Play as a topic is in vogue, for sure.
At some point I was wondering about the role of iterative development cycles, frequent releases, rapid prototyping and so on as allowing for more play in design processes. Taking software development as an example, the waterfall model of development (analyse, specify, design, code, test) only really has one opportunity for play, whereas recent movements like Agile Programming afford a little bit more experimentation.
I was also wondering about the relationship between play and flow. Is one necessary, or sufficient, for the other?
Performance was a big part of a lot of projects that were talked about at PLAN. I'm stuck on this one because I can't help thinking of performance as attention-seeking, or performance as display. This one requires more reading, I think.
There was a strong distinction made between inter-disciplinary teams and trans-disciplinary teams (with cross-disciplinarity - if that is a word - being somewhere between the two). It was agreed that the former inevitably results in siloed development teams, and that the latter requires a shared vocabulary to facilitate understanding and common goals. As someone who instinctively falls into roles bridging the art-science divide (as I'm sure many people do) I didn't realise it would be as big an issue in this kind of forum. (In school, and college, and university, I never really did one discipline, and I don't consider myself wholly a part of either the computer science or architecture & design communites in my post-graduate studies either).
There was a call for raising awareness of the potential applications of locative media amongst those disiciplines which weren't represented at PLAN. One such discipline which came to my mind was oral history. A large number of the projects discussed involved using locative media to enhance the delivery of place-specific story-telling and to restore the context in historical re-enactments (psycho-histories?). In the bar, Giles Lane mentioned to me some of the issues around public collections of oral history recordings - namely that as personal first-hand accounts they aren't always cleared for public consumption. Still, I think it would be good to get the people making these recordings to be aware of the possibilities for presenting them in context.
My final thought was about the role of locative media practitioners as tool makers, in the same sense that most computer scientists would consider themselves tool makers. (This notion gained some ground in the UK in recent times, I think, and perhaps contributed to the increased emphasis on inter- (and trans-) disciplinary research now going on in UK CS departments).
I've just finished a rough transcript of my notes from day 1 of this week's PLAN workshop.
I'll be attending this. If anyone want to meet up, let me know in the comments or by email.
First Workshop of the Pervasive and Locative Arts Network (PLAN)
ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts) London UK
Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd February 2005
10am-6pm (music 8pm-1am Tuesday only)
PLAN website: http://www.open-plan.org
A two day event bringing together leading international figures to review the emerging fields of locative and pervasive media.
Wireless and locative technologies are enabling people to break away from traditional computer interfaces. Mobile devices are mediating new kinds of social interaction and responding to physical location and context.
What kinds of creative, social, economic and political expression become possible when every device we carry, the fabric of the urban environment and even the contours of the Earth become a digital canvas?
The event launches a new international network (PLAN), bringing together artists, activists, hardware hackers, bloggers, game programmers, free network builders, semantic web philosophers, cartographers, economists, architects, and university and industry researchers.
Speakers include Duncan Campbell, Anne Galloway, Matthew Chalmers, Matt Adams, Bill Gaver, Eyal Weizman, Sally Jane Norman, Giles Lane, Usman Haque, Franz Wunschel, Richard Hull, Jo Walsh, Teri Rueb, Minna Tarkka, Tapio Makela, RIXC, Pete Gomes, Saul Albert, Susan Kennard, Michael Longford, Steve Benford, Drew Hemment, Ben Russell. Music in the bar from Xela (City Centre Offices, Type Records), XFM Flo-Motion DJ Nick Luscombe and Apachi61. [Full list of speakers below]
PLAN is supported by EPSRC and led by Nottingham's Mixed Reality Lab, with partners including Futuresonic (UK), Blast Theory (UK), Banff (Canada) and M-cult (Finland).
The event is open to the public. Event tickets are priced at £1.50 per day or £3 for two days to cover the ICA daily membership. Please book early to avoid disappointment. [See below for registration process.]