Archive for December, 2011

LSO & KODIME Pulse pre-Christmas update

December 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Bit more news from us in the pre-Christmas rush.

Last 2 weeks have seen further work under the hood, meaning backend platform changes. In order to drive the app content and user profiles, we need a set of API calls (such as “Get Ticket info #23ac for user ID #6567, in simple terms) and this function list is now finalised and being coded.

The app user interface has moved to design stage, and early January we’ll post some screens here.

When we have a minute here at KODIME, we like to play with new tech (sad isn’t it). And with this NESTA project, there is some cool stuff happening such as NFC which is “near field communication”. If you’ve used a contactless credit card or Oystercard, you’ve experienced NFC. It allows a device to “ping” its identity to another device “over the air”, and the actual NFC chip can be very tiny and almost flat – hence the use in credit cards and of course mobiles.

Google think this will be massive, especially for mobile payment, so it’s certainly worthwhile exploring for the rest of us. To create NFC applications, you need sample cards, software, mobiles, all available as part of a development kit, see photo. YES it involves hardware, which gets us software guys reasonably excited. NO we DON’T suggest you give one of these to someone for Christmas!

Have a peaceful festive season and a fantastic 2012!


Dero project – December update

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Welcome to the Dero monthly blog

This is our first blog post for the Dero project.

Background to the Project

The Arts Council and NESTA have launched a Digital Access Fund designed to increase audiences and participation with cultural venues through the use of digital technology. The DERO project has adopted a cross platform approach to performance which would explore these relationships through a live project.

The DERO project explores extending the audiences for Orchestral and Ensemble projects using simulcasts, nearcasts, livestreams and downloads through partners including regional venues, the Guardian online, and the partners Websites.

Project description

The DERO project will see a series of concerts performed live to dispersed audiences and then publicised and made available to buy and/or download after the event.

A concert performed would be:

  • Recorded and stored by VideoJuicer and Aframe
  • Webcast and nearcast live to rural cultural venues including The Maltings, Alnwick Playhouse and The Gala Durham
  • Streamed live on both a free and/or a pay per view basis online, from the Guardian online

Project outcomes

The project will explore:

  • How a concert can be enjoyed by new and different audiences using different channels and media
  • Revenue share relationships for content published by multiple partners through multiple portals
  • The income potential of such an approach for the partners involved
  • Rights issues surrounding such an approach

Schedule update

After quite a lot of debate, we have settled on a schedule as follows:

Reverb: Love Song for the City : Aurora Orchestra25 February 2012 7:30pm

Camden Roundhouse


R Strauss Metamorphosen

Michael Gordon Gotham

Bernstein (arr. Iain Farrington) Symphonic Dances from West Side Story

 Nicholas Collon (conductor)

As part of the Camden Roundhouse’s 2012 Reverb Festival, Aurora presents Love Song for the City, a characteristically eclectic programme charting a course from violence and destruction to rebirth and the vibrancy of urban life. The desolate post-war German cities of Strauss’ Metamorphosen give way to the dizzying growth of modern New York as imagined by Michael Gordon in Gotham, Bill Morrison’s breathtaking black-and-white film enriching a visceral contemporary classic.

The programme is completed by the Symphonic Dances from Bernstein’s West Side Story in a virtuosic new chamber arrangement by Iain Farrington evoking the flavour of the original West End pit-band instrumentation.


 LIVE for Maltings / Gala

Nearcast on 21 April at Alnwick


Portrait of Love28 April 2012 7:30 pm

RNCM Concert Hall, Manchester


Webern       Langsamer Satz (Slow Movement)

Brahms arr. Herman         Liebeslieder Waltzes Op. 52

Dvorak arr. Matthews         Love Songs Op. 83

Tchaikovsky        Souvenir de Florence

A portrait of works by composers struck by the love bug including Brahms, Dvorak and Tchaikovsky.


LIVE for Gala / Maltings.Nearcast Alnwick on date TBC
Northern Sinfonia with Christian Vasquez6 May 7:30 pm

The Sage Gateshead


Classical Symphony

Piano Concerto no.1


Symphony no.1 in C

When someone stumbled upon the score for Bizet’s Symphony in C in a dusty attic in 1935, the composer’s reputation changed forever. Contained within these long-forgotten pages was an endless flow of singable melodies and a stream of joyous and impulsive rhythms all orchestrated with unmatched charm. In its elegance, Bizet’s Symphony is the perfect foil to the gags and japes of Shostakovich’s riotous Concerto.


LIVE for  Alnwick / MaltingsNearcast on 12 May for Gala.

Technical update

The concerts will be streamed live into the Venues. VideoJuicer has erected a test page which Venues can use to test their own set-ups with some instructions.

The Sage Gateshead has provided onsite technical assistance to sort out any particular issues.

