Participants > Katherine Jewkes > Journal
On Friday, we did a lunchtime talk at the Pervasive media Studio on what we’ve been up to in Sprint one of the Recife: Playable City, and I thought it would be nice to write up what we presented on behalf of the team I was in with Leo, Phill, Rosie and Daniel.
We developed two ideas, which were both quite playful subtle experiences, though they range in scale quite dramatically. The first being a one on one experience- for you and the city, called KEY TO THE CITY, and the second being a much larger crowd experience (for up to 1000 people at a time) called MURMURATION.
KEY TO THE CITY looked at how you can create a sense of curiosity about the city by placing unusual and playful objects in unexpected places. We experimented with what happened when you place a doorway in the centre of a busy street, and spent time looking at what the invitation to play must be for people to feel compelled enough by the object to play with it.
Take a look at the video below to see some of our early tests of the door, we were looking at what signs were most popular and which sounds triggered the most joyful responses.
We really liked the strong visual of having a door in the centre of nowhere, and thought that it would work well as a standalone piece, but also wanted to explore simple game mechanics that would make the experience into a more pervasive city wide game. We thought about how you can use doors as a platform for the stories of the city to be told, and started to look into some of the rich history of Recife that we could use in the next iteration of the experience when we get over to Recife.
MURMURATION was our second idea for a much larger scale experience for up to (or even over) 1000 people at a time. We started by talking about the times when we’ve felt really connected to a city, and quite a lot of the responses centered around the feeling of being in a crowd that is moving as one (whether in riots, or more peaceful walks in the park!) We wanted to design an experience that would reward participants for moving in sync with one another.
We talked about when Shoal of fish would swim in sync together, and we started to look and talk about other examples in nature of swams or murmurations where there is a natural group movement (take a look at the video below for some clips of what we mean!).
Rosie suggested an idea of sending out over 1000 beautiful objects to the people of Recife, with a note that encouraged them to come together with the object in hand at dusk one evening. The object would respond to being in the presence of other objects, glowing and playing music when the crowd moves in Sync. Positively rewarding groups for moving together around a place.
We got some LEDs, sensors and Ping-Pong balls (thanks to the team at Pervasive media studio for finding us a bag of Ping-Pong balls at 5pm on a Thursday evening!) and we had a go at making a very basic mock up of what they might look and feel like. We thought that even these simple mock-ups were really beautiful and people responded really well to them. I’m looking forward to seeing how we develop these objects and the mechanics around them when we meet together in Recife!
If you’re interested in talking to us about how we made these early tests, you can leave a comment on this blog, or get in touch with the team directly by clicking on our names: Rosie, Phill, Leo and Daniel.