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Journeryer's Guidebook

E. Whittaker & J. Brocklehurst 2016 Journeyer’s Guidebook, illustrated book accompanying the iPhone app

Diagramming a species “…one can make exact experiments upon uniform diagrams; and when one does so, one must keep a bright lookout for unintended and unexpected changes thereby brought about in the relations of different significant parts of the diagram to one another. Such operations upon diagrams, whether external or imaginary, take the place of the experiments upon real things that one performs in chemical and physical research.” (Peirce 1906: 493) [1]

Imagine picking up a pen and noting down on the back of an opened, but clean white envelope, the words ‘expanded narrative’. It’s the name I use to refer to a broad and inclusive family of storytelling practices that challenge the form and experience of the book. These types of works can be analogue or digital, multi or transdisciplinary, and range from concrete poetry through to tabletop role-playing games, from participatory theatre to “puzzle novellas” [2] and locative narrative.

It’s the name I use to refer to a broad and inclusive family of storytelling practices that challenge the form and experience of the book. These types of works can be analogue or digital, multi or transdisciplinary, and range from concrete poetry through to tabletop role-playing games, from participatory theatre to “puzzle novellas” [2] and locative narrative.

Locative narrative, a term attributed to Jeremy Hight [3] can be defined as stories that are experienced in specific locations, delivered via mobile devices, and often, but not always, heard on headphones. We might think of Homing, created this year by Jen Southern and Sam Thulin [4] with the Lancashire Infantry Museum, or the National Archive’s situated oral histories of wartime secret service operatives, Spies, Spooks and Videotape [5].

Underneath expanded narrative, you imagine writing, ‘locative narrative’, from which you draw a satisfyingly heavy black line, and add to locative narrative its species, ‘ambient literature’.

Ambient literature, in fact, should be decorated with some small dashes to give it the semblance of flashing on and off, signifying its ‘in-progress’ status; a field becoming…

From this vantage point, the landscape spreads gloriously outwards, populated with many antecedents, including Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Teri Rueb, Blast Theory, Valentina Nisi, Duncan Speakman and Circumstance, to identify just a few. The authorial intention to mediate relations between the reader as a participant and their environment, with objects, people and features from the physical world depicted, symbolised or inferred within the text, sound or interface, perhaps indicates broad axes of the practice.

I am interested in questions around experience, how it is possible for us to have knowledge of the world and how our interpretation of events may be affected, within and below the level of our awareness. William James’ [6] radical empiricist philosophy explains that what things are known-as, are context dependent relations to ourselves and that far from being fixed, are highly mutable.

Building on a body of situated narrative smartphone apps, developed with my collaborator James Brocklehurst, I have been working with guided imagining, using techniques from hypnotic induction [7] and the practice of shamanic journeying [8] to devise the form and content of narrative. The result was an initial experiment, Journeyer’s Guidebook, an iOS iPhone app and accompanying illustrated book, that was showcased in September at the DRHA2016 and the Brighton Digital Festival.

Journeyer’s Guidebook [9] takes the participant on two parallel guided experiences, one beginning at the Jubilee Library, a physical walk to the Pavilion Gardens, and the other an imagined walk through the medium of an illustrated book, read inside the library. The form of the shamanic journey begins with the Axis Mundi, the entry point in this world, and proceeds through the aural depiction of a tunnel, a liminal space that marks the boundary with another world. Arrival in the garden signifies the beginning of non-ordinary reality. The journeyer addressed in the second person, is invited to explore the garden, via their own route, before enacting a personal divination ritual and a contemplation on interpreting its meaning. Both journeys are accompanied by binaural spatial sound that in the garden heightens the ambient sounds and is supplemented with tropical birds. Inside the library, the sound depicts the illustrated world. The inside journey begins with attention focusing techniques directed towards the body and the page, whereas the outside journey directs the participant to towards noticing their relations to the environment. The participant retraces their steps back through the tunnel before embarking on the alternative journey.