So far, these include:

  • Network Speed issues for Alnwick Playhouse
  • Cabling issues for The Maltings Berwick
  • Kit and network issues for The Gala Durham

We hope to make headway with these for our next project call on 16 December 2011. We have some budget to cover technical set up.

PR and marketing update

We have approach the Guardian online as a partner to:

  • Livestream the concerts
  • Publicise the live events, simulcasts and nearcasts around the country
  • Make a paid download available for Northern Sinfonica concert, and a free download available for the Aurora and Manchester Camerata concerts

We are now working on how the partner Venues and Orchestras will publicise the events.

Rights and revenues update

  • The project has a relatively high profile within the Classical world, and payments made within this project may be used as a precedent for other similar experiments. Discussions are scheduled to create parity between the Orchestras.
  • The project will use a 50:50 box office split between Venue / Orchestras on a £5 ticket sale. As VideoJuicer and Aframe’s costs have been covered by NESTA/ACE, they will not see a share of this revenue, although the project will seek to understand the basis that they might be rewarded for future projects and/or venues

Research update

  • We had the kick off with Cambridge University / Fusion Analytics at The Sage on 1 December 2011. Becky Schutz and Matthew Petrie have been invited to present their approach to the general project group at the next project call. Hasan Bakhshi and Angela Pugh from NESTA have also been invited.
  • A research structure will be pulled together as an output from that call

Project Management

Overall the project is working very well. We have set up a virtual structure with fortnightly calls. We tried Skype chat – but this didn’t work for everyone, so we have settled on good old email and phone calls.

Contractual update

The contract has been signed and The Sage are reworking out the payment schedule.

Categories: Uncategorized

Punchdrunk/Media Lab update

December 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Here’s our first monthly update. The Punchdrunk team went out to visit our New York production Sleep No More at Halloween. Needless to say this was much fun, the production hosted 4 nights of Halloween themed parties (dress; red, black, white and of course All Hallows Eve scary). It was brilliant to see the space come to life as a party venue and also excellent to wander around and begin imagining how the R&D project will work across the space.

Following this we took a bus ride to Boston and spent a day planning with our partners at the Media Lab. Our contact Tod Machover arranged an inspiring day, brainstorming the project with his immediate team and also visiting other areas of research that could feed into the project. We had lunch with some prospective technology partners, again imagining what the project could be. Needless to say there is no end of willing and talented collaborators. These meetings left us incredibly exhilarated if not a little brain dead (in a good way), we’re now in the mdist of developing the narrative and journey of the project. From this everything else will follow.

Half of our research team is currently completing a trip to NYC and Media Lab and the other half will complete an initial trip in early January. We’re excited about how these findings might feed into the project.

New Art Exchange – birth of an idea part 2

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment
Quick on heals of the first part, part 2 of the New Art Exchange’s jouney is equally interesting. I reposted it below or you can check it out on their main site.

Returning from MAC (Midlands Art Centre) I distributed the notes I had collected between a team of NAE staff we had chosen to work on the cloud project. We had Andy Lindley our Technical Manager, Skinder Hundal our chief executive, Ravi Abbott (Me) project Assistant and Islam Muhammad EVS Volunteer. We sat around a table and started discussing what we thought the aims of the project would be and what NESTA would want. We found three very important points that would change our direction of thinking thus changing the project outcomes. The first point was that they were not focusing on new methods of creating interactive art and displaying it. This meant that the idea of interactive screens or robotic heads was not viable.  The Second important point was that they wanted a testable proposition, this meant that we could not make it over complex and it had to be created with current technology. The final important point was that they wanted control to be in the hands of the audience, this would mean it needed to be interactive but that interactivity must count towards something.

We became more focused on the cloud idea, this seems to be the idea that could be made less complicated. With making it a testable proposition we could achieve it by doing it on a much smaller scale then the initial idea. We could simply have one initial cloud based around the NAE area. We could allow artists to upload and share work. We decided to choose visual arts as an initial platform as arts as a subject matter is so wide spread it would be very complex to organise it and pointless for a trail.

We still did not have a name. We were coming up with different ideas, combinations of cloud and community. After jokingly suggesting Boy George’s ‘Culture Club’ we simple swapped the club for cloud. This seemed to fit and roll off the tongue well.

We still needed to define the idea, we had a good base for an online community but how do we bring this community into the gallery space (this is the whole aim of the project). We came up with lots of ideas such as interactive boards, displaying art works on the tram, projection on the side of the NAE. Eventually Andy Lindley suggested we simply made a box in the gallery space. This box would display the works digitally and people could come and see their work displayed in the gallery space.  This box would contain a Pc with a high quality screen or projector. We named this simply ‘media box’

This idea was strong but we felt it would not appeal to people who were not used to or unsure of visiting an art space. We needed something extra to pull them in. Skinder decided to get some advice from art companies and contacts he knew. 

Part 3 Coming soon

by Ravi James Abbott Project Assistant

New Art Exchange – Culture Cloud

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Check out New Art Exchange’s own blog for indepth details of what been happening on their Digital R&D project. You can find it here: Birth of an idea or I’ve reposted it below.

