Latitude is a satirical and experimental road trip film about two geeks who go on a treasure hunt to find the world’s ultimate technology, which they believe is hidden in a game called geocaching. The two characters are based on two very well known technology companies (Apple and Microsoft) and their story is meant to stand in as a metaphor for the development of our so called democratic and self prophesying digital technology culture. It hopefully takes a critical look at the theme of narcissism as well as exploring our deluded narratives of technological and personal progress and the crisis of empathy prevalent in much of today’s digital culture.
The film was made as a teaching project aimed at creating a low budget, and critical, feature length film with undergraduate media production students. The script, funding and production was all conjured up over 4 months with a minuscule budget. It was produced across the England, Wales and USA with a very small production team just to see if we could do it.
Well, here are the results and we hope that you enjoy.
In contemporary liberal democracies there is a polarisation between ideals of transparency – borne out in open government legislation, freedom of information, and confessionary culture – and what we might call a secret sphere, an institutionalised commitment to covert security operations that exist beyond the public view.
In the wake of the Snowden revelations about the surveillance capabilities of intelligence agencies around the globe, an interdisciplinary symposium at King’s College London** in 2015 gathered experts to discuss the place and implications of secrecy for contemporary cultural politics. Speakers addressed what was politically, ethically, socially and ontologically at stake in cultures of secrecy at the individual, national and international level.
Recordings from the event have been hidden across some of the darkest corners of the world wide web and will be revealed through a series of leaks and revelations.
#secrecymachine was a project of slow secretion, devised by Pete Woodbridge and Clare Birchall, to reveal the event’s secrets beyond the academy. It started on the 8th October 2015. Participants were exposed to a number of secret emails, each revealing codes and details for accessing content from the event.
All of the talks are now available and open to the public here http://immersivestorylab.com/secret/
Please share this secret with anyone you trust …
**’The Politics and Practices of Secrecy’ was a symposium organised by Clare Birchall & Matt Potolsky and funded by the Institute of North American Studies, King’s College London.
I’ve recently been working on the development of a BA (Hons) Degree in Digital Media at Coventry School of Art and Design. It’s a brand new degree exploring media design, storytelling, digital arts and digital culture.
Students will be working on convergent media projects in content production, moving-image, storytelling, speculative design and a number of related areas across the digital arts. Designed for learners who want to be hybrid-media artists, creative professionals and entrepreneurs in the increasing pervasive digital realm.
First year modules will explore digital culture, convergent multimedia production, digital publishing, storytelling and creative technology. The year will culminate in an intensive ‘creative hack lab’ project where students put their problem solving, innovation and design skills to the test with a live brief.
The second year will explore the creative and critical side of the digital arts, along with modules in digital advertising, transmedia storytelling and opportunities to undertake professional experience. There will also be options to develop skills in other areas of media production, including photography, experimental media and short film as well as opportunities to undertake visits with international partner organisations.
The final year will focus on critical digital research methods, exploring how to use creative technologies for research and the creation of new forms of knowledge, products and artistic expression. Students will then use their skills to develop a final research project, aimed at creating cutting-edge experiences and speculative possibilities for the future.
The degree is underpinned by an interdisciplinary approach to the design and analysis of digital culture and media, drawing on a range of methodologies from the digital and media arts, sciences, business and creative computing subject areas. It will be addressing the implications, challenges and possibilities of living in a world of disruptive innovation, peer 2 peer collaboration, connected devices, augmentation, pervasive storytelling, automation, big data and the internet of things and exploring this through projects that challenge and critique it.
Students will be involved in live projects, real industry and cultural briefs and working simulations that are informed by problem-based, activity-led and challenge-based learning methodologies. This will be supported by technology-enhanced learning approaches in a department that is internationally recognised for its innovative approach to learning design.
To find out more about the digital media research work in the Department of Media please visit the Centre for Disruptive Media website.
Culture Machine Live is a podcast series dedicated to discussions of culture and theory.
and many more
Editors: Janneke Adema, Clare Birchall, Gary Hall and Pete Woodbridge.
Following on from our Open Class in Creative Activism, we’ve decided to think about how we can use some of the working practices we developed to explore other areas on our curriculum.
So this October we are launching the ‘Cine Collective‘- which is an Open Undergraduate Class exploring and experimenting with Digital Cinematography.
Over the course of 10 weeks we will be looking at a variety of approaches to studying, practicing and interrogating cinematography. Alongside this, the participants on the course will work on a series of cinematic responses to weekly creative briefs- that will contribute to form a showreel of work by the end of the class. Students are asked to openly post their response to each task to our community.
