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play:DO - part of playARK 2013 festival

We wanted to do something extra for playARK Festival and Talks 2013, so we decided that this year we would run a hack week that would bring together nine individuals from different disciplines to develop unique ideas that explore the theme of RECLAIMED.

In conjunction with thinkARK, the aim of play:DO Hack week is to create a playful and socially aware experience that utilises creative technology and reclaims traditional approaches to how we live and work within our cities. The week will focus on the idea of knowledge exchange and open experimentation and we hope the week will create opportunities for future collaborations for the individuals involved.

Nine individuals will be working together to develop three prototype projects that will be shared and discussed at the playARK Festival talks (Friday 1st November) and run as an event at the playARK Games Day (Saturday 2nd November)

We are really excited to announce the following participants:

- Kevin Moss – creative director of Make&See who create branded digital content & experiences. His cross platform stories have been shortlisted at MipTV and Power to the Pixel and won the Media Festival, Channel 4 Digital Art Prize.

- John Collingswood - one half of TaikaBox, a Cardiff-based company specialising in the integration of dance and digital media.

- Heather Kelley – designer, digital artist, and media curator and founder of Perfect Plum. Cofounder of Kokoromi, an experimental game collective, with whom she has produced and curated the renowned GAMMA event promoting experimental games as creative expression in a social context.

- Steve Coleman - freelance designer with skills in graphic design, photography, and illustration. In 2010 he undertook a Masters degree that sought to identify the role of play in adult creativity. He researched how play can be used as an experiential method to encourage motivation, flow, focus and engaged behaviour. www.thehourofplay.wordpress.com

- Ben Hyde - creative trainer at Dynamix (a workers cooperative) that focuses on participation, children’s rights, equality, play and much more. He is also a facilitator at Circus Eruption, the UK’s biggest integrated youth circus that uses circus as way of breaking down barriers and stereotypes between young people of all abilities and backgrounds.

- Ravi Thornton - crossmedia fiction author writing for both adults (as Ravi Thornton) and children (as Nesta Philips), with a passion for telling stories across multiple platforms. www.ravithornton.com

- Jorge Lizalde – artist, freelance photographer and moving image maker, born in Spain. Trained in Science and Fine Arts. Speaker of three languages, Spanish, English and French and coder wannabe at night. www.jorgelizalde.com

- Chris Mog - creator and experimenter with open source systems that aim to provide an opportunity for participants to interact with technologies that can help to re-represent and re-imagine place, space and time and our relationship with the world around us. www.chrismog.co.uk

- Andrew Price – technology Director at Moon, a small digital agency of experienced web folks. Working on a 2nd screen prototype for a digital TV manufacturer but past clients/employers include BBC, WAG, Barclaycard, Box UK. On the side Andrew is experimenting and exploring projects involving Raspberry Pi and Arduino.

 

We will be encouraging groups to document their process and their learnings at key stages of the programme which will then be shared through our blog throughout the play:DO Hack week.

 

Why Reclaimed?

Over the last five years the voluntary group thinkARK have been responding to social issues within Cardiff. These issues have been centred around ecological issues, community engagement and knowledge exchange. What these projects and discussions have raised is a sense and need to reclaim aspects of our lives. How might we reclaim our urban spaces, or our education systems, how might we reclaim oral storytelling and encourage positive social engagement. Playful approaches have been at the heart of these projects and have played a key part in the creation and development of yello brick. Play is a common language which breaks down barriers and makes connections, can change perspectives that encourage positive social behaviour as it allows people to become active rather than passive. Therefore yello brick and thinkARK have come together to create an opportunity through play:DO for individuals to learn, share and explore through a focused week of doing.

Sponsors

 

Recent Activity

We wanted to do something extra for playARK Festival and Talks 2013, so we decided that this year we would run a hack week that would bring together nine individuals from different disciplines to develop unique ideas that explore the theme of RECLAIMED.

In conjunction with thinkARK, the aim of play:DO Hack week is to create a playful and socially aware experience that utilises creative technology and reclaims traditional approaches to how we live and work within our cities. The week will focus on the idea of knowledge exchange and open experimentation and we hope the week will create opportunities for future collaborations for the individuals involved.

