We’ve been busy thinking of ways for more people to engage with us, so we’re dreaming up a whole new hamper of playful open events to tuck into. Some are starting to happen now including Show and Tell Salons. These encourage people to bring along and share an object and an idea that interests them – anything that lights their curiosity – to share and discuss with a small group. They’re simply to make a space to spark curiosity and interesting conversations.
So, last week a Show and Tell Salon was hosted by Ellie Robinson and Tassos Stevens of Coney together with Paul Bennun and our other friends at Somethin Else, and with many including the Ministry of Stories in attendance. Here’s the lowdown.
Tassos Stevens @tassosstevens spoke on talking with crowds, starting with soliloquies and asides – the theatrical conventions of thinking aloud and talking to audiences – and how the architecture of a playspace like Shakespeare’s Globe helps an actor talk to a whole audience by talking to a few. We talked around how this might apply to platforms like Twitter. He also spoke about talking using crowds – the methods of the human microphone and of active listening with hand signals, reinvented by the Occupy movement.
Mark Sorrell @sorrell was thinking about artefacts and brought in an artefact of his own: a gargantuan game cartridge for the Neo Geo, worth £200 when new in 1991. These could also be plugged into arcade machines so that you could play your saved game in public. We talked about old video games and how playing games at home is now more popular than the arcade gaming experience.
Alex Rowse @alexrowse had been to the Vintage Festival at Southbank where she happened upon a piece of interactive theatre entitled A Portrait of an Ordinary Festival-Goer by the brilliant company Inspector Sands. The piece was partly inspired by the Mass Observation movement that formed in 1937. Alex told us what she’d then discovered about the history of the Mass Observation group, and how everything that they researched and recorded is in an archive at the University of Sussex. We talked about the Mass Observation’s function in society and how issues of privacy were treated in collecting information anonymously in the past vs. how we treat it today.
Paul Bennun @benoonbenoon spoke about how the visuals of a game interact with the game itself, using a current project as an example. He showed beautifully rich illustrations of the main characters of the game and the game environment. We talked about how narrative affects games, and whether games would benefit from more sparse, symbolic representations (as used in some kinds of theatre and live work), rather than the current trend for ‘real life’, linear, filmic graphics. We wondered if more symbolic graphics would allow players to ‘fill in the gaps’ in terms of imagining the characters, the fictional world and the relationships between them if they could ‘see’ less of it.
We then talked about whether the screen that people were playing in front of was the barrier that prevented players from engaging on a deeper level, which was elegantly disputed with a beautiful example of the screen as a window to a world, rather than a barrier. The example came from Steve Ackerman , who showed us a comic book app that allows the viewer to tilt the screen in order to look at the world of the comic from new angles. It’s called the First Witch.
If anything here sparks any thoughts or questions from you, we’d love to hear them.