I recently began my PhD research journey exploring mixed reality storytelling in the smart city, as part of an AHRC Funded Collaborative Doctoral Award with McCann Manchester, the Virtual Engineering Centre and the Centre for Architecture and Visual Arts at Liverpool University.
My focus is looking at how immersive media technologies (such as mixed reality (AR/VR), internet of things, locative media, sensors and data) can be used to create imaginative interactions between people and place by connecting them to heritage and culture. My aim is to find ways to conceptualise and develop prototypes to make urban spaces more playful, imaginative & emotive through the use of mixed reality creative technologies and networked storytelling for visitors– which will hopefully be useful knowledge for future filmmakers, gamesmakers, advertisers, place marketers, placemakers, place hackers and urban designers.
The Practice-based PhD also involves a number of other collaborations within Arts, Culture organisations mainly in Manchester and Liverpool.
“As connected devices and services continue to develop, filmmakers will be able to place a story layer over the real world. Inanimate objects and physical locations will become an opportunity to extend stories and engage audiences in ways that propel 21st-century storytelling.” Lance Weiler
This project is exploring the possibilities for transmedia, augmented and virtual reality storytelling by creating a number of experimental films that fuse filmmaking, digital environments and creative technologies. I am particularly interested in the way that these immersive environments create new forms of embodiment and can help us to experience geographical space in new ways.
Many people argue that VR can lead to highly empathetic and emotional kinds of storytelling experiences, which could have a number of applications for the social sciences, humanities and the arts. They therefore have really strong potential for storytellers addressing issues related to personal, cultural, social and behavioural change.
Filmmakers and storytellers who are working in this area are also having to rethink the way that they design ‘story architecture’ around non-linear forms of transmedia engagement. It is therefore an inter-disciplinary project that explores a range of areas such as the behavioural and cognitive sciences, user-experience design, immersive performance and transmedia storytelling.
We are currently developing a number of projects, campaigns and teaching initiatives with partners and organisations under this banner, so stay tuned for updates as they develop…
In the meantime, follow the Immersive Storylab on twitter for updates and links to work that we think is really exciting. Or get in touch with me to discuss a project via: mail (at) petewoodbridge.info
After.video : Assemblages is a hybrid video book (paperback book and video) stored on a Raspberry Pi computer and packaged in a VHS case that assembles theory into practice. It will be available here soon.
The project was demonstrated at this years Transmediale Festival and includes a ‘re-assembled version’ of my video essay on Control Societies.
ISBN: 978-1-906496-23-4, 2016, published by Open Humanities Press
after.video realizes the world through moving images and reassembles theory after video. Extending the formats of ‘theory’, it reflects a new situation in which world and video have grown together.
This is an edited collection of assembled and annotated video essays living in two instantiations: an online version – located on the web at http://after.video/assemblages, and an offline version – stored on a server inside a VHS (Video Home System) case. This is both a digital and analog object: manifested, in a scholarly gesture, as a ‘video book’.
We hope that different tribes — from DIY hackercamps and medialabs, to unsatisfied academic visionaries, avantgarde-mesh-videographers and independent media collectives, even iTV and home-cinema addicted sofasurfers — will cherish this contribution to an ever more fragmented, ever more colorful spectrum of video-culture, consumption and appropriation…
Table of Contents
Peter Woodbridge + Gary Hall + Clare Birchall
Scannable images: materialities of Post-Cinema after Video
Karin + Shane Denson
The Crying Selfie
Rózsa Zita Farkas
Contingent Feminist Tacticks for Working with Machines
Lucia Egaña Rojas
Capturing the Ephemeral and Contestational
You Spin me Round – Full Circle
Oliver Lerone Schultz
Pablo de Soto
Laila Shereen Sakr (VJ Um Amel)
Jacob Friedman – Open Hypervideo Programmer
Anton Galanopoulos – Micro-Computer Programmer
Adnan Hadzi – OHP Managing Producer
Jacob Friedman – OHV Format Development & Interface Design
Joscha Jäger – OHV Format Development & Interface Design
Oliver Lerone Schultz – Coordination CDC, Video Vortex #9, OHP
Cover artwork and booklet design: Jacob Friedman
Copyright: the authors
Licence: after.video is dual licensed under the terms of the MIT license and the GPL3
Art + Civic Media as part of Centre for Digital Cultures @ Leuphana University.
Art + Civic Media was funded through Innovation Incubator, a major EU project financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the federal state of Lower Saxony.
Latitude is a satirical 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. It’s a bit of a metaphor, with the two lead characters being based on two very well known technology companies, and explores narratives of technological progress.
The film was made as a teaching project aimed at creating a low budget, and slightly critical, feature length film with undergraduate media production students. The script, funding and production was all conjured up over 4 months. It was produced across England, Wales and USA with a very small production team and tiny budget just to see if we could do it.
Well we did, kind of, here’s the film divided up into 12 chapters
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.
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/
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)
‘The Post-Secret State: Openness and Transparency in the Era of Gov 2.0’ (co-authored with Clare Birchall and Gary Hall) is published in a new journal called Ctrl-Z: New Media Philosophy, alongside an essay, ‘How to Do Justice to Media Specificity: or, Should This Video Be Left to Speak for Itself?’.
Find out more about Liquid Theory TV
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 that make a positive change.
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