This is a guest blog by social artist Dan Thompson. It first appeared on the a-n blogs page here — If the last few years have taught us anything, it should be that democracy is more complicated than asking people a binary question. That creates instability, uncertainty, and a dangerous space where bad ideas rise to the top. We need every citizen to understand issues, interrogate policy, question authority, and find local solutions to global problems. This week, I spent a couple of days working with Ludic Rooms, to look at how their Open Citizens projects start to find ways to create such an enabled, empowered and emboldened citizenship.. The Coventry-based studio are now working on their second Open Citizens project, and it’s important to understand that this is less a distinct project, more a methodology which underpins a series of projects. Open Citizens encourages people to start to understand problems at a local level, to try and test ideas that use technology to fix them, and through that process understand more about how citizenship might look in the near future. Ludic Rooms are particularly interested in the idea that we live in a postdigital world; that is, where there was once a clear line (maybe…) between the ‘digital’ and the ‘real’ world, that divide no longer exists. So their projects combine cardboard and computing. The current Open Citizens project was commissioned by the team behind Coventry’s bid for UK City of Culture. It is funded by a range of local commercial bid partners as well as Arts Council England. It looks at Coventry’s city centre. The area is...
Ludic Rooms has an opportunity for a bright, motivated, self-starter to work with us on a major interactive art project taking place across Coventry from June to October 2017. Ludic Rooms is a postdigital organisation that creates art and technology projects that engage with people and take place in the real world. The details of this project are currently under wraps, but all you need to know at the moment is that it’s guaranteed to receive major press and media attention and lots of online traffic once it goes live. The internship involves supporting the design and build of a public exhibition in Coventry in June, as well as documentation, marketing and logistics tasks towards the final event which takes place 9-15 October. We would be looking for approximately 100 hours of your time, but there’s the potential to get more involved if that suits you. We would pay you at £10/hr. We’re looking for someone with good design sense, communication skills and lots of energy, experience of participatory arts or media is a bonus. If you think this is you, send a one page CV and covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 May 2017 explaining why you’re interested in this opportunity, plus any relevant links to previous...
We love our studio here at the Canal Warehouse but for the last year we’ve had a rather stinky problem. Calling an 18thC warehouse our home certainly has its benefits but around a year ago we discovered that one of our lovely exposed 200 year old brick walls had a problem. A leak…from the canal…into the studio. This has meant heaps of damp, mould and general mankiness. It has taken months of wrangling to get the problem seen to but finally some rather major renovations are taking place. We’ve had to condense everything in our unit into a fraction of its usual space – no workbench or build area for around two months while the building work goes ahead. As part of the process, however, we are expanding! We’ll be consuming another unit on the end of the building, which we’ll be turning into a print studio and additional area for workshops. This also means we’ll get more floor and wall space, running water (from a tap rather than through the wall hopefully) and another window! Aaaah, precious daylight. When we come out of the other side we’ll be working from nearly 1200 sq ft of space. We’ll be sure to update with the ‘after’ pics when it is all...
There’s lots going on in LR towers (and beyond) over the coming few weeks: At the end of March, Dom is travelling to Aarhus in Denmark to present and lead a workshop at CounterPlay, a huge gathering focussed on Playful Cities / Playful Citizens. Dom will be talking about LR’s work including Open Citizens and playtesting a brand new deck of ideation cards that we have developed for a huge soon to be announced project later this year. We also have another performance of Virago with Sonia Sabri Co at the Arena Theatre Wolverhampton. Last show ahead of the tour starting this Autumn. Tickets and details here. Anne and Dom will be travelling to Serbia for our fifth time at the Resonate Festival. Looking forward to catching up with lots of friends at this amazing...
After a week of late nights and early mornings in the space, our new touring show ‘Virago’, a collaboration with Sonia Sabri Co, opened at mac on Saturday. This has been a complex creative journey, with a host of technical dilemmas and challenges. We are, however delighted with the final piece. You can get another chance to see the show at the Wolverhampton Arena on March 29th. Tickets and info here About the show: Virago is a new dance-digital solo production from Sonia Sabri, Artistic Director of SSCo, collaborating with Ludic Rooms. Virago is vibrant, compelling, brave and dynamic, exploring the light vs dark and the real vs fairytale versions of female existence. The work looks at female body image and in particular women’s complex relationship with their own bodies, teasing the audience with perceptions and misconceptions of the female and gender. Sonia’s unique ‘Urban Kathak’ language combines on stage with motion triggered digital art, alongside a sound-score combining spoken word and music, with rich and diverse influences: a cacophony of voices from Europe, the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, representing and speaking to women worldwide, but appealing all of our humanity, regardless of gender and culture. The digital aspect is cutting edge and experimental, using image manipulation in a sensory dialogue with the live body. Nerdy tech notes: Virago features a setup of 17 custom built illuminated rocks that interact with the performer, in total made up of 352 dynamically controlled Neopixel RGB LEDs and controlled via a mesh network of 6 Arduinos. The show is run from a custom interface, built in Processing by the wonderful Dan Hett....