Our usual process of development involves a number of iterations to really hone the ideas and their implementation. Journeyer’s Guidebook script, interaction, sound design, field recordings, native app development, illustrations and book production were developed over a period of four weeks – a mighty fast turnaround. The feedback so far has generally been positive, but as is usually the way, testing on the ground presents many possibilities for further development. One of the themes that emerged from the last Ambient Literature seminar was the topic of creating situated literary works that can be experienced in many similar locations. The challenge is to write the world of the story so it pertains to participant’s environment, perhaps not wherever they may be, but in types of places the participant might be able to access, irrespective of their continent. This requires a particular approach to writing and interaction design that has the potential to open up ambient literature to the broader publishing industry. The next version of Journeyer’s will be rewritten to begin exploring this direction…

Emma Whittaker

References

[1] Peirce, C. S. ‘Prolegomena to an Apology for Pragmaticism’. The Monist. Vol. 16, No. 4 (October, 1906), pp. 492-546 Published by: Hegeler InstituteStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27899680Accessed: 14-03-2015 18:26 UTC

[2] Simogo (2016 ) Device 6 v.1.2 [iOS & Android Application] Retrieved from: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/device-6/id680366065?mt=8 [3] Hight, J. (2006) ‘Views from Above: Locative Narrative and the Landscape.’ In Wild

[3] Hight, J. (2006) ‘Views from Above: Locative Narrative and the Landscape.’ In Wild Naturea and the Digital Life. Special Issue of the Leonardo Electronic Almanac Vol 14, No 7-8, p.2

[4] Southern, J. & Thulin, S (2016). Homing. [installation and app]. Harris Library, Preston. 23rd May – 13th November 2016 [5] The National Archives (2016) Spooks, Spies and Videotape – London’s Secret War [iOS & Android Application] Retrieved

[5] The National Archives (2016) Spooks, Spies and Videotape – London’s Secret War [iOS & Android Application] Retrieved from: https://itunes.apple.com/de/app/spooks-spies-videotape-londons/id1073776615?l=en&mt=8

[6] James, W. (1909) The Meaning of Truth. New York: Longmans Green and Co.pp.18-19

[7] Weitzenhoffer, A. M. and Hilgard, E. R. (1996) Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale: Forms C (Modified by John F. Kihlstrom). Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.p.8

[8] Harner, M. (1992) The Way of the Shaman. Harper Collins pp.68

[9] Whittaker, E. & Brocklehurst, J. (2016). Journeyer’s Guidebook. [iOS Application]. Retrieved from: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/journeyers-guidebook/id1146283679?mt=8

[8] Harner, M. (1992) The Way of the Shaman. Harper Collins pp.68 [9] Whittaker, E. & Brocklehurst, J. (2016). Journeyer’s Guidebook. [iOS Application]. Retrieved from: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/journeyers-guidebook/id1146283679?mt=8

 

Interview with Blast Theory, Wellington Road, Brighton, January 2012

Blast Theory is renowned internationally as one of the most adventurous artists’ groups using interactive media.

In this interview Blast Theory – Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj – discuss a selection of projects created over the last twenty years including, Fixing Point (2011), Machine to See With (2010), Ivy4Evr (2010), Ulrike and Eamon Compliant (2009), I Like Frank (2004), Uncle Roy All Around You (2003), Desert Rain (1999) and Stampede (1994). Relationships between narrative, interaction and performance, dialogue as a structuring device, game design and methods of development are considered.

Funded by The Teaching & Learning Directorate, Plymouth University (2011-12) www.expandednarrative.org

The Lost Index: No.2 – The Turning

Download from the iTunes store

A museum has been infiltrated by secret enemy forces. A complete index has disappeared. Many objects can no longer be identified or verified. Stability has been disrupted. There are serious consequences that extend beyond the museum. Time is running out. Can you avoid danger and help intelligence forces stop ‘The Turning’, before it is too late?

Using iBeacon technology, this app asks one or multiple players to navigate through the museum against the clock and restore the index whilst avoiding enemy agents.

The Turning uses binaural sound and techniques from hypnotic induction in conjunction with real-world artefacts to create imaginary experiences.

This is the second in a series of The Lost Index smartphone games created by Trulyimagined for Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery that utilise perceptual illusions to create playable imaginative story-worlds.

