Friday, 14 August 2009

SXSW Interactive 09 blog roll

This March I attended SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas for the second year running. I went with a posse of UK Creatives lead by Bristol's Pervasive Media Studio of which I'm a resident. It's great event comprised of tonnes of learning and networking all day and getting rat arsed at the many parties night. We all blogged about the many panels, discussions and events going on there, on a variety of subjects from the weird and wonderful to the prosaic.

Here's the archive of my blog entries from SXSW Interactive 09 subjects including: ARGs, Wisdom of Crowds, Mobile use in the developing world and Sixth Sense Computing - check out the great TED demo video for this with Pattie Maes.

Transmedia Storytelling and Entertainment, USC syllabus and reading list.

A useful resource on Transmedia story telling, which I've discovered via Twitter, is Henry Jenkins at University of South California who's running a course on Transmedia Storytelling and Entertainment . The course explores the phenomenon of franchises and how they work across all media, from both the commercial and narrative structure points of view.

"A transmedia story represents the integration of entertainment experiences across a range of different media platforms. A story like Heroes or Lost might spread from television into comics, the web, computer or alternate reality games, toys and other commodities, and so forth, picking up new consumers as it goes and allowing the most dedicated fans to drill deeper."

So for those of us who can't make it to his classes, Henry Jenkins' website provides details of the whole fifteen week syllabus and extensive reading list.

Henry Jenkins is the Provost's Professor of Communications, Journalism, and Cinematic Art at the University of Southern California. Until recently, he served as the co-founder of the Comparative Media Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. More about Henry Jenkins is available here.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Guide to Transmedia Storytelling

This slideshow is a great guide to Alternate Reality Games and what is some parts is being called Transmedia storytelling.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Havana, aesthetic city of intrigue

I began and ended my two week trip to Cuba in Havana, locally known as Habana ofcourse. I went with one of my oldest friends Becky, we'd be talking about it for years and wanted to go now before Fidel passes away and things start to change. His brother Raul is now in charge and the country still has very little evidence of American influence or consumer culture but no one knows for sure how long it will last. I went with expectations and they were all fulfilled. The mixture of the Caribbean setting with European old world politics is fascinating. The faded glory of a bygone era seen in the immense, delapidated buildings and the 1950s cars exists like a parallel world along side more modern developments in transport and roads. We spent most of our time in Vieja Habana, the old town where the poorest people live along side the tourist attractions of old colonial buildings, the best hotels and restaurants. The people are always very evident as they hang out in the street, talking, playing, sitting on their doorsteps in the shade from the immense heat. And it was very hot, even the Cubans were sweltering, large muscular young men wiped their brows with pristine white hankies and beautiful young women moved slowly through the crumbling back streets carrying bright umbrellas to shelter them from the sun. The shops don't contain much, single chocolate bars are displayed in glass cases like lace might have once been in Edwardian department stores. All Cubans are given rashion cards which enable them to receive free staples from the Government rashion shops. Walking around Havana I was constantly intrigued by the tantalising glimpses into the dark recesses of the crumbling apartment buildings in which people live, not wanting to pry or invade their privacy I had to resist taking as many photos as I wanted although I managed to occaisionally snap a silhouetted figure standing in a court way or sitting in a chair in a basic living room, electric wires hanging over a picture of Jesus. And as we walked we were very often spoken to, mostly by the young men, they weren't exactly hassling us, not in the way you might expect in say Cairo, no these were constant yet gentle attempts to get your attention. "Hello beautiful lady, you are so beautiful, where are you from?" Of course at first I was flattered, as what woman wouldn't want to feel very pleased with herself for making a splash in the streets of Havana? For some reason they kept calling Becky 'Linda' which obviously means something like pretty. Whereas they mostly assumed I was Italian, with which I was rather pleased, they often called out German to Becky, which she was most offended by. One guy even half jokingly called her a German Facist to which she proudly retorted 'I'm English and I'm a socialist!" But of course they were hoping to make a little money from us and I eventually realised, a little disappointed. But I'm maintaining a little fantasy that my sachaying through Havana really did create a stir.
You can see all of my photographs of Havana here.