Nine individuals will be working together to develop three prototype projects that will be shared and discussed at the playARK Festival talks (Friday 1st November) and run as an event at the playARK Games Day (Saturday 2nd November)

We are really excited to announce the following participants:

- Kevin Moss – creative director of Make&See who create branded digital content & experiences. His cross platform stories have been shortlisted at MipTV and Power to the Pixel and won the Media Festival, Channel 4 Digital Art Prize.

- John Collingswood - one half of TaikaBox, a Cardiff-based company specialising in the integration of dance and digital media.

- Heather Kelley – designer, digital artist, and media curator and founder of Perfect Plum. Cofounder of Kokoromi, an experimental game collective, with whom she has produced and curated the renowned GAMMA event promoting experimental games as creative expression in a social context.

- Steve Coleman - freelance designer with skills in graphic design, photography, and illustration. In 2010 he undertook a Masters degree that sought to identify the role of play in adult creativity. He researched how play can be used as an experiential method to encourage motivation, flow, focus and engaged behaviour. www.thehourofplay.wordpress.com

- Ben Hyde - creative trainer at Dynamix (a workers cooperative) that focuses on participation, children’s rights, equality, play and much more. He is also a facilitator at Circus Eruption, the UK’s biggest integrated youth circus that uses circus as way of breaking down barriers and stereotypes between young people of all abilities and backgrounds.

- Ravi Thornton - crossmedia fiction author writing for both adults (as Ravi Thornton) and children (as Nesta Philips), with a passion for telling stories across multiple platforms. www.ravithornton.com

- Jorge Lizalde – artist, freelance photographer and moving image maker, born in Spain. Trained in Science and Fine Arts. Speaker of three languages, Spanish, English and French and coder wannabe at night. www.jorgelizalde.com

- Chris Mog - creator and experimenter with open source systems that aim to provide an opportunity for participants to interact with technologies that can help to re-represent and re-imagine place, space and time and our relationship with the world around us. www.chrismog.co.uk

- Andrew Price – technology Director at Moon, a small digital agency of experienced web folks. Working on a 2nd screen prototype for a digital TV manufacturer but past clients/employers include BBC, WAG, Barclaycard, Box UK. On the side Andrew is experimenting and exploring projects involving Raspberry Pi and Arduino.

 

We will be encouraging groups to document their process and their learnings at key stages of the programme which will then be shared through our blog throughout the play:DO Hack week.

 

Why Reclaimed?

Over the last five years the voluntary group thinkARK have been responding to social issues within Cardiff. These issues have been centred around ecological issues, community engagement and knowledge exchange. What these projects and discussions have raised is a sense and need to reclaim aspects of our lives. How might we reclaim our urban spaces, or our education systems, how might we reclaim oral storytelling and encourage positive social engagement. Playful approaches have been at the heart of these projects and have played a key part in the creation and development of yello brick. Play is a common language which breaks down barriers and makes connections, can change perspectives that encourage positive social behaviour as it allows people to become active rather than passive. Therefore yello brick and thinkARK have come together to create an opportunity through play:DO for individuals to learn, share and explore through a focused week of doing.

Sponsors

 

Heather Kelley's picture

Day 4: October 31, 2013

Today I finished the writing for our (as yet unnamed) game about the abandoned buildings of Tiger Bay. My task was to write some dialogs as if I was speaking in the voice of the building. After we chose our locations, I did some research about each one online, to learn about what they had been, and what they might become in the future. My research even took me on a short walk over to the Butetown History and Arts Centre (BHAC) to pick up a copy of Harry “Shipmate” Cooke’s mid-20th-century memoir How I Saw it: A Stroll Thro’ Old Cardiff Bay, to try to get a sense of the voice of the place in its heyday.

Even though I’m a non-local in the extreme (being an American) I wanted to capture an authentic sounding voice without being too corny. And of course I wanted the actors to be able and willing to adapt the dialog to their natural speech patterns and senses of humor. For the first two buildings (which are the first two game levels) we sourced the talent locally, right in-house at Play:DO. Our very own Mog (@mog4) voiced the old Train Depot: Train Station Story (wav, 310kb)

Heather Kelley's picture

DAY 2: October 29, 2013

The presentation today by Rosa Robinson (@Rosa_R) got my team thinking about the relationship of social change to the senses – and for me it was particularly our sense of smell, since that’s the one I’ve been learning about and working with lately. We know that exposure to natural things and places has a healing effect on the human psyche. So, to what degree does smell play a part in that recuperation? And how can we bring it into playful experiences? It doesn’t seem adequate to simply take an otherwise completely digital experience and “add smell” (say in the form of a perfume substance) and claim that now it’s healthier. But on the other hand, there is new evidence that calming smells really do lower our stress. So maybe a “fake” smell can have “real” effects and I shouldn’t discount that possibility.


