Project blog

Posted on Mon 26 Mar 2018


Final Weeks: New Talent Residency

Whenever there is a deadline there is always a push to show something new.The new talents showcase was the perfect opportunity to push for new work to be made, pushing at what we can achieve and to try to give people a taste…

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Alec Stevens

Alec Stevens is a Bristol based Sculptor that is part of No Stone Unturned, a company combining Sculpture, Storytelling and Technology.

Project

Short Back and Sides

Using mobile phone technology, storytelling and sculpture, to create a city-wide experience that reveals stories as the user makes their way through the city.

Whenever there is a deadline there is always a push to show something new.

The new talents showcase was the perfect opportunity to push for new work to be made, pushing at what we can achieve and to try to give people a taste of what is to come. It was a really fun event where Vic and Dave introduced the projects but also explained what the residency was all about which was to try something new and really push it.

Since the last blog post two sculptures have been completed one that looks like a drain-cover and one that was an A-board, 3 new musical pieces that inform the audio element of the app as well as a more developed version of the app, the dial has been tested and 6 have been made, we’ve also worked with two voice actors to bring Jo’s stories to life and a section of the app has been made so that people can tune into the frequencies on the sculptures. 

Show them what we’ve got!

*Set up of iPhones with radio tuning dials

Housed within one of the events spaces in the watershed the evening had a feeling of celebration, intrigue and fun.  Our talk to introduce the project was first off the starting block.

As we are three and we had to cover a lot of content in a short amount of time, we split up the talk in three parts. Jo talking about the story, Nikki the tech and I the sculptural element and the audience experience. Nikki had made a video that shows detailed the route and how people interact with the sculptures out in the streets which gave the work a place.

*Presentation during the New Talents Residency showcase

We really wanted to create something for people to test and this took the form of us trying out a specific section of the app, the element where people tune (like an old radio tuner) to the stories developed for the experience. This involved getting a group of five people together giving them a phone each with a version of the radio app, a set of headphones and a prototype radio dial. 

We paraded them down to the locations of two of the sculptures found by the outside entrance of the watershed building and instructed them to tune in to the frequency found on the sculptures. A lot was revealed that are very basic but were over looked such as, When does someone know when they have reached the right frequency? Is it easy to turn up the volume? Do people know what to do?

*Playtest of Radio app and sculptures

As people did the experience, I asked them informally what they thought and if any improvement could be made they are summarised below:

-aesthetic changes to the app.

-sound quality and consideration to volume within chosen location.

-sound markers for when you have found the right frequency.

-possibility to add greater detail to sculptures as we have captured audience’s attention.

-Larger radio catchment area on the app

As the event was well attended and the drinks were freely flowing it was a great opportunity to chat to residents and the public about the work and how we could improve. Talking to Tarim in the bar afterward he informed me that the reference to Radio Caroline was good but the detail of it being within the FM frequency was incorrect as it was aired in LW or MW. In future editions this will be changed to add authenticity. The little details count!

The Future

The residency has put us in a strong position to apply for more funding. As part of the residency a video was produced to explain the project succinctly. This will be an excellent tool for attracting investment and to express what the project is about. 

Link here: https://www.watershed.co.uk/studio/projects/short-back-and-sides

In the short term we can implement the changes that are suggested within the test phase of the project. With more funding we can create the audio content for the entire experience, create an extended series of sculptures and get the app tech to a point where it functions well and is aesthetically where we want it. 

It has always been present but gaining a working relationship with the local council is very important for works of this kind, we hope to have a series of meetings to ensure that this project be a success but also future projects where we need to involve the cities streets.

Using what we know from this work and using it as a framework, we want to create works that cover varied themes linked to particular places and other cities where stories have been forgotten. Think zoos, markets, waterways, museums and anywhere where people had been. 

Watch this space!

Photo Credit: Shamil Ahmed 


Project blog by Alec Stevens

Posted on Mon 5 Mar 2018

This residency is a juggling act. This project is formed of three people. All acting in equal ways. Myself, Nikki and Jo Kimber.This residency has been different to the ones I have done before where I alone am responsible for…