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17

Sep

Message=Medium

Re-Dock supported a new manifestation of the MESSAGE=MEDIUM text-message archive project which took place as part of the UK School Games in Gateshead and Sunderland last weekend.

For the unfamiliar – MESSAGE=MEDIUM presents the public with a pop-up kiosk offering a unique and unusual service: treasured mobile phone text messages can be transformed and preserved forever as tacky keepsake photo-keyrings!

Through making participant’s text messages into physical and tangible objects the MESSAGE=MEDIUM stall performs an alchemical procedure: materialising the ephemeral and blurring the boundary between the physical and digital domains.  And, whilst masquerading (and inhabiting) the footprint of a familiar promo-stand the piece seeks to engage curious ‘punters’ in a dialogue about the value they invest in their personal digital communications.

In the context of the UK School Games, MESSAGE=MEDIUM acted as a kind of station for the young people taking part  (and their supporters, family and coaching team) to reflect on their games experience.  For this reason the stall was situated in the “in-between” spaces – near the dining marquee, in a foyer and in a wide corridor, near some vending machines – places where it was anticipated that the young athletes might be winding down, biding their time and perhaps contemplating their next competition.

As an experiment, some of the photographed messages were also relayed over the internet  using a dedicated twitter account and the #UKSG hashtag.

…I’m not going to say any more! – below is a link to a much better blogpost summing-up the weekend, which has been written by Hannah Mumby who kindly volunteered to assist in delivering the project:

http://messagemedium.wordpress.com/

Also, a flickr photo gallery of documentation images is available to view here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/john0shea/sets/72157624940605512/

And, also further photo documentation here thanks to Tom Higham – one half of the fantastic Modular who were the commissioners of this, and several other excellent works, as part of a digital cultural programme for the games.

22

Feb

Games V’s Films

I am currently working with Fact, on a Computer Game Design project with a group of young people at St Francis of Assisi School, Liverpool. The group have spent the past five weeks developing their creative programming skills using a variety of problem solving activities, and they have now started to create their final games.

These include a “Herd ‘Em Up” Zookeeper game called ‘Alpha Animals’, the “Empire building”, ‘McDonalds V’s Burger King’, and a host of other games that I could never have predicted when I gave them their design brief.

Working in small groups, the young people have been set the task of developing a simple computer game, in which their avatar is caught between two conflicting groups. This has given them the chance to develop the first person games that they are excited about, but also necessitates them to program the complex systems of intelligent agents, that make good games interesting and unpredictable.

I have encouraged the group to drag their faces away from the screens as much as possible, using Knex, paper and blu-tac to build tangible representations of code, movement based activities to represent the programming of group interactions, and paper and pens to create these fantastic game design system drawings, like the one above left , which became a mixture of game design document and eco-system diagram.

 

04

Jan

A-Team Strategy

Wishing a Happy New Decade to all of the people Re-Dock have collaborated with during our first two years! We thought that it would be good to share a novel approach to project planning, management and evaluation: The A-Team.

At the early stages of any significant creative project – whether it’s an event, performance, workshop, exhibition – there are many elements to consider – artistic inspiration, collaborating partners, funding, audience, venue etc.

Balancing all of the inter-related factors that make a successful project is hard work and there is always the danger that all of these practicalities could dull the original artistic inspiration….

…what you need is – The A-Team! (cue music!)

#1 “Mad” Murdock! Allow “Mad” Murdock to get all the ideas out there without fear of criticism…. ya crazy fool!  Dare to dream.  Ask yourself – Without limits, what would you make happen?  What do you really want to do?  What has never been done before? Capture the imagination of others through playfulness!  Murdock brings to the table anarchic unrestrained creativity in a crazy-genius kinda way…

#2 B.A. (Bad Attitude) Baracas (Mr T) Next up is B.A. – a superhuman, who does not know the meaning of the word compromise.  In structuring your project, address whatever needs to be addressed, head-on!  Identify any factors which might limit the scope of your creativity and smash through those barriers!  B.A. can build the machinery to make the impossible possible.  He ain’t got no time for the jibber jabber!

#3 Faceman A really successful project needs some style!  How is your project framed and how will it reach it’s audience?  Elegance, craftsmanship, ingenuity, fireworks!  These are the qualities Face is looking for.  Allow your great ideas and hard work to have the maximum effect through exquisite execution and a touch of class.

#4 Hannibal Life is contingent – and you cannot plan for everything but, if you have been through the previous 3 stages then perhaps by now you can already find a path to success?

I love it when a plan comes together!

