Andy Broomfield’s photos of Drift

I love finding other people’s photos of my projects, because I only ever see the action from a limited viewpoint (on this occasion I hardly saw any of it at all!).

Really nice then to see Andy Broomfield‘s spottings of interactions happening between Drifters, players and bystanders at the Sandpit last weekend.


(Click through and zoom in to the largest size for best location-and-spectacle results!)



Documentation of Drift at Holland Park

We spent yesterday afternoon moving around Holland Park in a Leisurely manner. Well, I didn’t, I was busy telling people about odd characters and how to attach vibrating sashes to their arms, but these guys did:

Drift at Holland Park

Drift at Holland Park

Thanks to everyone who took part in the playtesting and to Ant, Lucy and Emily for being the Drifters. Thanks too for all the great feedback – lots of very useful comments and I particularly liked that one person said that Drift had prompted him to explore unfamiliar parts of the park.

My photos are in this Flickr set:

Unfortunately I don’t really have any record of the interactions between players and Drifters, so if anyone has photos of any of those I’d be really grateful if you could email them to me or share a link or something…

Since the Sandpit was themed around movement and spectacle, I’ve also run the data collected during the game through Howard Rickett’s code (from the Ikon Postmarks group) to get a visualisation of how it took shape over time. The resolution isn’t great by the time it’s been through screen capture and Movie Maker, but it gives a sense of the drift unfolded…

Drift at the Holland Park Sandpit

Holland Park

Holland Park by HerryLawford on Flickr

There are unusual characters drifting around Holland Park. A person of your skills will have no trouble identifying the three in question.

A person of your skills who is also wearing a sash will be able to feel the messages one of the drifters is broadcasting…

bzzzzz, bzzzzzz, bzzzzz, bzzzzz, bzzzzzz ~ I’m in the open

bzzz, bzzz ~ I’ve sought somewhere more sheltered

bzzzzz, bzzzzzz, bzzzzz ~ I’m somewhere in between

Observe the drifters as they move and try and deduce which one is broadcasting about the space they are in. Don’t hang around too long though, because the one broadcasting will change!

These three are all about the drift. They will be watching for the sash-wearers who can hear them – they have something for you – but if you move too fast they will scatter. Likewise, if too many sashes close in on them at once they will make their escape.

Move slowly and smoothly; approach the drifter you think is broadcasting and gracefully offer them a gift. If they approve, and are the broadcaster, they may offer you something in return.

If they disapprove of your non-driftyness, or you have guessed incorrectly, you will not receive anything back.

You have two chances. Good looking and good luck.

This Sunday we’ll be playing Drift in Holland Park as part of the Hide&Seek Sandpit event being run for the InTRANSIT Festival of Arts

The event is free and takes place between 2 and 5:30pm. Come and join us on the Orangery Lawn (near the café) for an afternoon of fun linked to the theme of movement and spectacle: “processions down pathways, walking tours, memories, hiding, scurrying, running, pondering and much more.”

There’s more information on the Hide&Seek website and there’s also a Facebook event doodad.

Weatherproofing homebrew GPS kit (part 2)

Holland Park Umbrella

By taping it to the underside of an umbrella. On a gloriously sunny afternoon.

This afternoon I spent an hour wandering around the picnic-ers and sunbathers in Holland Park whilst carrying an umbrella.

During that time one child exclaimed loud enough and close enough for me to engage him in conversation (and an explanation); one woman gave me a look and a smile; and two men who had just thrown a stone at a pigeon told me it wasn’t raining. The latter also got an explanation.

On this occasion, the explanation has something to do with this.

Holland Park umbrella

Blast from the past: Emergent Game at H&S 2009

Whilst looking for something else I stumbled upon a video made by a player at the Hide&Seek Weekender in 2009.

Brilliant! The first section is a player’s-eye-view of Emergent Game – the game I ran at the event!

It’s not all fun and games though. At one point this poor young man got trapped down a mine shaft and Jeff had to fetch help…

Re-enacting a scene from Hollywood as one of the Emergent Game missions

Re-enacting a scene from Hollywood as one of the Emergent Game missions

The Bloop galleries

I’ve been compiling photos other people have taken of The Bloop game and sonar goggle experiments I did at the Hide&Seek Weekender into some Flickr galleries.

The Bloop at the Weekender #1
The Bloop at the Weekender #2
Sonar Goggle Experiments at the Weekender

It’s always good to see your events from the perspective of others and there are some really nice shots in there. Here are a selection of my favourites – click on them to go through to the source on Flickr.

Whales Ahoy!

The Bloop

Wining Whale

Hide and Seek

Find Each Other

Thanks again to everyone who took part – either as player or audience.

Two days of sonar goggles at the National Theatre

Last weekend I ran 2 games of The Bloop as part of Hide&Seek’s 2.5 day celebration of all that is playful.

Following oblique coverage in the Guardian and footage of the playtest at Warwick Arts Centre, demand for places far outnumbered the availability, even though I was asked to squeeze another 8 players in.

To be honest I don’t remember a whole lot from the games themselves: the sun shone; a tale was spun; krill jumped as far as they could and the whales swam. There were smiles; there was laughter; there were gasps; there were winces. Loads of people came up to me afterwards to tell me how much fun they had had!

Here are a few snapshots:

A krill pounces.

A krill pounces.

A whale heads from the feeding grounds towards the sound of Serge Gainsbourg.

A whale heads from the feeding grounds towards the sound of Serge Gainsbourg.

