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Exhibition walkthrough – Can You Hear Me? I Can See You!

An 18 minute single shot walk-through of the new Re-Dock exhibition at FACT Liverpool – ‘Can You Hear Me? I Can See You!’. See the space, learn about the works, meet the project team and the artists involved – all in one epic take.

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Can You Hear Me? I Can See You!

Our new exhibition – Can You Hear Me? I Can See You! – will open in the FACT Connects space in the foyer of the building on Light Night, May 17 2013.

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Skype Advice Portal

Skype Advice Portal is an interactive video installation, created for the ‘Can You Hear Me? I Can See You!’ exhibition at FACT Liverpool.

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SYNTAX: Coding for Writers

At the end of June Mercy will deliver a new iteration of “Syntax: Coding for Writers” in the form of a two-day intensive skills-based workshop, which will be presented as part of FACT’s Open Curate It programme.  SYNTAX was originally devised in 2011 by John O’Shea and Nathan Jones as a framework for writers and coders to work together.  The SYNTAX experiment was the first time that our different collectives (Re-Dock and Mercy) had formally collaborated – it’s really great to see this initiative moving forward!

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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.




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.