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Site-specific

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.

Games We Found at the V&A

used with permission from The Victoria and Albert Museum: Photographer – Gabriel Bertogg

The V&A is in an extraordinary place. Every surface of the Victorian building is embellished, and once you start looking at the building between the exhibits it’s hard to stop. Every section of floor seems to have a different pattern of tiles. Each stairwell has its own visual schema.

Games, Physical, Site-specific

One Easy Step installation

Click through gallery above for pictures

As part of King’s College London’s Arts and Humanities Festival, we’ve created One Easy Step, an installation running in the Quad from 10-21 October.

We’ve created a series of patterns on the ground designed to invite playful interactions, following a period of playtesting and observation over the summer. And within these patterns, we’ve placed five mirrored plinths, each one gently glowing and with a purpose-designed game that passers-by are invited to play. Perhaps they’ll need to solve a maze; perhaps they’ll be invited to ask a question about the future, or race to spot particular objects in the world around them.

Alongside the installation, we’re currently working on a report into public play based on interviews and our observations, which will be published later in October.