Come and play at the app launch on 18th October 2014 at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery 10.00 -5.30pm

The Lost Index No.2 – The Turning is a novel sci-fi adventure game for iPhone and the second the series of The Lost Index apps, now freely available on iTunes.

The Lost Index, No.2 -The Turning

The Lost Index, No.2 – The Turning

The museum is under attack from covert enemy forces who have destroyed an index, with far reaching consequences. Many objects can no longer be identified or verified. Something strange is happening to the museum but what and why? Time is running out. Can you avoid danger and help intelligence forces stop The Turning – before it is too late?

The Lost Index, No.2 -The Turning: index

The Lost Index, No.2 -The Turning: index

Using iBeacon technology, this app asks one or multiple players to navigate through the museum against the clock and restore the index whilst avoiding enemy agents. The Lost Index No.2 – The Turning  uses binaural sound and techniques from hypnotic induction in conjunction with real-world artefacts to create imaginary experiences. This is the second in a series of The Lost Index smartphone apps produced for Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery by trulyimagined.

The Lost Index, No.2 - The Turning: Volatility meter

The Lost Index, No.2 – The Turning: Volatility meter

The official launch of The Lost Index No.2 – The Turning  is at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery  on 18 October 2014 as part of The Plymouth International Book Festival.

The Lost Index, No.2 - The Turning call screen

The Lost Index, No.2 – The Turning call screen

University of Greenwich

DRHA2014 at University of Greenwich

The Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities (DRHA2014) conference took place between 31st August and 4th September at the University of Greenwich, convivially convened by Anastasios Maragiannis, Academic Portfolio leader in Design and Senior Lecturer in Design Theory & Practice.

Professor Susan Broadhurst, of Brunel University and current chair of the DRHA, informed delegates that the conference, albeit with slight changes to its name to emphasise the centrality of the arts, was in its 29th year. Performance, exhibitions and workshops ran alongside multiple streams of academic papers encompassing a breadth of interdisciplinary arts and design practices from sound to architecture. Reflective of current critical debates in the arts, the themes of space, embodiment, narrative, social media, code, data ethics and geo-political issues, proliferated the critically framed critiques of practice and expositions of theory through practice.

Highlights of the week included the paper, After the Death of Cyberflâneur by Efthymia Kasimati of National Technical University of Athens who presented a revised model for contemplating in the city. Independent scholar Sarah Jaffray’s critical exposition Aesthetic Action: Instagram’s Technogeographies of Resistance considered the changing role of Instagram as social media site from travel mementoes to guerrilla journalism, where meta-tagged images are mobilised for political activism.

Expanded narrative practices featured in themes across the conference. In the inspiring and informative workshop Practice in Writing: A recipe for Creativity and Creative Interpretation, lead by Professor Janis Jefferies of Goldsmiths, University of London and Anastasios Maragiannis, an overview of recent interactive narrative on mobile and tablet platforms framed the creation of Twitter fiction. Participants experimented with chatbots, Siri, rhyming dictionaries, alternating first-person narration and rule based systems amongst other operations of creative play.

Academic papers in narrative practices were given by Daisy Abbott of Glasgow School of Art who considered spectacle and interpretation of National Theatre Live, in her paper “Cut me to pieces”: Shakespeare, fandom and the fractured narrative. Christina Papagiannouli in Etheatre Project: Political Participation in Theatre discussed the form and implications of audience participation – “cyber collaboration”, in her theatrical re-staging of Brecht plays online. In the work of Emma Whittaker and James Brocklehurst of Plymouth University, sci-fi adventure in museums with locative narrative smartphone apps The Lost Index were considered in the context of perceptual illusions in the paper Playing With Perception: Locative Narrative and Sonic Virtual Locations. Laura Carletti of Nottingham University discussed the use of NFC tags with photographic and oral histories of Latin American Communities in the UK in Transmedia Experience Design for Audience Engagement: An Experiment with Near Field Communication.

'So Pleased to Meet You' directed by Jillian Wallis.

‘So Pleased to Meet You’ directed by Jillian Wallis.

Narratives, scripted and promoted through online interactions were the subject of the play So Pleased to Meet You, directed by Jillian Wallis of University of Greenwich and performed by the company Pattern Fight. Existential questions of being, boredom, presence and imagination were comedically posed with stagings of Chatroulette.

