Wednesday, 23 March 2011

What does a Storylook like? : part II

A short delay for my follow up about The Story 2011 - I just like to leave you hanging...

To start from the beginning, click here. And if you're a start in the middle kind of person read on, that's cool...but you might be missing something good!
Basically I took part in a one day conference where top speakers presented what they believe makes up a story.

Nick Ryan specialises in sound design and he introduced us to his now successful, audio game "Papa Sangre". I actually wrote a piece about it here, but it was great to hear the thinking behind it in full. Nick explained how by setting the scence & immersing players in a room of complete darkness, the sounds played to them allow them to visualise in their minds their own story. The senses are heightened once you remove sight, and the experience powerfully dramatic .

He also made an interesting point how we, from a very early age, associate different sounds with visuals automatically i.e like being shown in a picture book a cow and being told it makes the sound 'moo'. This in a similar way narrows our imagination of what sound can be, in the same way that adults become stifled by education, and are less imaginative than children. So similar sounds & effects are often used in film for instance as familiarity sets the scene for us.

Next up Lucy Kimbell took us through her personal project where she collected & documented the results of a questionnaire she sent to friends and colleagues, asking "What am I Worth?' It was interesting how obedient people were when asked to fill out a form, answering often personal questions about a person, that you may hesitate to do in person. She then created a complete audit of the results, and created "Lucy's Index" (or LIX), turning her own feelings and actions into measurable factors. The website then portrayed her as a commodity to float on the stock exchange, providing a daily figure based on factors affecting her that day. It was a fascinating approach to data, especially how we are obsessed with updating out status' and moods on social media sites. This project was done before sites like Klout and Datum, but it really does makes you question how much of your 'worth' you want to disclose to the world.

Mary Hamilton completely lightened the tone by shooting foam bullets from her Zombie LARP machine guns. The what? yeah, I wasn't familiar either. LARP stands for Live Action RePlay - a gaming term for, well live gaming. (Which to the average joe is just, playing a game). So everyone gets together, is put in a room with toy guns, fake blood and people dressed as Zombies, and participants kind of make up the game as they go along. Her angle was that the game is like a 'story - machine', and the really interesting bit happens after when everyone "froths", and people recall what has just taken place. Her presentation was put together by these wicked stick men slides:

There are two more speakers to mention, but since one is the great Martin Parr and will probably take up a long post, I think I'll do a part III. Like all good stories, there should be a Beginning, Middle and End. So stay tuned... 

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