It’s an exciting time for ‘Open Teaching’ in Film, with a number of organisations and universities opening up their doors and helping to change the way that education is structured in the 21st Century. Surely it won’t be long until there is a very real prospect of undertaking a truly ‘distributed’ degree- choosing the best and most appropriate courses from around the world, to create some kind of educational playlist. There’s a lot of potential here for something truly digital, and radical, to emerge. It’s really exciting to see projects such as the Peer 2 Peer University, Coursera, OERU and Mozilla’s Open Badges gaining momentum in this area- each taking a different approach and model to rethinking education.
In the meantime here are a few other open classes that you might want to explore next academic year….
“Open Source Culture” taught by Mark Tribe (@marktribe on Twitter) Brown University
“Digital Storytelling -DS106” taught by Alan Levine et al (@cogdog on Twitter) University of Mary Washington
“Guerilla Film Marketing” taught by Randy Finch (@randyfinch on Twitter) Florida State Uni
“Building StoryWorlds: the art, craft and biz of storytelling in 21c” taught by Lance Weiler (@lanceweiler on Twitter) Columbia University
“Digital Media and Participatory Culture” taught by Melanie E.S. Kohnen, Ph.D (@_mesk on Twitter) Georgia Tech
“The Language of Hollywood: Storytelling, Sound and Color” taught by Scott Higgins at Wesleyan University
“The Camera Never Lies ” taught by Emmett Sullivan at Royal Holloway, London University
(List originally published by Sheri Candler on The Film Collaborative)
Living Books About Life is a series of curated, open access books about life — with life understood both philosophically and biologically — which provide a bridge between the humanities and the sciences. Produced by a globally-distributed network of writers and editors, the books in the series repackage existing open access science research by clustering it around selected topics whose unifying theme is life such as air, agriculture, bioethics, cosmetic surgery, electronic waste, energy, neurology and pharmacology.
By creating twenty one ‘living books about life’ in just seven months, the series represents an exciting new model for publishing, in a sustainable, low-cost manner, many more such books in the future. These books can be freely shared with other academic and non-academic institutions and individuals. Taken together, they constitute an engaging interdisciplinary resource for researching and teaching relevant science issues across the humanities, a resource that is capable of enhancing the intellectual and pedagogic experience of working with open access materials.
All the books in the series are themselves ‘living’, in the sense that they are open to ongoing collaborative processes of writing, editing, updating, remixing and commenting by readers. As well as repackaging open access science research — along with interactive maps, visualisations, podcasts and audio-visual material — into a series of books, Living Books About Life is thus engaged in rethinking ‘the book’ itself as a living, collaborative endeavour in the age of open science, open education, open data and e-book readers such as Kindle and the iPad. The book that I worked on, along with Janneke Adema, explored the way that concepts and ideas around the theme of Symbiosis can be applied to a number of areas within the (digital/networked) humanities.
Living Books About Life is a collaboration between Open Humanities Press and three academic institutions: Coventry University, Goldsmiths, University of London, and the University of Kent. Funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), and published by Open Humanities Press (OHP) (http://openhumanitiespress.org). The Editors of the series are Clare Birchall (University of Kent), Gary Hall (Coventry University), Joanna Zylinska (Goldsmiths, University of London). Other members of the project team include Sigi Jőttkandt (Open Humanities Press), David Ottina (Open Humanities Press) and myself (Coventry University).
In January 2012 we launched our Free and Open Undergraduate class exploring Creative Activism– opening up the class, as much as we can, so others can participate, join the discussions and follow our lectures and podcasts.
The class explores the potentials of creative media activism through encouraging the creation of ‘live’ creative interventions and participation in cultural, political and social debates.
Looking at how media activists and campaigners have used their media knowledge, creativity and community building skills to ask difficult questions, provoke debate and raise awareness of important issues and problems in their local, national and international communities.
The class is supported by a range of collaborators and guest speakers who are changing the world. So far our participants include:
and many more.
If you’d like to get involved, or just stay up to date with the work of this class, please contact me via twitter/facebook. You can also download the Creative Activism Podcasts in iTunes U – all are free to share, rip and remix
Filmed as part of the Migration Aware project I have been working on in the City of Ibadan in Nigeria, Africa. More to follow soon.
Was checking out the camp and taking some shots yesterday outside St Pauls Cathedral and was fortunate enough to catch this inspiring speech by retired labour politician Tony Benn at #OccupyLSX during my break.
