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Culture Hack Day talks capture open data zeitgeist

As part of this two day event held at Wieden & Kennedy's Spitalfields Offices, on the afternoon of Saturday January 15th a series of lightning talks (approx. 5 mins each) took place exploring the metadata potential of data from the art world. Hosted and chaired by our Metadata Theme Champion, Simon Hopkins, eight speakers presented their thoughts on their individual theme to a packed audience.

 

Tom Uglow, Creative Director, Google and YouTube - 'What if the Web is a Fad?' He argued that in light of apps, proprietary systems, higher reliance on data, issues with net neutrality - internet is doing fine but web is becoming imperilled.

Clare Reddington, Director, iShed and Pervasive Media Studio - 'What if We Forget about Screens and Make Real Things?' A shared case study was NuageVert or 'Green Cloud' created by French art duo HeHe which used laser tracking to project a green shape-changing illumination onto the chimney emissions of the Salmisaari (district of Helsinki) power plant for a week in order to encourage local residents to consume less electricity.

Leila Johnston, author, blogger & comedy writer - 'What if We Have Fun?' reminded everyone that FUN can be found in the most unlikely of places. She compared the playfulness of Mudlark's Chromaroma - their experimental Oyster travel card game that combines their interests in visualisation, storytelling and psychogeography (the impact of location and environment on emotions) WITH 1980's Esso Tiger Tokens - that pioneering masterstoke of loyalty schemes.

Tom Armitage, Creative Technologist, BERG - 'Sod big data and mashups: why not hack on making art?' The general gist here was 'what if you took art from previous generations and remade it using the tools we have at our disposal?’ His cited examples included: Tom Phillips - 20 Sites n Years, noticings, Caleb Larson - A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter.

Tom Dunbar, Producer, Hut V - 'Public Editor No 1: What if the audience had access to metadata embedded in visual media?'  Explored storytelling possibilities of metadata (e.g. actors, characters, speeches, props, action etc.) embedded in media. He cited examples of: 1) Waisda?,(translates to What's that?), the world's first operational video labelling game, launched in May 2009 by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and 2) the BBC's proof-of-concept Mythology Engine.

Matthew Somerville, developer, Theatricalia - 'What if you never needed to miss a show?' Theatricalia is a kind of IMDB for the theatre, providing cast and crew deatails of current and past productions. It launched in October 2009 with the data for all RSC productions since its foundation in 1879 & all Birmingham Repertory Theatre productions up to and including 1971. Users can also contribute their own data about productions, flesh out cast lists etc.

Nick Harkaway, author and blogger for FutureBook - 'What if you need IP?' Explored 3 main themes recorded in more detail on his blog. 1) Privacy and IP might actually be the same - both are fences around set of intangibles / is it tenable to be strongly pro-privacy and strongly anti-IP? 2) Buying is Voting e.g. TWOCing (Taking Without Owner's Consent) an ebook is a vote for the practice of expropriation 3)Code the Change You Want i.e. '..looking to the big picture and seeing what will make the world more awesome, rather than less.'

Chris Thorpe, www.jaggeree.com, ArtFinder - 'What if you could see throught he walls of every museum and something could tell you if you'd like it?' Emphasised importance of user-centric information - some cultural organisations' websites too often preaching to the converted. Cited example of Russell Davis' Situated Audio Platform (SAP) - an audio augmented reality game.

 

Other write-ups of this event are by: Simon Hopkins, Mia Ridge, Chris Unitt, Roo Reynolds, Robot Yell, Dan Williams.

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