Ghislaine Boddington of body>data>space presented Collaborative Share Spaces and Future Digi-bodiments, a historical overview of her curatorial involvement with artists in the field of virtual worlds and telepresence over the past 25 years. The work of contemporary artists such as Joseph Hyde and his work ‘me and my shadow’ demonstrated the reoccurrence of the desire to occupy the apocryphal ‘holodeck’ and encounter teleported people (via data projections) from across the globe. Elena Papadaki discussed the relationships between sites and interactivity in Communicating Technology: Interactive design and interdisciplinary collaboration in the digital arts.

Casalegno

Federico Casalegno, MIT Mobile Experience Lab

While the technologies may be new, the ideas however, are frequently re-workings of artists’ earlier experiments with digital technologies, often prefigured by pre-digital practices in cyclical reoccurrence, as Professor Janis Jefferies rightly seemed to suggest in the panel discussion Research in the Digital Arts – historical perspectives and future innovations. Navigating city spaces was celebrated by Baudelaire, critiqued by Debord, narrativised by Cardiff and played using GPS enabled mobile platforms such as mscapes developed in early 2000’s by Hewlett Packard. Keynote speaker Federico Casalegno, director of MIT’s Mobile Experience Lab discussed Locast, the GPS digital mapping platform, developed in 2004 and since utilised in a number of collaborative projects including Mapping Moby-Dick.

Indy Saha, Google Creative Lab

Keynote speaker, Indy Saha celebrated a series of innovative projects developed by Google Creative Lab including YouTube Space Lab, Google Web Lab, Science Fair and the recent DevArt project aiming to promote artists as coders, currently exhibited as part of the Barbican’s Digital Revolution show. While the DevArt projects, such as Zac Lieberman’s ‘Play the world’, a keyboard that accesses live broadcast radio, are genuinely exciting, an acknowledgement of the historical precedence of artist as coders since the 1960s and previous innovation by research groups such as i-DAT would have been welcomed.

In Ghislaine Boddington’s concluding remarks of the conference she recounted that her fellow curators in East Asia require digital art to be at least as innovative and engaging as the digital environment that their audiences daily inhabit and urged that digital artists everywhere take up this challenge.

The peer reviewed DRHA2014 Book of Abstracts: Communicating futures: Connecting Interdisciplinary practices in arts/culture, academia and the creative industries, edited by Anastasios Maragiannis is available as a PDF and in print from Lulu.com 

The new edition of Multidisciplinary Design Practices by Anastasios Maragiannis is now available. 

DRHA 2015 will be hosted by Dublin City University 6-9th September.

trulyimagined-logo

Bespoke immersive storyworlds that are experienced in real-world locations using a mobile phone and your imagination.

Trulyimagined create immersive storyworlds that participants can step inside. These bespoke virtual locations are experienced within public buildings or outside in gardens, parks and urban spaces, using participants’ own smartphones to affect perceptual illusions and stimulate the imagination.

  • narrative to create immersive experiences
  • game mechanisms to produce engaging interaction
  • spatial sound to create illusions and simulate virtual locations

Trulyimagined  work with heritage sites, museums and commercial enterprises to develop new ways to engage audiences, creating immersive narrative experiences that inspire and inform. We welcome commissions from historical sites, museums, theatres, public spaces and the commercial sector. We also develop academic research projects.

Contact:

Emma Whittaker: emma.whittaker [at] plymouth.ac.uk

James Brocklehurst: james.brocklehurst [at] plymouth.ac.uk

www.trulyimagined.org

Falmouth

 

 

£21,383 to £24,766 per annum
Fixed-term for 13 months, 35 hours a week

Falmouth University is seeking a Research Assistant to support delivery of the European Social Fund (ESF) Research project, Augmenting Impact with Social Media, which aims to explore and develop a social media platform to effectively understand, document and develop the long-term impact of performance work that takes place outside the traditional context and conventions of the theatre space. The project will explore and develop this platform in partnership with ‘Wildworks Theatre’, renowned for their work in found landscapes and for performances made with host communities from which they draw their meaning.

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