Archive for June, 2007|Monthly archive page

Lashing of ginger beer

modelle rouge

I’ve just been in the Surreal Things exhibition of Surrealism and Design at the V&A so I thought I’d try a bit of automatic writing in homage to Breton, Dali & co. To get my head into the write space I’ve enlisted the help of a half dozen vodka and ginger beer cocktails, to get me a bit closer to my unconscious you’ll understand. Nice of them to name the exhibition after my Twitter account.

So I was at the V&A to help the good folk there celebrate their 150th anniversary. I get a good vibe from the place and have great memories of it. Somewhere around 2004 we threw a great Ideasfactory Creative Industries party there. In the central Italianate courtyard a then little known DJ from the Isle of Skye called Mylo played a blinding set. At the end of the night the Channel 4 lawyers (led by groovy George Avory) danced in the fountains – a mark of a good do in my book.

The following year I worked on a project called Every Object Tells a Story led by the V&A which had its moments (it seems to have largely disappeared – wot a waste). I would walk past the fabulous objects in the galleries, staircases and corridors – which the staff no longer saw – and marvel at the higgledy-piggledy array of design heritage. The place is a treasure-trove of inspiration.

If I didn’t know better, I could have sworn I saw a well-known potter in a dress this evening. Did I really have that convo with Janet Street-Porter about how internet ‘friends’ was a load of old bollocks? I was just about to launch a counter-argument when a strange lady from the Daily Mail intervened and said she wanted to sleep with me and Ben Adler of Optomen TV (Strange Lady may well have been lashed on ginger beer). Was I imagining it or was the velvet-jacketed one boasting of his size 14 shoes and linking them to Gordon Ramsay’s size 12s and, by extension, his aubergine? And how come Michael Nyman was still hanging out with such young ladies? Plus ca change as Magritte used to say. By the way his painting of the pair of boots with toes (modelle rouge) was a highlight in the show – he’s so right, boots on feet is an outrage and we shouldn’t stand for it.

I had a pleasant convo with a posh furniture designer, punctuated by Love Action and other 80s grooves. We were marvelling at the jugglers’ coloured illuminated batons which all changed colour in sync – perhaps the best application of wireless technology I’ve seen to date. Did I really see semi-naked women twirling fire? Or was it all just a dream…

Making an interactive drama out of a creative crisis


The debate over how to do interactive drama has raged for well over a decade – I can recall conversations and gatherings about branched narratives, multiple endings and the like peppering the years of my working life since the earliest days of interactive technology. I still hear those kind of conversations from time to time despite the ubiquity of games on- and off-line.

I had the pleasure last week of hooking up with Greg Goodfried, co-creator of Lonelygirl15 in Banff, Alberta. I’m a huge admirer of LG15 as a beacon of interactive drama – it perfectly exploits the fact that the wherewithal to tell stories in interactive video has finally come to be. Lonelygirl points the way ahead in its well judged, fully engaged exploitation of YouTube, networks and collaborative media.

The work Tim Wright and Rob Bevan, my collaborators on MindGym, did in the late 90s on their follow-up project Online Caroline (and subsequent forays into interactive narrative) was visionary and on the right trajectory, but without the benefit of the ideal tools now at our disposal. Caroline was very much the mummy of Lonelygirl.

How KateModern goes, LG15’s new commission from Bebo in the UK, will be fascinating to follow. What’s intriguing is that Kate will be part of the same immersive fictional world as Bree and the Hymn of One so there’s every chance the stories will meet and cross-fertilise somewhere along the line.

How the hand-crafted story and community weaving of LG15 scales up will also be very interesting to observe.

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