Browsing Category

Research

Playable Patterns

splatters-1

We recently spent a week at QUAD in Derby as part of our digital participatory artist residency. We’ll be going back in February; this post discusses what we’ve been making so far, and the games we’ve been testing out with different groups of players at QUAD.

When we play a digital game, we expect the game to pay attention to us. To know what we’re doing. To respond. Which is reasonable, right?

But the board of a board game doesn’t know what piece you’ve put down (well, with some exceptions). A hopscotch grid chalked on the ground doesn’t light up to let you know where your stone fell.

During our time at QUAD, we’ve been thinking about what happens if you try to make digital games where the play is socially, rather than technologically, mediated. What possibilities exist in this design space that are different from both traditional digital games, and from purely analogue installations?

Playable Patterns is an ongoing experiment in playable digital work where the interaction and play happens purely between people; where the computer doesn’t look at what you’re doing. Specifically, it’s a series of patterns that move and change in particular ways, designed to be projected onto walls or floors in order to enable people to play.

Events, Games, Physical, Research

The Scientific Village Fete at New Scientist Live

click through gallery above

From 22 to 25 September, we ran the Scientific Village Fete at New Scientist Live, a four-day festival of ideas and discovery.

Our corner of the festival invited passers-by to play traditional village-fete-style games – but with an astronomical twist.

In the Planet Shy, people threw balls coconut-shy style – but their aim was to knock down a scale model of the Solar System.

In The Two-Body Problem, a classic demonstration of how gravity works became a head-to-head challenge, as groups of players rolled marbles planets into orbit.

In Space on Earth, a co-operative game created by Saffron Parker, players put their hands into simulated spacesuit gloves and had to try to screw on nuts and bolts and tie ropes together.

And in game-show-style So Wrong It’s Right, performers drew the crowds before challenging players to go head-to-head against the quirks of their own brain, with a challenge that used the Stroop Effect to turn something quite simple (say seven random words) into a real challenge.

The games drew thousands of players over four days – including real live astronaut Al Worden, shown playing here with Sumit Paul-Choudhury, the festival director (and editor-in-chief of New Scientist).

One Easy Step: installation and talk

Events, Physical, Research

Over the past couple of months, for our project One Easy Step, we’ve been doing a lot of research into public play – interviews, observation, reading, experiments. You can see a lot of the interviews we’ve conducted here on the website – and we’ve got a few more coming up soon.

This has all been part of the King’s College London Arts and Humanities Festival, which this year is themed around play – and there are some amazing events going on, talks and workshops and installations and chances to play.

One Easy Step will culminate with an installation running from 10-21 October, and we’ll be delivering a talk on 11 October to share the research we’ve been doing over the last couple of months – so if you’re interested in the research we’ve been doing, do come along! Tickets for the talk are free, but registration is required.