The Kitchen Circus brings circus performances, songs and digital arts onto the streets, to explore ideas about identity, hospitality and how we live now.
The 2015 performances in Hengrove explored the notion of ‘home’ and included a circus performance on the green, a trail of illuminated objects and musical performances at local landmarks, including on a boat.
The Kitchen Circus was commissioned for Bristol’s Circus City festival and produced by KWMC and Cirque Bijou.
The Forgotten Toys Compendium (2015)
Commissioned by Bristol Green Capital 2015 as part of their Neighbourhood Arts Programme, inviting people to see “junk” in a fresh way by tapping into the shared experiences of play across different generations and cultures. It creates new invitations, pretexts, tools and spaces for social interaction, by starting with the very personal & then connecting up with neighbours and neighbourhoods. The project will work with lead local residents on a journey of social archaeology to rediscover and repurpose the playable gems hidden among the dusty piles of forgotten “junk” lurking in people’s attics, garages and sheds, shining a light on the latent social and cultural potential of these objects through the lens of collaborative play. These playable artefacts- from rusty bike wheels & old sledges to bent hoola-hoops, dusty console controllers and forgotten Furbies will be reborn through story-telling and active play.
A sparkle itching to show (2015)
A performative projection-mapped visual poem made with young women outside mainstream education, produced with the incredible support of poet/MC Samira Arhin Acquaah and dance artist Dave McKenna of Being Frank Physical Theatre. Commissioned by the Core at Corby Cube as part of their Priority Project, supported by Mighty Creatives. Presented for the first time at the Core’s ‘Youth Arts Slam’, July 3rd 2015.
Wear Your Wheels (2015)
Wear Your Wheels is a fun and creative challenge for individuals and teams, families, co-workers, friends and communities. Work together to craft a wearable cardboard creation. Create something in the style of your favourite wheeled-wonder or dream up your own novel contraption.
A time-trial race like no other, competitors will don their CardCar creations and run a fixed course. This is not an engineering competition, you carry the vehicle, rather than the other way around. Feel free to add wheels – a CardCar would probably look odd without them – but they don’t need to function. Your CardCar cannot touch the ground at any point along the race.
CardCars will score points for design, speed and capacity; the more passengers that race inside your creation, the bigger you score!
Prizes will be awarded in each of these categories as well as an overall winner to be crowned Coventry CardCar Champion of 2015.
A lunchtime play session, commissioned by Watershed for the ‘Making Cities Playable Conference’ in 2014.
Our brief: make something “big, outside, with chalk”.
How can a simple piece of chalk unleash the possibility and freedom of play? We challenged conference-goers to create and partake in their own little ‘dusty acts of defiance’. A collaborative commission with the simply wonderful Splash & Ripple.
Ludi Lunt (2014)
We are preparing for a very 21st Century event to be held at the Lunt Roman Fort in Coventry, aimed at helping to breathe new life into the historic Fort – and applications are now open for people to get involved in a unique weekend of creativity, invention and fun.
Ludi Lunt (roughly translated from Latin: ‘public games at the Lunt’) takes place over the weekend of Sat 6th and Sun 7thSeptember, and is a hackathon-style event. Our aim with the event is to bring together creative people from around the UK to devise ways to improve the visitor experience, reveal more of the site’s fascinating past and breathe new life into this cultural gem, helping to re-establish the Lunt as a major Roman visitor attraction.
Ludi Lunt is being organised by staff from the Lunt and its management team, who are working with a diverse group of local historians and hackathon experts to put this very special event together. We are now looking to recruit people with a range of skills to take part in the event, including historians, artists, hackers, gamers, coders, writers, performers, designers, social media whizzes, educational professionals and craftspeople – as well as anyone who feels that they have ideas to contribute to a weekend of innovation and creativity.
In return for your efforts, you will have the unique opportunity to spend a weekend with other creative people at this amazing location, including camping, eating and working in the grounds of the Lunt. There will also be prizes for the best ideas generated over the course of the weekend, as well as the opportunity to be involved in the implementation of selected projects.
There is no charge for you to be involved in the Ludi Lunt hackathon, and applications are open now.
Shark In The Puddle (2014)
Connected Communities (2014)
” How might your daily commute differ if you travelled as slowly as possible? What might you see, touch or smell if you missed your turn and had to go a different way? Disobey a sign, give streets new and better names. Look for the bigger pattern in the city, notice the smaller details as you do. “
As part of the AHRC Connected Communities Conference, we devised a series of technology augmented walking workshops exploring new methodologies for documenting, provoking and sharing local knowledge. Using psychogeographical provocations and ‘stop and stare’ techniques, we used GPS to get us lost.
Workshops participants were able to play with consumer handheld devices as well as prototype, customised and hacked hardware to record the information that surrounds everyday journeys. Following the walking workshops, we worked together to investigate novel forms of data recording, analysis and visualisation.