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.

Team Three – John, Kev and Ben – created PLAY DANCE, a brilliantly boisterous game where one person’s dancing upper half was filmed and put together with another person’s dancing lower half. It was great to see participants really shrug off their inhibitions, and made for some truly hilarious videos!

At the end of the week was the playARK Games Festival. This was where we all ran our projects live throughout the day to see how they fared. It was an invaluable test bed. Seeing the experiences in action, and chatting to the public about their responses to them, really helped pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of our ideas, and provided plenty of food for thought for the future.

As with most things, the best thing about play:Do Hack Week was the people involved. It’s been such a pleasure making contacts and getting to know everyone, not just professionally but personally as well. I’m certain these connections will live on, long beyond this initial week….

Diary dates have already been made!

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