Archive for June, 2008

Our City, Our Music pitch at Manchester Art Gallery

The winning pitch from b.TWEEN 08. Thanks to all of you who voted for us by phone and on the web-site. Last night we had the privilege of talking about the project in front of Jimmy Choo at Leeds College of Art & Design.

the bands-and-fans dynamic!

“While MySpace was not launched with bands in mind, they were welcomed. Indie-rock bands from the Los Angeles region began creating profiles, and local promoters used MySpace to advertise VIP passes for popular clubs. Intrigued, MySpace contacted local musicians to see how they could support them (T. Anderson, personal communication, September 28, 2006). Bands were not the sole source of MySpace growth, but the symbiotic relationship between bands and fans helped MySpace expand beyond former Friendster users. The bands-and-fans dynamic was mutually beneficial: Bands wanted to be able to contact fans, while fans desired attention from their favorite bands and used Friend connections to signal identity and affiliation.”

boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html

Filming at the ICA

I asked friend and master of improv Zoot Lynam to hit the streets with his accordion try out some of the ideas we have for how a live music performance and interview might feel. In advance of our pitch at the ICA in London on Tuesday the 10th June, Zoot headed round the corner from the ICA to record some live music and wisdom in front of one of the statues.

While this is only a rough test, we have some great footage to try to edit together into a working mScape to demo in the bar after our presentation. The audience at the ICA should be able to head out round the corner of the gallery to trigger the live performance.

As a taster, here’s an out-take and an admission from Zoot that he might not have written the song he’s performing.

Bristol Pervasive Media Studio

Ben and MartinLast month we had the chance to visit the creators of the mScape platform in the SWRDA and HP Lab supported Pervasive Media Studio. After a kick off from Katz Kiely, we had a day of demos and discussion, and got to hear a lot of tips and tricks to getting the most out of the technology.

It was great to get a technical overview from Richard Hull, Jo Reid, Tom Melamed and Ben Clayton and then go straight out with the iPaqs to try out the suggestions they made. We talked about ‘magic moments’ – where the mScape media and the location in which it is being viewed sync up perfectly – like the narrator talking about seagulls and then an actual seagull flying past. The mScape experience guidelines suggest that interviewing and creating content in the final location is a key element of fostering magic moments.

mScape technical overviewFor us, a sense of place is central to the performances in our project. The musicians will choose the city spot and then talk about why the location is important to them as we walk towards it. The live performance recordings will blur the sounds of the surroundings from the bands and the listeners together. To heighten this effect we will be using binaural microphones (two microphones worn in the ears) to give people listening with headphones a real feeling of shared experience.

Blast Theory – Can you see me now?

Runner with handheld

Blast Theory are well know for their participatory events that fuse satellite technology, the web, and humans running around with handheld devices in a giant game of fused virtual and reality chase.  Anyone I’ve met who have been involved in their projects or witnessed the event in action have had raved reviews about how much fun can be had while operating within the hybrid realities and responding to the elasticity that occurs between the GPS rendered map/points and the hard copy… They’ve had a blast! One point I find admirable about their project is their argument and pursuit to ‘establish a cultural space on these devices’.

I recommend reading their “Can You See Me?” conceptual background, or even better, getting involved in one of their projects.

BBC Sound Index

The BBC has launched a new Beta platform, Sound Index, that crawls through popular music sites and blogs ( Bebo, MySpace, Last.FM, iTunes, Google and YouTube ) capturing public info off of them about what people are listening to, watching, downloading, and logging on to. It does some math.. crunches the data and makes an index of the top 1000 tunes & artists placing them in order of their popularity. The Index is updated every 6 hours.

It works along the similar principle as Jonathan Harris’ and Sep Kamvar’s, We Feel Fine, which searches the internet every 20 minutes for people blogging about their feelings. And all pulled together in a very pretty way.

Wild Sanctuary

Wild Sanctuary boast that they “are home to the largest private archive of natural sound, anywhere!”.  Their database features over 15,000 different species of animals, and entire soundscapes.  I went to their KML layer for google maps and enjoyed listening to the Aberdare Salient waterhole in Kenya, recorded by Bernie Krause in 1983. 

http://wildsanctuary.googlepages.com/tour.kml

http://www.wildsanctuary.com/