Tag Archives: transmedia

Scan……be afraid

Identity, uncertainty and loss are explored in Scan through a combination of participation and projection.

Scan combines live performance, physical exploration of an unfamiliar space (lots of climbing up and down unlit stairs), and culminates in a dystopian “reveal” of surveillance footage, laser scanned images and movies. The culmination is delivered in a performance environment where the boundaries between performers, audience, technologists and observers are not so much blurred as destroyed.

Spot the scanner

Before we got to the big technological reveal, we were ‘rats in the maze’ of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s building – on the roof terrace, in staircases, store-rooms, subterranean pipe-filled rooms where the lights were put out for reasons that became clear on IR camera feed later! The performers escorting added to the feeling of being unsettled; they moved smoothly from personae as guides and reassuring presences – to quite scary officials – providing contradictory information about whether we were being “scanned” or not; arguing with one another about what needed to happen next.

IMG_9155 The performers’ use of voice was impressive and, to my mind added greatly to the tension as we moved toward the final scenes. And one of them, from being a smooth-talking charming guide suddenly became a half-naked experimental subject in a theatre filled with audio announcements from bored officials concerning missing persons.

Some of the laser scanned images are of the participants/audience/experimental subjects shown in what I think of as “near realtime” – by that I mean content made so freshly that the paint has not yet dried; and the people in the room gasp as their laser-scanned simulacra are shown on a massive screen in front of them. Unsettling. And very impressive; to incorporate movies generated from laser scanned content less than 45 minutes from the start of the performance. The approach raises the level of risk – spotting Will Trossell at the keyboard manipulating the images and calmly driving the other 3D scanned imagery was, of course, how this risk was handled.

The really impressive elements of this performance centre on the manipulation of time. We were constantly being challenged with trying to understand whether what was happening was in realtime or not; did we really know what was going on, were we on camera, were we being ‘scanned’ – should we be worried? If we were being scanned – what did it mean?

So Bob Shiel and Jessica Bowles and their collaborators achieved a happening, an exploration of physical and virtual space, a performance and an experience of loss.

The Scan was performed as part of the Collisions Festival 2013 at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.  There was one performance only.   The work is the latest iteration of creative collaboration between the RCSSD and The Protoarchitecture Lab at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. In this instance, 3D scanning is introduced as a intermediary process that alters the observation of performance in time and space.

The Protoarchitecture Lab at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL is led by Bob Sheil and Emmanuel Vercruysse. Scan was created and devised in collaboration with Jessica Bowles of RCSSD, six recent graduates of RCSSD, ScanLAB projects and the artist collective SHUNT.

Further information: http://www.collisionscentral.com/protoarchitecture-lab/

Debating the Digital Economy and the Creative Industries

Software for musicians – the art of engineering art

“There is no versioning – there is just the now” says Robert Henke; likening the true expression of digital music-making to the elder days of analogue mixing.

As tools and instruments overlap, what does that mean for how we generate music in the digital age using software?

He spoke insightfully, introduced by Gerhard Behles, another of the co-founders of Abelton, who also joined in the question session at the end of Robert’s prepared remarks.

And it was good thought-provoking stuff. But not one single musical example – which no-one seemed to find odd; and no examples of code or approaches to coding; ditto.

And a very interesting way of thinking about the issues – an expression of the psycho-philosophy of making music through coding – the constraints and complexity; inevitable compromises and how to code music without losing the point in the programming and the process.





Adopting digital behaviours in real life . . .

How do currents develop?  How do we not lose stuff?
Where does everything go?

img_0813Artist Lanfranco Asceti gave a charming presentation on how, when we are creating a record in the flow of information through digital behaviour, we create the potential for conflicts with ‘real life’.

Lanfranco uses a transmedia artistic approach to investigate the intersections (or not) between the digital world and the real world.

His presentation began with a video made as part of his artistic process in seeing how messages are transmitted.  “How can we understand the flows of messages?”.  He has thrown a message in a bottle  to his friend Henry Jenkins, a Professor at MIT, into the sea in Istanbul.

The question is?

Will Henry Jenkins hear about it?

The most compelling image for me is of the bottle being thrown into the harbour and then ‘bouncing’ back out and into the thrower’s hand.  Made me think of e-mail bouncing or of servers being repeatedly ‘pinged’.

We are throwing bottles in the sea with a message to Henry Jenkins as well as throwing a message in the sea of the information of social networks on Facebook to see if Henry Jenkins will stumble upon the event online first or will receive the message in a bottle. The object of the game is to see if and how he will find out about the project.

I’ve also been thinking for a while now about ‘where do all the tweets go?’ and what ephemera now means in the Digital Age.  And as the ‘digital noise’ in our social media environment increases how do we deal with what is likely to become a decreasing ‘signal to noise’ ratio.  I see the development of new kinds of social media tools – ‘inference engines’ that help us to locate what they think we might be interested in.   Prioritising our attention will become a key skill in digital engagement.  Lanfranco suggests that the issue of voice and the need for a very varied network is important in ensuring that no one voice can speak with unquestioned authority.  This will be an interesting and innovative driver of behaviours across the world.

Digital squatting the Googleplex –
artists occupying  digital space


Lanfranco is also a ‘Digital Squatter’, running exhibitions on ‘Google’s territory’ in virtual space.  Who owns the virtual space?  Layering information over Googleplex.  He also squatted at Tate Modern and a few others.  Just to see what happened.  You can find out about it here.

He argues that the ownership of digital space needs thinking about – and talked about how there are dangers in the alerting and reporting of activity in digital sapace, he says

“reporting” over the internet is the moral equivalent of the Stasi

And that we will all be turned into ‘digital informers’ as we monitor our digital ‘neighbours’ through our Net curtains.  One to think about that.