Birth of the idea Part 1

When Skinder first asked me to help on a digital project, I was excited but unsure how an art centre with such a traditional style of visual arts would be able to achieve this.

Previous tech projects I have been involved with were mostly self funded community websites, or involved working with small groups of people who met online to create a gaming community. These sites were great. I learnt a lot about what makes a community successful and what can make it divided. All of this work had a fairly loose structure and was very much a spare-time thing.

When presented with the challenge, Skinder and I started brainstorming to come up with ideas. The initial ideas were strong but a few were pretty obscure – particularly the giant robot head on the side of NAE that used image recognition software to scan people and then greet them with their name.

We soon whittled it down to one pretty complex, but strong concept. This was spurred on by suggestions from the wider team at NAE and the idea became more defined. We thought: ‘what can NAE offer to help bring people into the centre?’ The answer we came to was the community. If we could filter this amazingly diverse and talented community into a showcase of some kind, people would see how vibrant the place is, or be drawn to the centre via a route they would not usually have taken.

We started off thinking about areas and fixing the location to capture the local community’s content and display it. We initially thought of simply drawing a square of a mile around the area on map and then collecting the data and displaying it at an event.

We soon realised that this was very limited, as we would keep getting similar content and it could go stagnant. We also found a similar art project called square mile (guess great minds think alike). This is when we thought that the square could expand and retract. Then we thought that the shape of the square was too restrictive. What if somebody wanted to join and lived just outside the edge of the boundary? So we decided to ditch the square idea, so the shape could change and even move across and overlap other locations.

‘Cloud’ is a very popular word online at the moment. With products such as iCloud by Apple storing people’s content in remote virtual locations. It’s very relevant. This coupled with the idea that clouds move, expand, retract helped cement the idea.

With this idea planted in my head, I was sent to The NESTA digital day in Birmingham at Midlands Arts Centre (MAC). It was my first art conference/debate event and my first time in Brum. They had some great examples of projects and ideas and gave us some very vital information. We discussed everything from the online record industry, to social networking. I enjoyed it a lot and stuffed my face with sandwiches and fruit whilst having a look around MAC.
Part 2 Coming soonby Ravi James Abbott Project Assistant

BAC ScratchOnline Update

Hi all,

Just a quick update from the BAC / Arts Collective / VideoJuicer camp. We’re now 8 weeks into the project, and over that time we’ve moved through a couple of really interesting development points.

During early November all of the partner organisations met to enjoy a Scratch night at BAC- it was a Freshly Scratched evening, which is when BAC open their doors to new artists or companies (most of whom are new to BAC) each of the artists or companies have 10 minutes to share an early scratch of their work or idea, and then the audience is invited to submit feedback, either by writing a note to the artist on a handy post-it, or to pick up a specially designed phone and leave the artist a voice message, or (perhaps the artists’ favourite) find them at the bar and chat to the artist over a pint!

Personally, some interesting thoughts came out of that evening;

-Should we attempt to moderate audience feedback? (Similar to the way a producer absorbs all of the audience feedback, and then delivers it to an artist.)
-How best to recreate the ‘ambience’ of a live BAC event online (what could ever compare to a pint with an artist after a performance?)
-Do audiences need to experience a performance ‘live’ or is pre-recorded okay? (What effect does having an audience in the room have on an artist- a collective gasp or giggle is a powerful thing for someone when they are on stage).

Last week, some of the team attended an Artist Brainstorming event at BAC, which gave us opportunity to discuss these points with some of BAC’s artists at a ScratchOnline roundtable session. We were also able to ask the artists about what they would want from the platform, which sparked some great feedback.

What was most interesting was that artists said that they increasingly use Scratch as part-participatory tool for engaging people in a wider dialogue about their work, they suggested that it is at it’s best when it catalyses a creative dialogue – rather than a question and answer format [“what did you think”-“this is what I thought”] which can end up being binary.

Current conversations within the team have been on how best to go about creating a space for creative dialogue, research, testing hypotheses, sharing ideas, catalysing collaborations.

Nick, from VideoJuicer, is currently making some wireframes of parts of the site for us to look at and discuss tomorrow, and we’re all looking forward to seeing how he’s interpreted and integrated some of the artists suggestions, along with our research so far.

Tomorrow all of the partners and researchers are meeting to discuss the Commissioning Proposals which were submitted by artists wanting to take part with ScratchOnline. There seems to be a wonderful selection of potential projects which could be developed on the platform. We’ve all agreed that getting the right spread of projects is key, so tomorrow is a big day. I’ll drop in soon to let you know how we got on!

If anyone is interested in further details of what came out of the Artists’ Brainstorm meeting, then do drop me a line and I’ll whizz the feedback over to you.


Katherine Jewkes

Categories: BAC ScratchOnline