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Archive for January, 2012

Culture Cloud -Part 5 Creation

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

So we decided to create some promotional material and created an advert for our 2012 programme for Rashid Rana. I worded it to keep it open and not give away too much asking people to send initial interest or contact to an email addressee we had set up theculturecloud@nae.org.uk I also created the websites

www.theculturecloud.com

www.theculturecloud.co.uk

I put  the same text and images from the programme onto the site. This means we can use these urls for the project in the future.

Whilst this was going on we started working creating business plans and legal documents in preparation with our next meeting with Artfinder and Skinder started contacting partner galleries and spaces.

by Ravi James Abbott Project Assistant

Categories: New Art Exchange

Culture Cloud – Part 4 First Contact

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

The first big meeting was held on 15th November 2011. In attendance from Birmingham City University (BCU) were Dr Paul Long, Dr Nick Webber and Dr Simon Barber.  From NAE we had CEO Skinder Hundal, Ravi Abbott, Islam Muhammad and Laura Rossi. We were also later joined by Will Doward and Priscilla Li (former CEO and NESTA bid partner) via conference call.

Initially we discussed the level of the Researchers input and how they did not want to dictate to us, but draw advice from previous experiences they have been involved with.  They want to work out our sense of what we are thinking, prioritising, what we can learn, how we can use our time effectively.

The research team highlighted that anything we write about and blog, will be under public scrutiny, as this is a publically funded project. In light of this we supplied the researchers with the original ideas, drawings, mind maps and documentation to show how we came up with and developed the idea.

We then talked about people’s intentions and what we could do to drive people to get involved and be active on the site.  Can we use incentives and keep people coming back for multiple reasons?

We arranged a schedule where the researchers would be interviewing us and getting our feedback and getting them involved in projects as soon as possible.

Having set up a Skype call with AF we found technology failed us and we were forced to retreat to the old style of telephone conference call.

Talking to AF we discussed the advantages of the project and what it could bring to each organisation – raising its profile, more traffic and recognition. Getting more into the details of the project, we talked about marketing and placing an advert into our latest programme. Making sure we had a decent amount of artwork on the site when it first opens so people do not instantly lose interest. We then decided to produce a set of milestones alongside the researchers, AF and NAE so that we were all working to the same timescale.

by Ravi James Abbott Project Assistant

Categories: New Art Exchange

Culture Cloud -Part 3 Defining the Idea

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Skinder returned from his journey with a more defined idea of the how the project could work. He had added an extra element after discussion with ArtFinder (AF). This was the idea that people could also sell their physical work at the Media Box when it’s being exhibited. This works well with AF who previously provided services for printing and distributing art works. It would also make Culture Cloud appeal more to the artists, as it provides them with an opportunity to make some money. Skinder added that places like IKEA produce prints of art on a mass scale and it’s usually the same pieces with hardly any input from the art world.

The idea seemed to really be focussed at this point. Skinder started to create the application, sending different drafts to the Culture Cloud team.

Then after not hearing about the project for a while, I suddenly found out we were in the finals and Skinder was having a meeting with NESTA!

The next day I received a call with the words ‘Are you sitting down?’ At that point, I knew we’d got it.

Once we won the bid and it was made public knowledge, we decided to explain the project to the rest of the staff who were not involved in the process. They seemed to like the idea and were really happy about raising the profile of NAE.  We looked at the other bids on the NESTA site and saw some interesting, innovative and impressive ideas.

We decided to expand the Culture Cloud team and bring in the wider NAE team.  We added our new Director of Programmes, Melanie Kidd and our Exhibitions and Programmes Co-ordinator, Roshni Belakavadi.  This was really useful, as we had an initial meeting to explain the idea and get some feedback. After this meeting we realised how complex the idea was and that we needed a business plan. We had a lot of legal technicalities to tackle including royalties, rights, distribution and how to deal with prints etc.

Skinder visited the NESTA office to meet the researchers who were going to bid to work with the successful NESTA projects. Skinder described this to me as a ‘speed dating process’, where each group would talk for 10 minutes to another group of researchers explaining their project. After the researchers placed their bids, NESTA and the Arts and Humanities Research Council picked the appropriate candidates. For Culture Cloud they picked Dr Paul Long, Dr Nick Webber and Dr Simon Barber from Birmingham City University.

by Ravi James Abbott Project Assistant

Punchdrunk Media lab Project Update 2

January 25, 2012 2 comments

How do I write this update without revealing too much?

