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Posted on Sun 21 Jan 2018

Week 1: New Talent Residency

An introduction to the Pervasive Media Studio community

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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.


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.

Hello and welcome to the first instalment that describes my experience within the Pervasive Media Studios New Talent Residency.

This week was all about introducing myself and my collaborator Nikki Hogg to the studio community, sharing what we hope to achieve in the studio and to experience what has been done already by residents.

The new residents cohort comprise of :

Micheal and Laurence of CARGO, who will be developing an exhibition related to Bristol's History within the slave trade.

Vytas and Jon of Somestic Media, who will be creating objects related to back hacking social media information and embedding them into domestic objects.


Me and Nikki Hogg of No Stone Unturned. We will be developing a way for people to interact with Bristol’s LGBT history, focusing on the stories centred within the oldest part of the city, St Nic's Market. Mixing Sculpture, Gameplay and Story.

As part of the introduction week there were a series of workshops that revealed to each other what we were hoping to achieve and mostly how playful we are about idea generation and our approach. We are all playful people it seems.

One of the highlights of the week was undertaking an audio walk by Ambient Literature called ‘It must of been dark by then’. This experience comprises of an app based on your phone, a pair of headphones and a book. The experience takes you on a physical journey wherever you are where you decide on the direction, the pace and the choices based on prompts given through the headphones. I was linking spaces within the city of Bristol with locations around the world through themes of shelter, rising water levels, encroaching deserts and barriers. This was so powerful as a work because I was able to step back from my reality, I was focusing on where I was stepping, the plant life around me, the voice in my head and to the questions the app was proposing to me. I particularly enjoyed the noises and the soundtrack that changed based on how you progress through the experience. This was well researched and executed and included a physical objects you had to carry around that was beautifully considered.

This week we also were connected with our mentor Sharon Clark of Raucous. We discussed with her our idea and how we can engage the audience more based on her experience of theatrical storytelling. Through the discussion we realised that the story is key for this project and a more dramatised experience may see better results in connecting and engaging the experiencer with the world we wish to build for them. At the moment I am researching through film and anecdotes the change of attitude of homosexuality in the1960’s when government legislation changed in 1967 decriminalised homosexual acts in private between two men, both of whom had to have attained the age of 21.  It will be within the coming weeks that we will really figure out the barebones of what this project will become. It’s an exciting time but also little unnerving. I feel it is imperative to get stuck in with the research at this point and the stories that ill find. For me this project is a way to represent a history that is at risk of being forgotten, for people to be driven to search and for the experience to be impactful. It has only been 50 years since it was illegal for a man to be with another man that they were in love with or that they fancied on a given night and even after this period it was illegal to try to meet anyone in a public setting. Through talking with Jo Kimber our writer this moment could be used to link up the historic sight specific anecdotes that mostly are connected to police and newspaper reports of men being caught in compromising situations or known locations of a public punishment apparatus.

This week I also met with Cheryl Morgan of OutStories Bristol. It is their database that we will initially use as foundation points for our work. Have a look at their mapping project here to find out about LGBT stories in your locality.

As this week ends I’m filled with more questions on how to best move forward and how all of our skills can be utilised. But most importantly an excitement and drive to better understand the city I live in and produce a good artwork.

Next week I will be in full research mode, creating call outs for more stories and delving into sight specific research of the location of St Nic’s market.

Watch this space.

Project blog by Alec Stevens

Posted on Tue 6 Feb 2018

This past couple of weeks has been linked to researching and organising what we know and finding out more about a certain time in history.