Relays Whilst we’re waiting for Paul to ready himself for the second round of Paul’s Gamble, we’re kicking off a research project based upon a relatively nascent behaviour, practised by many folk to varying extents. It’s become a bit of a contentious bugbear in the studio, but I find myself doing it [...]
I can’t really remember the film Moneyball. I saw it recently, and I’m sure it was fine. I think Brad Pitt looked a bit waxy, a man did something with numbers. I suppose it saved me reading the wikipedia page for either or both of them. If a friend hadn’t asked my opinion, I would [...]
Turning theory into practice is one of the hardest aspects of running a critical design studio. Having theoretical stand points and acting on them are two different things, easier to say what not to do than exemplify your beliefs through doing. We are working towards it thanks to the Critical Audit that Matt gave us [...]
Yesterday we released the third instalment of Paul’s Gamble. The web series is to be released in 12 weekly parts and explores the contentious nature of gambling.
(warning – spoilers below)
Last week I made use of my first ever Groupon purchase – a one hour session in a floatation tank. My understanding was that such experiences centre around sensory deprivation – no sight, no sound, no smell… the body is kept buoyant by a salt solution, heated to human body temperature, which nullifies the effects of gravity and creates the sensation of weightless floating.
Experiential interventions (systems designed to improve the quality of experience for an individual) can essentially be split into two groups. One is an event – something that occupies a specific period in time and most likely a particular place, or context. The other is a passive effect and can change an individual’s perception of their circumstances, and thus the actions they commit…
The extended 2011-’12 run of immersive theatre experience You Me Bum Bum Train (YMBBT) has now finished. This means it’s now pretty much okay to talk about what happens during a show. Whilst it was still running it was definitely, definitely NOT okay to talk about it. If you’ve plans to attend a future performance and don’t know anything about the overall format you may not want to read on…
Sam and I recently discussed comfort and it’s impact on the way we live our lives; we are beginning a wider project that will explore it further. The recording was done to document our ideas and “possibly to share”, which has become “to share”.
Today we launched This Is Why You’re Festive, a combined advent calendar and high-street sandwich review blog. The premise is as follows:…
It’s probably best to get the “Variety is the spice of life” axiom out of the way as soon as possible. But like most hackneyed phrases, it’s still observably true, and appropriately this is especially applicable with food. Meals are significant daily experiential events, and their consumption is analogous to other sensory stimulating activities. The argument for this [...]
It might be ten years old and I’m definitely guilty of being that amount out of date, but Janet Cardiff’s audio tour at the Whitechapel gallery, The Missing Voice (Case Study B), is an enchanting aural dream through the back streets of Whitechapel and Brick Lane. In no way obsessed with historical details but instead [...]
It’s feasible an average commuting city worker might wear earphones between 5 and 12 hours a day. In some places they’re ubiquitous – on the train, in the office, on the high street – so much as to have become invisible. This is fine of course – it’s not a criticism, just an observation. Personal experience [...]
Earlier in the year I mentioned the potential of computer gaming and digital interaction in the future. Recently Channel 5′s The Gadget Show combined several state-of-the-art technologies to produce one particular vision of what this future might be. The build took 6 weeks, an unreleased copy of Battlefield 3 (a nice little PR coup there) [...]
Last night I saw The Matrix Live at the Royal Albert Hall – a showing of the original 1999 motion picture, but with a live orchestra performing the score. It was phenomenal. The NDR Pops Orchestra perfectly captured the epic melodrama of Don Davis’ original soundtrack, with it’s relentless use of violins, and the big brass/ timpani crescendos. The venue was [...]
Yesterday I had the fortune of meeting David Hego, Adam Vincent and Paul Crocker; Art Director, Animator and Lead Narrative Designer respectively at London-based Rocksteady Studios. They commented on being a little dazed, stepping out into the daylight after having spent the last two years working on the new Batman: Arkham City game (and two years on Arkham [...]
Ben and I went to Goldsmiths College yesterday (our old alma mater) to deliver a one-day workshop to the first years studying BA Design. Our objectives were to explain the value of a creative process, experimentation, prototyping, and to assist with their personal projects. We also did an overview on the importance of context. To [...]
On Saturday we opened This Way Up to the general public, an exhibition/ auction/ workshop/ arts book store/ hardware shop built for the British Council, who are celebrating the fifteenth year of their Architecture, Design and Fashion department (and the 89 exhibitions they’ve created so far). The event, which’ll be open during London Design Festival [...]
Here we are, two days since our official launch. The dust is settling now from our frenzied efforts to get everything ready. Thanks very much to everyone who’s taken the time so far to follow us on twitter and like us on facebook. We’ve had some really kind words from folk about the site, which [...]
Blinkered The above diagram illustrates the full breadth of the electro-magnetic spectrum, from tiny sub-atomic gamma rays to radio waves larger than the earth (there are in fact, no theoretical limits in either direction). That thin technicoloured band of ‘visible light’ is the only bit our human eyes can detect. That’s it. Our visual faculties [...]
I’m fascinated by theme parks. Not because of the roller coasters or thrill rides, I can take or leave them… What gets me going is the childish delight from entering imagined spaces, with their caricatured constructs of fibreglass rocks and hessian sacks. Image taken from http://www.cwoainsider.co.uk Images taken from http://www.chessingtonbuzz.co.uk and http://themeuk.net One of my personal favourites is [...]
During the start of Riot Week 2011, when many of us were darting wide-eyed between Twitter and rolling news coverage, there was a undeniable feeling of uncertainty. Obviously order was tenuously regained within a matter of days, but because it was difficult to rationalise a reason for the riots starting in the first place, it [...]
When a simple rule or a single sentence is enough to explain a game, it can often lead to its dynamics being richer and more fluid. I played one recently where the sentence went like this: A person hides and all other players seek, then when a seeker finds the hider he joins them in [...]
Playmakers is a film on immersive gaming – a collaborative project between Hide & Seek, NESTA and ThinkPublic. It features a good range of speakers from the sector and contains some interesting insights. It also demonstrates (in a surprisingly frank way) the ad hoc and experimental nature of immersive game development, illustrating why it’s important [...]
Recently I wrote about how the active consumption of computer games makes them far more immersive than other creative mediums. Amnesia (2010) illustrates this point really nicely. The game is a “horror survival adventure” created by indie developer Frictional Games and has been critically well received as well as being commercially successful – which is impressive [...]
An interesting enough quest-u-mentary into improving housing standards in the UK, the first part of The Secret Life of Buildings takes about half an hour to get interesting, from an experiential viewpoint. Unless you’re happy to sit through some fairly contrived experiments to “prove” that 1) lack of sunlight is unhealthy, 2) people are unhappy living [...]
Alex: A Life Fast Forward is a documentary about Alex Lewis and what he did after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. The synopsis is as follows: Alex Lewis knows he does not have much longer to live. Aged 21 he finds himself falling hopelessly in love and can’t quite believe what’s happening. Alex was first [...]
“A pipe dream is a fantastic hope or plan that is generally regarded as being nearly impossible to achieve. At Pipe Dream we don’t believe in the impossible!” Pipe Dream Restaurant, which is based in Southgate, takes a novel new approach to selling experiences. It serves two distinct but reciprocating clientèle: restaurant goers willing to take [...]
It’s difficult to describe precisely how excited I am about the upcoming Bethesda game Skyrim, which is due to be released in November this year. Specifically, I’m looking forward to fighting dragons. In my day-to-day life I’m unable to fight dragons, you see, so the prospect is quite exciting. This is an important consideration when evaluating contemporary [...]