Image of Cardiff fish market courtesy of travelerfolio.com

Two days since Play ARK 2013 Festival and Play:Do Hack week finished.

And what a week had been. Laughing on my own with the flashbacks.

I would like first to thank you Allison and Julian as I know how much they have been working for the last four years to make this festival happen, without forgetting obviously Natalie, she is as much important.

They have created a yearly cultural landmark in Wales and UK in a economic worldwide crisis period and when cultural budget cuts have been implemented. Not an easy task when you are not attached to any cultural institution and carry on with them the keywords "Game" and "Fun", enemies of any funding. As the French would say, "Chapeau".

The week had its ups and downs as any creation periods, maybe magnified because it was a collaborative process. But, all in all, I haven't had so much fun for a while and if you ask me to do it again, I would be the first one.

Ravi Thornton's picture

I’m back home in Manchester now, after a crazily wonderful week in Cardiff. A huge thanks to thinkARK and yello brick for making it all happen, and fingers crossed it runs again next year for another nine lucky individuals to benefit from this significant opportunity.

Benefit we certainly have. Just to recap: nine hackers split into three teams, each having to build a complete ‘playful experience’ in three days, in response to the brief ‘RECLAIMED’.

Team One – Heather, Mog and Jorge – built their searching project FRACTURED MEMORIES, whereby solving different levels of a puzzle took you deeper down memory lane. Though there were definite frustrations along the way, this idea of navigating such a sensory and evocative journey is really beautiful, and I think Heather, Mog and Jorge did an awesome job in trying to realise it.

Team Two – Andrew, Steve and I – built WORLD JOURNEY, a more ambient experience where participants were invited to create images using their mobile phones and upload them to our constantly updating and evolving storyboard. The story for this particular week was designed to provoke reflection on our place in the world.

John Collingswood's picture

wow, what a great week that was.

MASSIVE thanks and WELL DONE to everybody involved for making it such a positive experience.
Julian, Ali and Nat kept smiling throughout, despite the uphill struggle to organise everything - workspace, socialising, schedule, conference and festival. and those damn wifi codes.
it was great to meet the whole team of hackers, and a particular joy to get to work with Ben and Kev on our little project.
i'm glad we kept the project simple, using already-existing tech and re-contextualising it for our benefit.

the PlayARK day yesterday at WMC was buzzing, despite the weather. our PlayDance booth had around 100 people using it, from the ages of 2 to 62, and it generated a smile on all faces. i didn't get chance to go up to TeamOne's installation but i heard really good feedback about it. TeamTwo's web app was looking good all day, and constantly updating - i'd like to spend more time with the archive and witness how the story changes with different users' input.

now we've got this little network, we should try to find ways to utilise it. Jorge has set up a dropbox folder to share memories of the week - which encouraged me to find a way of hacking simultaneous dropbox accounts on my mac. (thanks: Daniel Mann) and maybe we can connect in different ways.

hope to see you all soon,

john x

Ravi Thornton's picture

In my last post, having announced the name of our Team Two project as WORLD JOURNEY, I asked for feedback on what that name made people think of. We wouldn't really want a name that wrong-footed people, or gave them false expectations.

And I guess an interpretation of these words could be anything, from the universal Big Bang through to inter-railing! So when this feedback came in from Angela Gorman, I was over the moon:

"World Journey
Made me think of your Team 2 work stimulating such a strong collective consciousness that it spreads from the PLAY DO Hack Week across the city, the uk and beyond.... and takes us all on a sub-conscious world journey.... it made me think of the bond we share with all human life across the world.... all going through a journey with many similarities."

