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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.

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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

http://www.mediafutures.org.uk/2013/images/Publish2013_Title_475x248.jpg

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: http://www.mediafutures.org.uk/2013/

Expanded Narrative Symposium

Image by James Brocklehurst ‘Expanded Narrative Symposium’

Date of Symposium:

2 November 2013

Additional Symposium Events and Performances:

1 – 2 November

Description:

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.

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expanded-narrative-logo

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 .

Duncan Speakman’s Subtlemob ‘as if it were the last time’ at the Milton Keynes International  Festival 17th,18th, 22nd + 24th July 2010

Unlike a flash mob (a gathering of a group of strangers in a crowd who suddenly perform an action on mass, that amaze or surprize the rest of the  crowd), the Subtlemob ‘as if it were the last time’ unfolded poetically over thirty minutes.

An air of the unexpected surrounds Duncan Speakman’s Subtlemob events. Open to anyone and a partner who wishes to participate. Registering you await further instruction. The anticipation builds, then close to the event, via email, the exact location is revealed. An MP3 and detailed instructions are provided. Listening to the MP3 is prohibited until the specified date and time. The very particular preparation is not merely functional. It signals that you are not merely an attendee but a participant.

Photo by D.C. Masters: Midsummer Place Shopping Centre

Photo by D.C. Masters: Midsummer Place Shopping Centre

Once located inside the Midsummer Place Shopping Centre, you and your partner are surrounded by the familiar sights and sounds of the generic shopping mall experience. Watches synchronised, the MP3 begins. As the calm voice tells you what to do, the space begins to loose its frenetic quality and slows down. No longer in the role of a shopper, channelled through corridors moving between outlets, your purpose is now different from those around you. Shoppers become interesting subjects to gaze at and you become aware of yourself moving through the space.

Something like a play unfolds, but it is unclear if what you are hearing pertains to what you see. Are you and your partner (listening on their own MP3 player) the characters described, or is it those people over there…? The ‘us’ and ‘them’ is dissolved in the unifying of all anxieties, all suffering, all happiness, all fear; yet you are forever separated from those around you because they can’t hear what you are hearing. Are they participants? You look around, trying to make connections with others hidden in the crowd, who may be looking at you, as you stare intently at your partner.

Recorded sounds overlay with live sounds in the space. They fuse, deepening your immersion, then clash. You are jolted back into the space, and then immersed once again as you spot a possible participant smiling at you; are you their archetypal character?

Moving your body in the ways directed, you glance around, are there others colluding in this ‘secret club’?

Your fellow participants converge and partners dance. You are revealed to each other and those around you, and then the recording comes to an end. Bereft, like reading the last words of a good book, or as the credits roll and the lights come up, you know that things are not as they were thirty minutes ago. In the inbetween space, of knowing and not knowing, the fact and fiction interweave once again, as previously complete strangers – participants greet each other warmly as friends.