A whale makes a bid for freedom.

A whale makes a bid for freedom.

A big thanks to my 3 assistants for fetching barnacles and catching whales for the duration. The rest of my photos can be found on Flickr.

Since so many people missed out on whaling on the Saturday, I took 3 pairs of sonar goggles with me when I returned for the Sunday games. In the hour or two of gaps I had between whispering ‘patatas’, looking for invisible golf holes and trying to find my queen, I invited people to come and try them out.

This quickly turned into trying to find new ways of playing with them. This is what I like about the Weekender: there’s a really nice balance of people who want to figure out new ways of playing; people who will try out those new things, people who will ask “hey, what are you guys doing, can I join in?” and people who will interact from the sidelines in a good humoured manner. Hat tip to Giacomo for his catalytic skills and enthusiasm.

Shireen models the sonar goggles

Shireen models the sonar goggles

Dont mind us, were just trying something out...

Don't mind us, we're just trying something out...

The first experiment that evolved was to release two be-goggled people into vaguely the same space and see if they could find eachother:

The answer appeared to be, “er, not really”.

We soon gained some more interested people, so we then used all three pairs of goggles and had enough extras to act as chaperones for the next experiment. A race across the room to the cordon in front of the doors:

Fun and interesting on a range of different levels and in a variety of different directions!

The rope area became involved in a live link-up game in Delhi so we adjusted our course and the next video is a snippet of trying to navigate about three quarters of the way around the Olivier Foyer:

So much to like! Thanks to everyone who contributed.

Stand by for more sonar goggliness as we build on these experiments to develop a full-blown game…

Bloop playtesting this Saturday

On Saturday the 10th of July I’ll be running The Bloop as part of the Hide&Seek Weekender at the National Theatre in London.

Trying out the sonar goggles

Trying out the sonar goggles

Following on from the recent playtest at Warwick Arts Centre and feedback from the players, I’ll be making some changes to the rules and I want to test these out before unleashing the new iteration on the Weekender crowd.

If you’d like to get a sneak preview of the new game and also a chance to try out the sonar goggles I’ve been making, come along to the mac at 4pm on Saturday for a playtest.

You’ll be able to find me in the Terrace Gallery with a host of games people at the bargmeet, once that’s finished we’ll head outside into Cannon Hill Park for an hour or so to try out some Bloop variations.

Krill hunt sonar-navigating whales from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

All are welcome, although don’t expect a full run of the game – this’ll be more about little experiments and tweaking variables. The video above gives you a good idea of what sort of thing to expect though.

It’d be really useful if you could let me know if you’re intending to come along – that way I can bring along an appropriate amount of kit.

See you there! Terrace Gallery (by the stairs) 4pm, moving out into the park until about 5pm. We’ll be the ones with the whales on our heads.

Playtesting The Bloop at Warwick Arts Centre

Warwick Arts Centre: where we discover krill have surprisingly long reaches...

Warwick Arts Centre: where we discover krill have surprisingly long reaches...

Following on from the initial lab and adventures with electronics, it was time to test evolved game The Bloop with some players and see how it was shaping up as a fun thing to play and entertaining spectacle to watch.

I think we did alright!

2 krill tag a whale after getting it on a classical pincer movement

2 krill tag a whale after getting it on a classical pincer movement

Krill await a whale about to leave the exclusion zone around the breeding waters

Krill await a whale about to leave the exclusion zone around the breeding waters

I had several people approach me as I was preparing for the game saying how much they were looking forward to playing it. When asked why, the answers usually related to the ridiculousness of it and how much fun it looked. Considering the game hadn’t been played anywhere yet I consider this pretty good going!

Bloop headwear: perhaps a contributing factor to perceived levels of ridiculousness... (photo courtesy of Marie Foulston)

Bloop headwear: perhaps a contributing factor to perceived levels of ridiculousness... (photo courtesy of Marie Foulston)

There were a few issues with a wave of exhausted batteries for the music, but other than that the tech worked well, with only one on-and-off-again required for the sonar goggles. We’re oh so nearly there with the game design but all the major ingredients are in place and what remains are tweakings rather than re-thinks. A big thanks to everyone for their feedback and also to Hide&Seek and Fierce for hosting.

I didn’t get much of a chance to stand back and observe, but I shall leave you with a few short videos to whet your appetite for further iterations of the game. I’m talking all over the second one I’m afraid, because two security guards came up and asked me what was going on and then were curious to find out more. Job done!

Lone whale hunts feeding grounds from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

Krill hunt sonar-navigating whales from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

If anyone’s got any photos or video from the game that they’d like to share, I’d be very grateful. Give me a nudge with a link in the comments or send me a message.

The Bloop at Warwick Arts Centre

This Saturday evening I will be running the first plays of my new pervasive game The Bloop at Warwick Arts Centre.

The event is the Hide&Seek Sandpit, run in association with LIFT, London International Festival of Theatre, as part of Fierce’s Interrobang programme.

In practical terms, what this means is that you can come to Warwick Arts Centre (at the University Of Warwick in, er, Coventry) for 6pm and take part in a whole host of games and playful things, for free!

Sonar goggles

Sonar goggles

The Bloop (set in the deep ocean off the coast of Chile) will be the first public outing of the sonar goggles I have been developing. If you are playing as a whale, you will be using these goggles to navigate the playing space by sound rather than by sight.

There will also be colourful ribbons, inflatable whales and bothersome krill.

Hope you can come and join us for an evening of fun and challenge!

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