Yup. That pretty much hits the nail on the head :)

Day 4 yesterday was ultra-focus-head-down-day as we raced to finish everything up for this morning, including the presentations we'll be giving later today as part of the playARK Festival talks. There's a great line up of speakers and a hugely innovative flavour to the range of their talks. It'll be inspiring to see where 'play' of the kind we've been exploring this week is heading in its development; and interesting to think about how WORLD JOURNEY might fit in to this exciting arena.

Jorge Lizalde's picture

We are nearly reaching the end of one of the longest weeks I have lived for a while.
I look so dreadful that I didn't need any costume on my way back home and decided to join some kids
for some "Trick or treat?" that boosted my energies. But, all in all, really happy of how the week and the project is developing.

Right now I am preparing some slides for our presentation tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile here I leave you some of the pictures and videos from today:

playARK Hack Week 2013, Day 4

Halloween Distractions

playARK Hack Week 2013 Day 3

Praying to the Gods

Kevin Moss's picture

So another day finished. A really fantastically enjoyable creative day.

Day Three was about simplicity for me. We have our idea and now we are looking at way to simplify it. This has been from both a message point of view, what will people see, do, interact. And a practical level, in the time we have what can we do. And with the skill sets we have what is possible. (from a skillset point of view our technical knowledge is letting us down) we spent a lot of the day wrestling with IFTTT.com trying to get around the fact Vine doesn't have an open API - boo vine booo. We spend some of the day asking Andrew what an API was. And the rest of the day working out hacks to get around the thing we hoped Vine would let us do.

IFTTT.com is amazing.

So we have a plan, we have everything in place. Day Four, we make.

and

we have a logo. Which has made Julian laugh, laugh nervously.

I also have learnt some people can casually say "I'll get the jig-saw out tonight and sort that out" which is very similar to "That's just a simple bit of javascript to get that to loop"

Ravi Thornton's picture

Yesterday was Day 3 of our playARK ‘hackathon’ here in Cardiff. Despite the fact I had to pause every 8.4 seconds to sniff/sneeze/blow my nose/try not to breathe on anyone, it was a another highly productive day that raced by with exciting, but also rather perturbing speed. ‘Office’ hours for us this week are 10-6, but I’m fairly certain every single one of us is working round the clock to ensure we deliver our projects on time. The pressure is on!

Guest speaker was Lisa Matthews from the Arts Council of Wales, which really got us thinking about what we do with our projects after this week? Is there life after playARK?

Day 4 today involves tying things up, testing and devising our presentations for the festival’s day of talks tomorrow. So with a little bit of luck, and if this stoopid cold doesn’t kill me, in my next post I’ll be able to explain more about what our Team Two project actually is.

‘WORLD JOURNEY’ is what we’ve decided to call it. How does that sound to you? What does it make you think of? All thoughts are very welcome :)

Jorge Lizalde's picture

Click on pictures to see the videos.

playARK Hack Week 2013 Day 3

via Heather Kelley

playARK Hack Week 2013 Day 3

playARK Hack Week 2013 Day 3

playARK Hack Week 2013 Day 3

John Collingswood's picture

Wednesday - the day in the middle of the week. and the day in the middle of our 3-day hackathon to make something for sharing at PlayArk2013. a day where creativity ran in waves of expanding ideas and complexity, then simplifying everything and starting again. regularly. setting up new websites and twitter accounts, and finding out that actually, sometimes the best technology can be a friendly face and a finger on a button.
we ended the day with Mr Hyde doing a birthday dance for me. in a large cardboard box.

John Collingswood's picture

what a great way to turn 44. creating creative stuff with creative people. with extensive use of post-it notes, TeamThree came up with a set of aims and objectives for our little project. its a good team - we have one person who tends to specialise in real people, one who is keen on real things and one who has faith in the virtual. its a great collaboration, and in no time at all we had come up with an idea and started running with it.

diversions came in the form of Rob telling us about his fascinating project called Conducttrrrr, or something, and offered it to us to play with, which was nice, and Ian telling us more than i imagined i'd ever need to know about L(A)RPing. which was also nice.

another hour of testing and developing and we had a very botched together prototype system.

at the end of the day, the three groups generously shared their ideas and gave feedback before disappearing off into the chilly Cardiff night.

after that, it seems as though Wednesday might prove to be the difficult second album.....

