Whilst my colleagues at Mudlark where launching in Birmingham and discussing Post Digital (see the fantastic write up by David Hayward) I had the pleasure to be invited to Mobile Cell at Citilab in Cornella, a satellite town to Barcelona, where a very interesting media lab has been built in conjunction with Living Labs that houses IT resources, supports innovation, research, enterprises and runs a very exciting high quality conference programme.
The interesting thing about this lab is that it is ensconced in the community, therefore it aims to build innovation from the bottom up, it feels very continental European and I wonder if and when this kind of model will reach the UK.
I was invited to present my work as part of two days of talks and presentations around mobile technology but with a strong focus on gaming. What evolved from the diversity of games developers, researchers and artists that spoke was a very interesting discussion on alternative games development versus the mainstream. A discussion that is ongoing in Mudlark, exploring the potential to make risk taking innovation that are accessible marketable products. How do you create a new vision of this Post Digital world that is ready for market and that people want and need?
The conference was quite “arts” heavy in some respects but from this stand point some interesting discussions arose about responsibility, ethics and issues around data collection, usage and interpretation and also motivation of audiences, players and participators to take part. Two of the talks I found particularly interesting were by Joan Leandre and Patricia Gouveia.
Joan was an early hacker activist (despite saying that hacker has now become assimilated into the mainstream and he is no longer comfortable with it) he developed Velvet Strike which I remember from the early interface between artists, modders and computer games. His work now centres around research and revealing the links between computer games, violence and war and brought up an interesting debate about the opportunities for activism and to respond to the connection between real life war and computer games. Which made me think on some ideas for cross-platform education games based on real world events as a response to the horrifyingly cynical reality war games.
Patricia”s informative discussion of gamers identities enabled this discussion to continue, whilst discussing the motivations for engaging in ARGs and realtime games that go beyond the mainstream game worlds, including the ongoing discussion of gender within game play, which is a particular area of interest to me and exploring how games can be accessible beyond the traditional sector of players.
In a world that is supposedly becoming Post Digital – these discussions wherever they are in the world and amongst different communities of developers, thinkers, activists and players are key to us making sense of our desires to play , socially interact, communicate and share experience and to make robust and informed decisions about how we do this, how we work and shape data, ensuring that integrity is key to our vision of a post digital future.