REACT Sandbox Preview : "Heritage"

On Friday Andy and Charlotte were 2 of the lucky 200 that had tickets to the preview of the six REACT (Research Enterprise Art Creative Technology) Heritage Sandbox projects. The Heritage Sandbox was the first of six themed collaborations which brings together academic and creative technology partners to explore and collaborate on innovative experiences.

Claire Reddington, Director of iShed introduced the Sandbox and paid credit to the REACT team in delivering the first round of successful projects. John Dovey Lecturer, Channel 4 Producer and recognised voice on the Digital Arts reminded us that to there is no failure and true creatives will juggle ' a mixed slate of ...hunches, gambles & risk'. That the sandbox projects are a 'beginning of a story not an end' bringing together creative partners and academics in sustainable partnerships that re-educate the traditional outlooks of each's retrospective establishments. But probably my favorite reminder he gave us was that 'in a digital world... our audiences are not in the theatre but out there on the pavements of the world'.

To find out more about the six projects, you can watch the mini films on the REACT website but our highlights were...

Andy Collyer talking with the designer of the project Memory of Theatre

Project: Memory of Theatre

Location delivered content system; using WifiSlam the memory of Theatre lets you wander the Old Vic whilst listening to audio memories that are 'pinned' to areas in the theatre. Range concept's are familiar from RFID projects we've worked  with, but wifslam was all new to us! It seemed this project had overcome the most technology issues, and in our opinion stood out as the most innovative system (ahem, nod to Charles Leadbettter).
Read more..

Two antiques wooden boxes and a map

Project: Ghosts in the Garden

For Charlotte the gem of this project were the mystery magic boxes! The collaborative team hit the nail on the head when they took the decision to hide the technology (in this case an Android phone running an app with a speaker). Instead visitors to Bristol's pleasure gardens were handed a magical talking device and a map. Following the map, the magical talking box shared secrets and wisdom of what 'had been' in the pleasure gardens.  With no screens to tap & tilt, visitors to the garden were not distracted, and enjoyed the gardens using their eyes and ears. Read more ..

an array of screen and touch screen devices

 Project: Arnos Vale Cemetery

This project stood out for several reasons. It was the project which set out to test visitors feelings to death, grief and remembrance. The project looked at digitising epitaphs, projection and impromptu wandering acts. The delivery team spent time talking and probing the different responses, in order to help them plan future events and shape a sustainable cemetery.

(This Dr Who like prop captures a handwritten epitaph into a digital image which can then be projected onto a walls, trees and gravestones). Read more ...

Another array of screens and touch devices

Project: The Ivory Bangle Lady

How do you help people connect with an excavated skeleton (who happens to have been buried with an ivory bangle) ? Well in return for the visitors reading and acquiring information you add flesh to the bones in the form of an actor and a film clip which appears as the human remains may once have been. Imagemakers came up with the idea that by tweeting the answers to the questions, visitors to the museum were rewarded with projected films that appeared as you walked the trial. Sadly we didn't grab any photos of their project - but you can read and see more here .

Charlotte Quickenden outside the Watershed sign

So that's a whizz though the some of the projects. What came through from all the projects was collaboration and the pooling of ideas made each project richer and stretched the possibilities. To conclude with a nod to Charles Leadbetter there is no creativity without community. So ask yourself what community should you be a part of?

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