A stylised photograph of a hooded girl using a smartphone

Derby [2061]

Launch Project

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A Story told at locations around the city, found and read on your mobile.

It began as a simple experiment in bending the effect of Foursquare - naming a location to something futuristic, so that when someone 'checked-in' to the present day they'd get a 'Future Echo'. So Derby Train Station became Derby Monorail Station. It was light-touch, but it worked, it was interesting, so we carried on.

50 locations later and we had the skeleton of a story inspired by common tropes in our favourite science fiction. Memory implants, holograms, energy monopolies, technological class divides. We gave the story an overarching narrative of a girl from 2061, who accidentally gets sent back to 2011 and chooses to avoid confrontation and so tells us about the future we’re heading for via social/locative technology.

A short trailer for the Derby 2061 interactive locative storytelling project.

The ‘trailer’ asks of the viewer: “think about the future before it becomes unthinkable” – the project as a whole was intended to spark off the imagination and conversation. Users can comment on locations with questions and ideas within Foursquare, share these strange fictional locations with friends, and discover more as they go about their daily lives.

This discursive narrative bleeds out into the present via tips and comments from the story’s narrator at nearby venues, inviting you to explore this strange new dialogue happening in the city around you. Without being a game instead of a story, you pick up pieces of a the puzzle, of the distributed, ambient story.

The project has been spoken about far and wide, and was featured in Derby QUAD’s Darkness More Than Night season of Noir films, installations and artworks, for which we created a mobile web app to introduce this strange new concept and instruct users how to approach it.

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