Guinea-Pig Run

Well it's a lot later than the 'tomorrow' promised on 11 February. Cue Sandy Denny:

Now 7, er, 8th March

Very good 'guinea-pig session' with Rose Osmond-Wallis's 'heritage in practice' and 'crime and protest' students and Steve Poole (all UWE - University of the West of England) on 7 Feb, thank you all for the seriousness with which you investigated the GPS-triggered soundscape and for all your feedback afterwards, which gave much food for thought!

The main points concerned interpretation: how much, if any, background information (about the 1831 Reform Riots) should the app provide, and should this be as text on-screen, or as an audio-introduction?

Given that the original 1831 RIOT! from 2004 was meant to provide an immersive experience of what the riots were like, NOT a historical reenactment, and that its actual main purpose was to trial the in-development mobile technologies by Hewlett-Packard, we, in the 2018 remake, did not want to 'over-e…

Permissive Perambulations

'Continuous iteration' continues:

1831RIOT!Test5 (music) and 1831RIOT!Test5 (general riot noises) were both tested Wed 7 Feb with guinea-pig UWE students studying 'Heritage in Practice' and 'Crime & Protest' (with Rose Osmond-Wallis and Steve Poole in attendance). Thank you to all who came and patiently wandered!

A minimum introduction was given (the download instructions had been sent earlier) and then the students were let loose in Queen Square.

From the observer's (my) POV it was interesting to see how people negotiated a soundscape they could only 'see' with their ears.

For the best part of an hour, no-one ventured onto the grass (this was left to the dogs)

Preferring instead the paths

Latterly, a few did leave the straight and narrow

Tho' Steve had had a prior exposure, so knew to leave the paths (and, in their defence, the grass was a bit muddy in part)

But if left me wondering about 'public permissions': we have strong codes in place …

Turning and turning in the widening gyre...

Finally able to get back to the Riots after aeons spent writing doctoral proposals (digital mobile opera). Watch this space... Then, of course, Christmas, New Year ...

Phill (Phelps) and I met, I think it was early December, to re-jig 1831 RIOT! after we realised (or were forced to realise) it wasn't working in the form we'd built it in. Mainly, as I recall,  a fully chronological experience was just not possible.

We reverted to the following model:

It retains the 'you have to wander around to experience it' mode. The soundfiles are stacked within the zones - in Zone, for example, there are 11 soundfiles stacked one on top of each other. You still get only ONE soundfile when you enter a zone; to hear the next one in the stack you have to leave the zone, then return.

Obviously, you can wander at will: you can hear the top soundfile for zones 1, 2 & 3, then return to 1 and so on ad infinitum. We wanted to allow participants agency, as if you really are a time-travell…

In Search of Auditory Prey

Finally can get back to the coalface ...

W(here)W(as)I? Last thing that happened was that Steve (Poole) and I tested the latest iteration of 1831 RIOT! on, er, Tues 17 Oct. Seeing 1831Test4 thru' someone else's ears was an eyeopener: damn punters NEVER do what you expect them to! Which is why when you make something like this, the mantra runs: CONSTANT ITERATION! Make, test, remake, test on someone(s) else!

What we established: chronological doesn't work. Il ne marche pas! Es geht nicht! それは動作しません!

Determining 'Day1' then 'Day2' (on entry your phone dictates which day it is for you) doesn't work. If such a model ueberhaupt adopted, then it should be '1st visit - play these files; 2nd visit (on another day) play the other files)'there is no satisfactory solution to the 'chronological' vs 'locational' dilemma. As we are using located media, it, of course, makes sense to physically locate as many of the soundfiles as possible ie if M…

Why Remake 1831 RIOT!

Exposed my baby to Steve Poole yesterday
The baby's nappy needs changing (sorry to put that mental picture in your head!)

Perhaps a good way to gestalten (structure) a GPS-triggered audio-experience is to FIRST observe how someone completely unused to such experiences negotiates the space and see what they do, then structure the experience accordingly (I don't mean SP, I mean some of his comments - of which more later - led me to this train of thought, thanks, Steve!)

But, I recall that HP (Hewlett Packard) monitored people's behaviour in the original and we, The People,  exhibited varied behaviours (as you would expect). Some stuck to obvious linear features (the paths in QS, for example), some spiralled in to the statue at the centre, some quartered the ground methodically, some wandered at random. What do you do, TELL people how to negotiate the experience? But that negates what for me, and SATSYMPH, everything that these soundscapes are about, and what attracted us to t…

It's 1831 and there's a riot going on...

Here we go, here we go ...

After a break for some sun and to recharge the creative batteries ...

...  I destruction-tested Iteration 5 of the all new singing dancing 1831 RIOT! Perfetto (whoops, wrong language)!

ENTER THE TIME PORTAL, get 'Fry's Letter' (serves as authentic introduction and scene-setting)HEAR 'Balladeer': tone-setting in the form of a sung ballad about the riots29th or 30th October 1831? Your phone decides for you which day of the (just over) 2 day riots you are enteringWALK CLOCKWISE into the 'morning' soundfiles of that day. STOP & LISTEN.PERIOD MUSIC indicates 'end of this particular soundfile' - MOVE ON into:RIOT ACT: this rectangular soundpool plays ONLY the 'Riot Act' every time you enter it. It's laid out along a natural break: one of the diagonal footways thru' the square. MOVE ON into...'afternoon': plays soundfiles from the afternoon of whichever day you're in. MOVE BACK into...'Riot Act&…

Paddling Like Hell Underneath

Further thought resulted in .... (I think it was Einstein who said that...). The 3rd iteration of the remade 1831 RIOT! is as above. Your phone decides which day of the riots it is going to be: Day1 or Day2. On each of these 2 days the above zones are stacked with playlists of the soundfiles for those time-periods (keeping, of course, to the authentic chronology as far as possible). 'SOUNDFILES' are NOT 'about' what happened - they are authentic (as possible) re-enactments of what actually happened, scripted by Liz Crow & Ralph Hoyte and recorded in a soundstudio by professional actors (think 'GPS-triggered audioplay for the smartphone which you can only hear where the actual historic events took place').


You enter QS (Queen Square) thru' the time 'portal'. Entering this zone triggers 'FryLetter' - a letter Joseph Fry (yes, of chocolate and cocoa fame) wrote on the riots in 1831. You then step into 'Balladeer', …