Monday, September 17, 2007

Offload Festival

We got back from Bristol and a short break in wales to recover, yesterday.

Offload was a really interesting festival and was good to be part of a festival that looked beyond the arts debates and the detail of location based gaming, locative arts, digital arts etc... and was more about wider issues of health, wealth and the environment. It somehow felt more in touch with how we work as artists. Our interest in ideas as opposed to an obsession in defining what we do.

The festival opened with a very interesting talk by John Thackera who has written a book about design and gave 5 issues for working with design and new media in the context of environmental change, looking at qaulity of life and economy. It was very interesting and good to have a theoritical approach to the context in which many of us artists are working.

The first day we were setting up and testing for the workshops at Create (a Bristol council based environmental centre on the island in a huge old warehouse). Nottingham seems so un-ambitious after you see Create, Arnolfini, Spike Island, Watershed, all close together. Nottingham could be like this, it has the people, the interest, the audiences. HOpefully the new contemporary arts centre will begin to change things.

The evening we were kindly invited to Maarten's house, one of the organisers for dinner with some of the other artists, this was great and always good to all meet up. Although we got very lost getting there, Matt trying to google earth the way with a postcode i wrote down wrong. Me, Matt and Robin stumbling around bristol in the dark.

The workshop day went really well. Had 15 eleven year olds, from a school in Wells. We collaborated with the Participate (BBC project) group to combine both our workshops which seemed to work really well. giving a chance for the kids to experience the game and creative side of the technology and health, alongside getting a more details bolts and bits insight into sensing yourself and the environment from Participate. They loved the monster that they named fluffy. one girl became a little obsessed...

That night we were pretty knackered from chasing hyper 11 year olds round the field so we had a meal (me, Matt and Robin) and then went to the screening of Silent Running in the Euroland ampitheatre on the dock, very strange experience. we were staying just across from there and spent alot of time feeling freaked out by the Euroland style of development, that we keep encountering. not made for humans.

Saturday was watershed day. went well on the whole. not a large audience but the feedback Lizzie got(who was doing evaluation for us) was very interesting and on the whole positive. had issues with the network caused by it being a massively busy day in bristol (carnival, several festivals and a march!) this messed up some of the multi-player game experience.

but overall the audience returned from playing looking healthier and smiling, which is the aim of the game...

The monster had a hard time, some kids got a bit excited and stole it's tail and then a drunken bristolian decided to strangle it...

at the end of the day we went off to Wales to see our friends Stuart and Nicola, have a walk in the hills, eat pub food and recover.

Thanks to Offload team and particularly Connor and Ira, the monsters!!

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