Kevin Moss's picture

Day two:

So today was our first day trying to come up with an idea. It's been a fascinating day, if nothing else the challenge of quickly working with people you only met the day before. The task yesterday to create a game in a couple of hours certainly helped.

It has been interesting because it has made me think hard about my own work and what themes run through it and how that conflicts with other peoples way of approaching their work.

For me an element I always want to add is scale to a project, perhaps there it is something about working on the internet primarily - I want the world to be involved in everything!

Others in my group have a more intimate approach to their work which could have caused a tension. But intact it's been really good and I think will make the project strong in the end.

Now to make it!

Ravi Thornton's picture

A quick overview of day two’s breakdown before I get to the very lovely bit:

So we arrive back at the Wales Millennium Centre and immediately get into our groups of three. For a good couple of hours we think about the project we’re going to create for the festival game-play day on Saturday. After that it’s guest speaker Rob Pratten talking about his transmedia software Conductrr, which feeds out multiple character and events very cleverly through social media. Lunch break. And we-Team-Two take the opportunity to walk around Cardiff Bay for inspiration. It helps. The morning’s idea that we came up with starts to take shape. A second guest speaker mid-afternoon in the form of Live (Action) Role Player Ian Thomas, with his infectious enthusiasm for costume and pyrotechnics! Then it’s time for the team to share their ideas and get some feedback from the others – very useful indeed. That leaves us with a final half-hour, that my team use to try and solve a technical issue we may be facing in our particular project. All in all a very productive day despite, or perhaps because of, all the questions and thoughts that were raised along the way.

Andrew Price's picture

After the getting to know you vibe of the first day, the play:DO hack week has ratcheted up several gears with great ideas flying about and practical development issues being considered.

We settled on our collaborative storytelling thing (note to team: must get a name for it soon) fairly early on in the morning and chopped up the work according to each team members skills & experience.

From my perspective, there are a number of technical hurdles to overcome and I find myself veering from blind optimism to blind panic at regular intervals. Hopefully things will become clearer in due course - thankfully the optimism is growing as the project progresses.

Jorge Lizalde's picture

playARK Hack Week 2013

What a frenetic last two days have been.

Personal presentations and meeting for the first time my colleagues, Kevin Moss, John Collingswood, Heather Kelley, Steve Coleman, Ben Hyde, Ravi Thornton, Chris Mog and Andrew Price. You should spent a bit of your time checking their great own works, you can find the info here.

Also, divided in three groups, we developed three games in less of two hours, Sea Shanty Spy (clue finding), Fist Full Of Dollars (Western Robbers Vs Sheriff) and Keystone 6 (Police and Robbers inspired by Keystone Cops Films). Without forgetting the inspired talk by Rosa Robinson on climate change. And finishing the day on the Meeting Place in Cardiff central for some dinner, where a kind of weird Musical Chairs took place between dishes.

Believe it or not that it was just the first day.

Alison John's picture

Presentations at the beginning of the day

playARK Hack Week 2013

Team 1
Heather Kelley, Jorge Lizalde, Chris Mog,

playARK Hack Week 2013

Team 2
Andrew Price, Ravi Thornton, Steve Coleman

playARK Hack Week 2013

Team 3
Ben Hyde, John Collingswood, Kevin Moss

playARK Hack Week 2013

Guest Presentation with Ros Robinson

Ravi Thornton's picture

A fascinating and invigorating first day of play:DO HACK WEEK here in Cardiff Bay. First up host and hack-master Julian Sykes took the floor, asking the question: How can we create playful experiences that are not only fun, but that people can actually take things away from, and thereby promote social change? It’s the question that ‘us nine hackers’ will be mulling over for the rest of the week.

Next we spent awhile introducing ourselves and our passions to the rest of the team: with Kev Moss talking about the difference between making things digital and making digital things; John Collingswood talking about mixed-media layering in contemporary dance; Andrew Price mixing up Dylan Thomas and wind speed; Heather Kelley talking about pushing gaming beyond the digital and physical to the sensory; Chris Mog talking about how mistakes can lead to new solutions; Steve Coleman asking where, why and how do we lose the innate creativity of our childhood, and can we bring it back again; Jorge Lizalde showing us memories he’d recreated in real time; me talking about the architecture of cross-media fiction; and Ben Hyde sticking us all together with elbow charge.

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