A-Team Strategy is akin to Edward de Bono’s ‘Thinking Hats‘ with an important difference – the A-Team didn’t just sit around thinking – they made shit happen!

06

Aug

Rotunda Cinema

On  Monday we had the first ever Rotunda cinema at the Lee Jones centre in Kirkdale.  Over 40 pensioners and guests came and enjoyed the screening, developed and hosted by the young people from Rotunda college. We had adverts for local places of interest, trailers for classic films such as ‘The Quiet Man’, the ABC minors song, a raffle, oranges and ice-cream, and of course popcorn.  Milkman Tommy himself came along to watch his own films by local film-maker Tim Brunsden.

The price of entrance was 1p or a clean jam jar.

26

Jul

Norris Green, In the Loop

For our first ‘Loop’ session in Norris Green. We worked with a group of young people to discuss their experiences of the Loop Line. After a few creative activities to stimulate thinking about the people that live in their area, and how they could use the Loop Line in future they created a Hula Hoop drawing, and later a simple computer game, which they designed so that characters tell you their sugestions for the Loop Line when you bump into them.

Here is a short film of the the Loop computer game


To  find out more go to http://liverpoolloopline.blogspot.com

or contact neil@re-dock.org

25

Jul

R.L.F.C In the Loop

As a result of their first workshop with the Loop project, the lads at Rice Lane City Farm created this film about the places that you can easily get to from the Hartley Avenue entry/exit point of the Liverpool Loop Line. Using a hula hoop to represent the area, they added images of the different places people might want to go, the people that might go there, and some of the things that they might do when they were there.The group then filmed it using an a toy train on the hula-hoop as a steady-cam, adding their own commentary.


To  see the film and find out more go to http://liverpoolloopline.blogspot.com

or contactneil@re-dock.org

22

Jul

From Rotunda With Love

After 3 workshops with young people from Rotunda college and the ‘young’ people from the Lee Jones Centre, we are proud to announce: A Small Cinema at the League of Welldoers!

“From Rotunda With Love” will feature several short films by local film-makers on a variety of issues, chosen by the young people for the League of Welldoers. Expect traditional cinema experiences such as local adverts, classic  trailers, and  people throwing orange peel.

Monday 3rd August
Box office opens 12:30pm
Presentation Starts 1:30pm
price – 1p or a jamjar

 

07

Jul

The Wizard of Oz

The A Small Cinema project got properly underway this week with the first workshop in Kirkdale, working with young people from Rotunda College, and the members of the League of Welldoers.

We  all shared memories of cinema experiences. I learnt that you used to be able to pay for entrance using Jamjars. I’d like that now!

“Went to see the Wizard of Oz with a cousin and aunty I had just met for the first time”.

For those who are fans of  The  Wizard of Oz, it’s playing at the Plaza Cinema in Crosby / Waterloo in  September.

17

Jun

Dance and Technology

On Monday I made a presentation at the conference on the use of Technology in Children’s Dance Theatre, held at FACT in Liverpool. I talked about my role as a digital designer for a children’s dance show called ‘A Different Tune’, which is currently touring, as well as giving people an insight into Isadora, a very nifty piece of software for  digital design.

I based the presentation on three oppositions:

1.  input / output

2. Values / value

3. media / idea.

 

The first aim was to communicate how Isadora can be used to take any number of inputs (sound, movement, colour, position, midi….) and apply that to an output (size, volume, position, speed, etc ). For this I had people cheering to make the screen brighter, waving their arms to make a movie go faster and turning two volunteers into a human mixing desk by having raise and lower coloured paper infront of a camera.

This then raised the question of ‘Whats the point?’. And of course there isn’t any, unless you have an idea to communicate.

Finally I asked three people to design an imaginary creature (based on my ‘Creatures in Motion‘  workshop. They then developed a biology and history for those creatures. And finally they created the sound of that creature. As they growled, chirped and mewed, the images of the creatures grew, but this time we had all invested a lot in their stories and ideas and so were  more deeply engaged by this relatively simple input / output.

I never generally like technology for its own sake and find myself often having to argue for the absence of it in shows. An audience needs to engage with ideas, not technology.

09

May

A Small Cinema at View Two Gallery

On Thursday night, the View Two Gallery was taken over by A Small Cinema – a temporary cinema installation showing short films from local film-makers. The packed out audience were treated to popcorn, red velvet seats and courteous ushers and some great films by local film-makers. A Small Cinema is now being developed into a Re-Dock project byartist Sam Meech, who will be working with communities around Liverpool to host their own Small Cinemas later in the year.

For more information contact sam@re-dock.org
Photo by Helen Willis