Currently viewing the category: "Locative Media"

Discount for Publish! New adventures in innovation
Tuesday 24 September 2013 at St Brides, London

Media Futures offers you a 20% discount on early booking tickets for its Publish! New adventures in innovation a day of discussion and demonstration that showcases cutting edge prototypes in a changing book publishing industry. Publish! offers you a chance to take part in a significant debate, interact with the creators of some the latest experiments in the field, and meet potential collaborators.

Speakers include: Diana Stepner, Head of Future Technologies, Pearson; Fionnuala Duggan, Managing Director for International, CourseSmart; James Huggins, Chief Executive, Me Books; Bill Thompson, Head of Partnership Development, BBC Archives; George Walkley, Head of Digital, Hachette UK; and Clare Reddington, REACT Hub and director of iShed and The Pervasive Media Studio.

Early booking ends when tickets are sold out, or by Wednesday 18 September, and go up from £75 to £100 (individual) and £125 to £175 (corporate).

Use this discount code by Sunday 15 September: PublishDisc20

For further information and to book, please visit:

Expanded Narrative Symposium

Image by James Brocklehurst ‘Expanded Narrative Symposium’

Date of Symposium:

2 November 2013

Additional Symposium Events and Performances:

1 – 2 November


The Expanded Narrative Symposium explores the multidisciplinary field of interactive narrative that reconfigures the form and expands the experience of storytelling. The reader, relocated, becomes a player, co-author or participant. How can we design, develop and experience locative sound, participatory theatre, pervasive and mobile games, flash fiction and works yet to be defined? Through the consideration of these questions, the symposium aims to promote knowledge exchange and collaboration between practitioners from the arts, academia and the creative industries.

The symposium’s interconnected themes of story, sound, performance, games and space reflect the interdisciplinary nature of Expanded Narrative, examined by leading names.

Find out more on the symposium webpage

Book Here

The symposium is supported by the EU project VIVID in conjunction with the School of Art & Design Southampton Solent University, LiteratureWorks, Peninsula Arts, Plymouth University Faculty of Arts Teaching & Learning, The School of Art and Media, MADr and The School of Humanities and Performing Arts.

2Q==-1 VIVID logo Blue 072 U Z-1 Mise en page 1

In the next Expanded Narrative meeting Media Futures, Nico Macdonald & Laura North will be giving a talk concerning transmedia and current developments in digital publishing that impact on content producers. Everyone welcome.

Media Futures

Date: Wednesday February 13th, 2.00 – 3.30pm
Venue: Peninsula Gallery, Plymouth University, UK, Free Admission

The current Media Futures project focuses on publishing and innovation, and has included Publish! A Day of Innovation on the Future of the Book at the Watershed in Bristol, a Book Hackday and Publish! New Players, New Innovations at St Brides. The programme has been supported by the Creative Industries iNet, Cyprus Well, Plymouth University and NESTA.

[Continue Reading…]

ICIDS 2012

Call for Papers ICIDS 2012

“ICIDS is the premier international conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (IDS), bringing together researchers interested in presenting recent results, sharing novel techniques, and exchanging ideas about this exciting new media. IDS redefines the narrative experience by empowering the audience to significantly participate in the story due to advances in technology. [Continue Reading…]

Photo E.Whittaker

Photo E.Whittaker: Ghostwriter by Blast Theory at Exeter RAM

The audio experience Ghostwriter by the Internationally acclaimed artist group Blast Theory takes you on a journey that reconfigures the familiar narratives of museums. Memories or imaginings become present; the scent of once stabled animals lingers in the room, a voice suggests. Perceptual attention refocused you breathe in the musty smell. Truths blur with the characters embodied in personal letters. Looking upon a cabinet of metal hoops is followed by the realization that they once held the necks of slaves. What is old, our present encounter with the gleaming newness of prehistoric tools? What is the value and significance of objects; are they taken or given, we are asked?

The transformative experience of Ghostwriter resonates beyond the museum and repeatedly returns, as if catching at the edges of a dream.

Photo E.Whittaker

Photo E.Whittaker: Ghostwriter by Blast Theory at Exeter RAM

Ghostwriter can be experienced on your mobile phone at The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) in Exeter.

Ghostwriter was commissioned by the partnership programme New Expressions, a collaboration between contemporary visual artists and museums in the South West. New Expressions 2 is funded by MLA Renaissance South West and the National Lottery through Grants for the Arts.

Photo E. Whittaker: Publish! A Day of Innovation on the Future of the Book. 8 December 2011, Watershed, Bristol.

Publish! was convened by Media Futures’s Nico MacDonald and Laura North in partnership with Tracey Guiry of Cyprus Well, in collaboration with Plymouth University and funded by NESTA. The one-day conference brought together authors, artists, publishing houses, academia and digital entrepreneurs, speakers and delegates from across the breadth of publishing and beyond. [Continue Reading…]


Expanded Narrative is an online resource for practitioners, educators and researchers. It is concerned with interactive narrative and storytelling in its multifarious forms from locative media and sound to experimental performance and games.

Expanded Narrative – Videos, offers an evolving directory of interviews that discuss work, approaches and methods with practitioners and experts in the field. Links are provided to examples of work, related information and articles.

Expanded Narrative – Educational resources, offers materials to for lecturers, predominately in higher education, for integrating locative narrative into the arts curriculum. The resources are made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Expanded Narrative – News, highlights forthcoming international conferences and events and offers reviews of recent publications and events .