Since our last blog we’ve been working hard to develop the narrative of the piece and the spaces within the piece. We have treated the creation of this very much like the creation of a Punchdrunk production. Developing character and a through-line libretto style narrative.  This has begun to frame the nature of the relationship between the online and the real world participant.

We have been trying to develop something that will complement the real world experience and also create something compelling for the online participant and viewers. The key is to develop something that feels exciting for an online participant and draws them into the experience. This has been the real nut to crack, both PD creatives and Media Lab team have very much been leaning towards creating the real world aspects. The real challenge is of course not this at all, but in creating an exciting online experience. Felix our artistic director has just returned from a trip to the production in NYC (Sleep No More http://sleepnomorenyc.com/) and after meeting with Akito, a student from the Media Lab, has seemingly made a break through on this front.  We are learning that face to face communication is key and relish the moments when we can get in the room with Media Lab.

Things we’ve been exploring and are interested in:

Portals- How do the online and the real world communicate?

Aesthetic- How do we capture the set and the action, is it live, rendered, filmed or photographed?

Navigation- Related closely to the above, what does it feel and look to explore the online space?

Contact- Is this constant or fragmented. Is their freedom for both particpant’s or are they unified?

Interest- Can we maintain a level of interest for an online player over a long period of time? Do they need extra activity to hold them?

Feedback- how can the actions of both participants impact on one another’s environment or experience?

In other news, our research team completed their first trips to the production. It has been interesting to hear their findings and their interpretation of our work.  Their insights will prove invaluable to the development of the piece, and also give us a unique understanding of audience’s response to our work.

Categories: Uncategorized

Social Interpretation: Bullying Jack

January 20, 2012 1 comment

Public house debate, 1945. An American soldier is amongst the audience listening to the second speaker of the evening, Miss Crooks (not pictured), on the topic of 'America and Britain'. The original caption states that "the few Americans present were unusually tongue-tied, had nothing to say to frank discussion of their qualities".

How do you control what information is online?  In the case of Twitter and Facebook, with difficulty, as Ryan Giggs found out last summer.  But these are huge sites with a lot of organisation behind them, and they will have a fair amount of resources to fight legal claims.

So what about your smaller site?  How do you control content?  What about the issues of defamation, data protection, and, with public authorities, freedom of information?   Or just insults, bullying and heated debates getting out of hand? Read more…

Categories: Concept, Moderation

Social Interpretation: SOPA, not so good

January 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Sharing, at the heart of socialising objects in this project, is under threat from SOPA. Clay Shirky sensibly unpacks the issues in this TED talk. It is scary stuff.

“TimeWarner has called and they want us all back on the couch. Just consuming. Not producing. Not sharing. And we should say no. ”

How to say no: http://americancensorship.org/

Jane Audas

Categories: Uncategorized

Social Interpretation: Which phone stays? YOU DECIDE!

January 18, 2012 6 comments

We’re starting to really get into the design of phase-1 of Social Interpretation, and this will the first of a few updates on various aspects of design for the in-gallery technology and signage.

As you may have seen (here, here, here, here and, um,  here) we’re in the middle of wresting with how (or if) to best use QR Codes to facilitate physical/digital interaction. We already know from our research that part of this is to really make clear, in a small space, what the code is and how to use it. Part of that is placement, part is effective written prompt – being looked at by Claire Ross, and part is visual prompting. We’re finding out that visitors are likely to respond well to a clear phone graphic, to indicate what to use the code with. But what phone?

Which do you think it most recognisable as a smartphone?

You see, I have an aversion to using the iPhone as an icon. It’s recognisable, and definitely has a cultural recognition this definitely helps as far as being an icon is concerned.

But, I worry that it does three things:

  • Alienate non iPhone users and imply that it’s an iPhone-only function
  • Contribute to the public perception that Smartphone = iPhone. It doesn’t (it’s denying the antecedent)
  • Contribute to the public perception that you need an Apple device to take advantage of basic smartphone functions

It’s possible that none of these matter – or that I’m just worrying about nothing. And we’ll be evaluating our choice anyway to see how people react.

But what do you think?

Tom Grinsted
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