Pocket Pictures was a moblogging project run by the International Centre for Digital Content (ICDC).The aim of the project was to engage 8 diverse community groups across Liverpool and encourage participants to celebrate their individuality, identity and culture through enabling them to create a series of pictures taken with a mobile phone and upload them onto a specially designed website. An interface was then designed specifically for exhibition on the Big Screen Liverpool that overlaid the photos as floating, polaroid-shaped thumbnails upon the built-in live camera feed. The database of snaps appeared in a random, updated sequence taking the form of miniature polaroids, bobbing and drifting upon the built-in live camera feed. Pedestrian movement caused the images to swell and expand, so if a person reached out and grabbed a chosen image, after a few seconds it would ‘pop open’ as a larger version for viewing before shrinking back to join its jealous pals.
Mobile Movies, a project from ICDC is a mobile phone film making initiative which has been funded by Mediabox – a £6 million fund for disadvantaged young people aged 13-19 living in England from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). Mediabox awards grants for creative media projects, such as short films, radio programmes, print, games and online projects. he resulting films were uploaded to the Mobile Movies website which the young people designed in collaboration with ICDC. A ‘video carousel’, one of an ongoing number of pilot approaches in this field, was then designed for the Big Screen into which these same films could sit. Using a point-and-select interface similar to the Sony EyeToy, the filmmakers or members of the public could scroll through and select which film would play next in a significant break away from standard screen scheduling.
For some time we have wanted to explore methods that might allow us to deliver audio-only projects at the screen but with some form of simple visual accompaniment. This was realised for Urban Whispers by granting each podcast a floating speech bubble, each of which bobbed about the square overlaid upon a live video feed. As pedestrians bumped into the bubbles they swelled and grew, until sufficient movement – either by accident or deliberate selection – caused the bubble to expand and fill the screen. The audio clip would then play out from the screen speakers but also be animated in the form of an graphic equaliser that took the form of a spatter-like paint effect, growing or shrinking in response to audio level and intonation. Local accents have proven especially popular in grabbing the attention of passers-by, while the enhancement served to add focus to the audio itself.
Red Nose Dribble
Red Nose Day is a UK-wide institution and a key component of the Comic Relief initiative. Everyone is encouraged to cast their inhibitions aside and do something quirky to raise money for deserving causes. Red Nose Dribble was created in partnership with regular collaborators ICDC to enable the public to participate in a multi-site play experience against other cities in the North West and mark the day as being a little different. Created in Flash by Onno Baudouin, it presented an assortment of red noses of different sizes upon the big screen. Members of the public were allowed entry into a fenced area, up to a dozen at a time, and had to work together to use their bodies to push the spheres toward each other. When two noses touched, the pair morphed and increased in size – the goal being to join all of the noses to create one giant snout.
Players of all ages and backgrounds worked together and developed strategic methods as they went along: from positioning less able players in the corners to act as human pinball flickers, to the ‘British Bulldogs’ sweeper approach whereby all the noses were swept to one side and squashed together by a determined rush of force. Advice and instructions were passed verbally between exiting and incoming players, with on-screen text kept to a minimum. A secondary but no less effective source of entertainment was not the screen but the participants themselves. Just as many eyes were fixated squarely upon those taking part, stepping into the plimpsolls of mime artists as they attempted to grapple with invisible objects, instead of watching the screen itself – confirming that the platform is an effective tool in soliciting collective experience rather than solely a means of ambient display.
BBC Festival of Free Thinking
In collaboration with The Institute for the Future, California – a leading global think-tank who peer into the looking glass at technological innovations-to-be, gauging how society will mutate across such diverse fields as business, health and daily life – Research & Design Manager Jason Tester created four series of photo-real artefacts of the near future intended to provoke and prompt further thought.
Using Jason’s designs, embedded within an interface created by our long-standing partners ICDC, questions appeared on screen accompanied by clearly defined zones into which the public were able to step to select and vote from a choice of 4 mystery answers to each question:
How will CCTV change and adapt within our cities? What are the cover stories of a gossip magazine in 2019? Which emerging food products will replace those of today? What advertisements will we be seeing in the future?
A clock counted down as the votes were collected; registered by stepping into a zone of choice and simply waving a hand. At the end of this period, the random option with the most votes appeared on screen; allowing observers a better grasp of what can be a mind-bending leap of faith via the seamless alteration of everyday sights and scenes – from food packaging to magazine covers, advertising posters to public information signs in the public realm.