Photo by E. Whittaker: Blast Theory 'Machine to See With'

Photo by E. Whittaker: Blast Theory ‘Machine to See With’

“Blending secret missions and high adrenalin, you will be in an interactive heist movie playing the lead role. It takes part in the streets of Brighton and is played through your mobile phone and your mind!”  Blast Theory 

A heist is taking place and you are implicated.

Outside the disused theatre, boarded-up, you wait. Glancing around you notice fast walking shoppers and a few metres to your left, clasping bottles, a group of red-faced men roll around on the pavement. The mobile rings, it is a recorded message from Machine to See With and warning that you are responsible for your own actions, legal or illegal (?). The voice informs you that you are being watched, that cameras are trained and following your every move.  With the phone pinned to your ear you are given directions to walk, first right, then through a passageway, down streets, across roads. Now locked inside a toilet cubicle, the recorded voice at the end of the phone conducts a psychometric test.

Photo E. Whittaker: Outside the Astoria, Blast Theory's 'Machine to See With'

Photo E. Whittaker: Outside the Astoria, Blast Theory’s ‘Machine to See With’

Your answers will have a bearing on your role in the heist. You hide money about your person. You can hear those oblivious to your mission, queuing outside the door. Now you are set apart from the world around you, trying to act normal. It begins. On the top floor of the multistory car park, you look down to the city below and skulk between parked cars. You are looking for a registration number, a BMW. You are supposed to get into the car. Alarm bells are ringing. Are you on CCTV? It’s not your car, what’s/who’s inside? What’s going to happen next? Is this safe??? You circle around the edge of the car park discreetly watching the car and thinking, if I get in the car others will see me? Minutes pass. A man in a black jacket walks swiftly towards the car. He opens the driver’s door and gets in. You press ‘1’ on your phone to indicate that this has occurred. Walking towards the car you make the decision and get into the passenger seat. Glancing towards the driver you say ‘hello’. Phones ring. You are told that you and the driver are partners in the heist. Your partner tells you his plan. He seems to have it all worked out. Should you go along with his plan? Offer other suggestions? There is no time for this because you now you must run down to the fourth floor and look over the parapet. Your partner emerges on the street. You can see the entrance to the bank and your partner has disappeared. Later – you are now running away from your partner, he must not see where you have gone, you must make your way to the next location. Later – with the sense that the end is in sight, you are standing outside of the amusement arcade clutching the money and deciding which person to give it to…

Photo E. Whittaker: Carpark, Blast Theory's 'Machine to See With', Brighton

Photo E. Whittaker: Carpark, Blast Theory’s ‘Machine to See With’, Brighton

Blast Theory’s Locative Narrative, Machine to See With places you as a lead character in classic film heist. Popular culture so steeped in the conventions of the genre, make a prescribed back-story unnecessary. It is assumed that the participant will draw upon their ‘storehouse’ of scenarios, prompted by the familiar signifiers of the mastermind masked behind recorded messages, the division between the state and the underworld, the public and the agent and the dual identity of the streets.

Blast Theory’s  Machine to See With A Machine To See With has a maximum number of six participants beginning every fifteen minutes at individual places in the city. A recorded message gives directions towards a number of key locations, at which participants arrive at staggered times. The drama is structured as a series participant/location specific nodes and core nodes. At particular times it appears that a participant’s actions cause a particular character role and subsequent story trajectory to come into effect, for example, by selecting an appropriate number on their mobile to indicate if they have got into the driver’s seat, the passenger seat or not got into the car. The short psychometric test is apparently used to identify your personality type and your subsequent role in the heist. The experience is that of an emergent narrative, partially determined by role-playing and following instructions and partially, it seems, based on chance, which participant arrives at a location at the same time as another.

Interaction occurs by pressing buttons on the mobile to indicate when an action has happened, or when another participant is present, walking/acting in the location and potentially conferring with others. Some participants are also asked to devise plans, coming up with an escape route or deciding on what to ‘steal’ from the bank.

Photo E. Whittaker: Participant, Blast Theory's 'Machine to See With', Brighton

Photo E. Whittaker: Participant, Blast Theory’s ‘Machine to See With’, Brighton

Immersion in the experience is predominately dependent upon the participant’s willingness to role-play. The use of the mobile phone is successfully integrated into the experience as a legitimate ‘prop’ of a character involved in a heist. Unlike many locative narrative experiences, the presence of the devise is not incongruous within the story-world nor does usability break the suspension of disbelief. The ability to replay the last message by dialing the number is an important feature especially as the spoken instructions are the only method of navigating through the city and the story.

In an informal debrief with participants Phil and Becky, the overall impressions Machine to See With was of an engaging and immersive experience peppered with real tension. When the rules of everyday behaviour were challenged, receiving secret messages in a toilet cubicle, hiding in a car park and getting into an unknown car, greater immersion in both the role-playing and story was evoked. The duration of Machine to See With was approximately an hour. It was generally felt that it could have been extended and that the ending came too soon (with possibly an anticlimax). There were a number of elements that did not seem to develop on this particular occasion, for example, the escape plans were not used or mentioned again. Further connections between the participants would have added another dimension to the experience.

A participant that had taken part on a different day reported that the experience was marred by the fact that their starting time occurred after the bank to be robbed had closed and this rendered some of the story impossible.

A Machine To See With offered a generally carefully constructed and well-produced Interactive Locative Narrative experience. Drawing upon the cinematic conventions of the heist, Brighton is augmented by the disembodied voice that successfully performs your transformation into a gangster, if only for an hour.