Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Day 4 - Ageing It

today things got easier and people are relaxing and getting into things. this morning we had to pitch our science ideas, which is wierd for me as we have already worked for the sci-art wellcome trust projects and pitched this kind of thing. The whole pitching ideas for the sake of pitching is hard to get your head round and i am learning alot but also not sure about it... particularly when it is something close to my heart and i know good ideas and the magic of them can't come in half an hour with a bunch of people who you don't know well.

but everyone is pretty inspiring..and somehow each time has had it's own excitment.

Today we had to decide which project to properly pitch and i am working with Lucy and Tassos and Nick on a pitch about an intergenerational TV doc, web project, roadshow and game about ageing. testing the uk on how old they really are based on phyisical, psychological, and emotional age. playing games and looking at what ageing really means. pitching people against each other in an age faking it "like who wants to be a millionaire". in some ways the whole tv thing is so dumbed down and deritvative, in others the people here are amazing and skilled and great tv makers who have gone against the grain... which makes you realise that it doesn't have to be, and i am not saying any other media is any different. the feeling is though, or difference is that tv is so personality led. not that art isn't but it is something that has probably attracted me and us (AI) to interactive media... which is the collaborative nature of it all.

anyway tonight was dinner at Devonshire Fell (the duke of devonshire's restaurant) have managed to avoid risotto for a very creamy gnocchi (when will high class cooks learn to cook GOOD vegetarian food???) all i can say is if i had paid for my meal tonight i would have asked for my money back or to cook for myself... i bet it cost about £50 a head...

then g+t at bar with brief conversation about muppets... not having time for work catch up will have to get up in the morning for that...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Day Two - NonStop Media

a day in my life

The day began with a beautiful breakfast and a discussion about sensors, wii remotes and Them and Us, found myself on a table with like minded people who also had an interest in live gaming.

Launched straight into an overwhelming set of presentations from the 30 people (approx) here who all consume media nonstop throughout the day, multi tasking and facebooking along with all the other widgets gadgets and geek worlds that they keep one finger in as they work - with media.
The whole thing is making me feel a bit on a tilt.

The rest of the day worked at the speed of light. Moving from one task to another, working with new people, crossing over tasks, to the point that we were walking into rooms and not knowing who we had been talking to and frankly what we were doing there. But meeting the most amazing people and learning alot about the media world.

The hotel is elegant and full of rich retired people sitting on sofas covered in expensive jewellery, it's won an award for best small hotel in the uk and has a helipad for rich people to pop in. The Duke chooses all the paintings individually for each room, with all that time on his hands, he should get a proper job. like in the media or something.

The afternoon caused a major slump with no break all day from talking and thinking of ideas with so many people. I had a bit of a majr questioning as the 30s-40s white middle class london-ness (and it takes one to know one) of it all hit me and thinking about the Equal project and attempts to widen the amount of people from different cultures and backgrounds into the industry suddenly felt like even more of an impossible task than it ever did, i feel the ideas (as with TV) reflects this. we did a map of the uk at one point where everyone had to stand in the field with the helicopter and group depending on location. the wall was hadrian's wall and so scotland wasn't even allowed. i was alone in the midlands, sole representative a few from Sheffield (seeing as it is an event as part of a sheffield festival) and one from Manchester.

the meal was a bus ride away like a school trip to the duke's restaurant. Today's risotto was butter nut squash (i am not kidding risotto for a week). had some really great chats with a documentary film maker who has worked in the amazon, and the guy from res fest and ended the evening with a gin and tonic in the bar with Mike a consultant, project manager.

No time apart from morning and late night for work catching up or keeping in contact, it is delibrate on their part but is hard work to be cut off from my world. particularly at this point when lots of things are happening at the moment and i feel like i'm missing stuff (and not getting things done) and being in such an alien environment is hard to keep my head on, not the only one feeling this i know. somehow feels different from going abroad, i think because i love the making and the doing and what i do. talking about it is much more frustrating and confusing.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Day One - Crossover Labs Yorkshire

Arrived early and confused taxi driver who was waiting for some different people, finally got a taxi with one of the other participants and was driven through skipton to the hotel nestled in the moors, a 17th century hotel that is owned as part of the duke of devonshire estate, like staying in one of the big estates that my mum used to take us to on grandmother days out. have a lovely room with chintz arm chairs and a view on the moors. what wierd places this work takes me to.

thought i had ended up on a media lab with no internet but tech guy sorted us out. went down to the drinks and managed to gulp down a much needed gin and tonic before introducing myself to all the other participants, whats your name, what do you do, are you old or new media?! (TV or other stuff it seems) are you from london, etc...

was announced that after dinner we would have a task, to map our media consumption throughout the day (and therefore reveal our personalities - MAYBE?) , we had to pair up with someone who does different media stuff so i got talking to some tv, old media people as they owned up. i don't know i like to dance maybe i could be old media. but here to be new ideas person so jumped on the interactive media band wagon whilst trying to think of ways to describe what we do in one succinct commercially viable sentence, as normal. Mudlark helps and now it seems to make a very convincing story.

sat next to a fellow vegetarian (old media) and discussed the possibility of eating risotto for the rest of the week, got served risotto, then very nice chocolate mousse, raspberries and ice cream that made up for it. was advised by chef to ring other restaurants we are going to for rest of the week to ask them not to make risotto. fellow vegetarian was very nice and discussed possibility of radio show to link into amazon project, sounds good.

after food (and wine and gin oops) work began. more like play school but had to start day in the life of media tart. got quite into it in the end and partnered up with a tv woman who does documentaries. don't know how she is going to work out my day in the life, i certainly can't. will take pics but realised have forgotten adapter and my bluetooth annoyingly doesn't work on laptop, hows that for a media know it all?

Saturday, October 04, 2008


It has been a quiet summer at AI. Fantasy A-List had a succesful run at the Cornerhouse in Manchester and we have been doing alot of development work on new projects. Planning the Dark Forest (a project between us and Mobilefest) due to happen in Sherwood Forest and the Amazon rainforest and continuing work on Them and Us, due to go to a residency at Kingston University in the next couple of months.

Meanwhile me and Matt are working on various individual projects and are setting up a new company Mudlark alongside continuing our work with Active Ingredient. This is with Toby Barnes and Charles Hunter. Looking at ways of commercialising our interactive media projects.

As part of this I am off on a week lab at a very fancy hotel in Skipton, called Crossover Labs. With a load of media types. Will keep a blog while I am there, should be interesting and a bit different from doing our art stuff.