Rushed an edit together last night, let me know your thoughts, i didnt have a tripod so its a bit shaky. Song is called Mercury Fingerprint by Dan Skinner (from Audio Networks)
This was featured on Adbusters TV
Over the past few months I have been working with Jonathan Worth and the Photography Team at Coventry University to develop an iPhone App for a free and open undergraduate course called ‘Picturing the Body’.
The ‘trendsetting’ app has been mentioned by the British Journal of Photography, PDN Pulse, Times Higher Education and Professional Photographer Magazine. The innovative class, and the innovations associated with it, have been described by one of the teams collaborators as ‘an innovation in photography education’ and by Wired’s Rawfile team as ‘Blowing minds & shifting paradigms in photo education’.
The beta App allows people to engage with the community of practitioners and students who are taking part in the course. Pulling in photographs from Flickr, content from the blog, comments from Twitter as well as a range of photography podcasts from our iTunes U Project.
The intention is to see whether mobile applications can enhance the experience of being involved in the course and to help us to think about future developments in this area as part of our mantra for Open Media at Coventry University. Since the launch of this app, we have been involved in developing a number of innovations for mobile based learning, including the launch of the MediaPRO – Media Production Course App
(The image at the top and on my homepage – Crash Courtesy of Jonathan Shaw)
The Picbod App was developed as a part of my Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education. You can find the poster presentation of the PICBOD App here. Thanks to all the colleagues, students and other people who were involved in its development.
Large parts of the UK are currently being licensed for Hydraulic Fracturing, Underground Coal Gasification and Coal Bed Methane Extraction. A growing base of evidence is showing that these technologies could have a massive impact on the environment, as well as on the health of people and wildlife. Despite this, it seems that planning applications are being allowed to go ahead with very little debate, and consent, from the people who it will directly impact upon.
The Liverpool, Wirral and Merseyside campaign to raise awareness has received considerable community support so far. It even managed to get a mention by Yoko One, who is an eminent campaigner against the tide of fracking across the globe. A number of other merseyside bands are also supporting the campaign.
— Yoko Ono (@yokoono) April 7, 2014
As part of the efforts, I’ve helped to make a film to raise awareness of the impacts of extreme energy extraction in the area.You can watch it here:
A number of organisations have helped to get this out there, many thanks for helping to share this issue and for helping the campaign to raise signatures for the petition to put this on the agenda.
— Margaret Greenwood (@MGreenwoodWW) July 11, 2014
— Wirral Green Party (@WirralGreens) July 5, 2014
Liquid-Cinema is a visual art/technology project that is exploring the potential of inserting fluid and manipulable layers into the visual imagery of film in the cinema. This technology will effectively enable film audiences to become part of the narrative imagery and story of the ‘mass-distributed’ film itself. Enabling filmmakers and distributors to develop new kinds of narrative experiences and database driven hyper-localisation for their stories and back-catalogues.
It is an attempt at creating a participatory cinema, one that is open to audience and contextual engagement in a number of fluid and dynamic ways. It builds on the practical and theoretical work in the broad area of the study, and practice, of transmedia storytelling and the digital arts.
It’s aim is to apply it to the creation of new narrative experiences, as well as enabling cinematic archives and back-catalogues to be reconceived and remediated and potentially resold as new versions. On top of this there will also be potential to integrate the hyper-localisation of advertising and product placement content in the background of film itself. A film that becomes aware
Here are some of the illustrations from the thinking behind the project so far (created by Illustrator Catherine Askew)….
This is a research-led teaching project to develop a micro-budget feature film experience working with students and a number of collaborators:
‘Latitude’ is a satire about two technology fanatics whose lives are about to change, a tiny little bit, as they descend into a bizarre reality in their geeky hunt to find the world’s ultimate technology, which they believe is hidden in a game called Geocaching.
It is currently in production in the UK and USA and deals with issues around technology, reality and sanity. It hopes to go beyond-the screen, so expect some innovations and experiments as the film progresses.
Stay tuned for updates as the film progresses. We will also do a proper trailer once we get closer to releasing the movie, alongside a ‘Making of…’.
Starring – Jonathan Leinmuller, Andy McGillan, Christopher Dunne, Rachel Adams and Josh Ubaldi.
Production – Mick Le Mare, Rebecca Pittam, Richard Neal, Jake Humbles, Ross Varney, Adam Davies, Sam Soane, Alex Hacking, James Colley, Suzi Globe and many many more marvellous people who have helped us along the way.
Music used – ‘Reversed Reality – Igor Dvorkin, ‘City Streets’ – David Michael, ‘Wilderness’ – Philip Guyler available at audionetwork.com/