Week 15 (by Liberty Martin)

Term two began with a four week investigation into Digital Media and Dramatic writing led by Nina Steiger, Associate Director at Soho Theatre.

 

Teasing out the difference between the digital and the non-digital proved interesting and surprisingly difficult. Is the opposite of the digital sphere ‘real life’? Can we say that? In a room where almost all of us had checked the internet before getting out of bed that morning, it felt like perhaps we couldn’t.

 

When your Oyster card uses RFID to convert electromagnetic waves into digital data, and misplacing it behind the radiator could mean you forego the chance to see your cousin off at the airport, perhaps your ‘real life’ can’t be so distinctly separated from the digital world. But, as humans are tool-using animals, maybe we can make a distinction between the kinds of technology we use to express ourselves, to work and to interact. If we think about digital and physical as separate things, then we can draw a line between digital and analogue information or signals. Here are some of my own examples of digital and analogue things.

 

Analogue Things: Record players, carpet, cassette tapes, traffic cones, photographs

 

Digital Things: Space Invaders, e-mail, Tweets, html, blogs, dating websites, Flappy Bird

 

Things that are Both: Danger, intrigue, longing, games, espionage, love, pictures of food, stories

 

As a group of writers the focus of our investigation was how to tell stories using digital media. The manner of our investigation was to interact with the Interesting List, a vast and growing collection of awesome stuff to do with telling stories digitally.  From an Altered Reality Game like I Love Bees, an online mystery game with real life players, to The Beckoning of Lovely, a film project involving hundreds of strangers across the world, our Interesting List brings together examples of events created in the digital and physical world.

 

To introduce us to the world of cross platform story telling we met Matt Locke, who spoke to us about his work on multi platform projects around things like Skins, Misfits, the 2012 Paralympics at Channel Four, and his new company Storythings who consult with companies to create interactive projects like Follow Me with Pulse Films.

 

Verity McIntosh also joined us to give us a fantastic insight into the type of work going on at the Pervasive Media Studio at Bristol’s Watershed, where they’re investigating ideas like the Playable City, to create projects like Hello Lamp Post, where Bristol’s street furniture could text and have conversations with the public.

 

Our own project ideas during the investigation incorporated digital media to tell personal and political stories creatively across platforms. Our new vocabulary is informing our work to make a digital media project and event for the London International Comic Festival, Comica at the British Library this summer. This project will use Conductrr, a brand new software tool for managing cross platform story projects, to allow audiences to interact with the theme of Breakdowns in the digital and the physical world.

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