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1 April 2014

Recife, here they come

Natasha Chubbuck, Associate Producer at Site Gallery (Sheffield) blogs about the start of the second (and final) phase of the Recife: Playable City's programme.

'The past 3 months have flown by, and tomorrow we're off to Recife for the second half of our Playable City project!

In the time between our work together in Bristol and the trip to Recife everyone's been back to their day jobs and other projects, but our team - Laura, Filipe, Helder, Thaís and I - have found a little time to keep in touch (email, Google Hangouts and WhatsApp all proving very useful!) to start developing our ideas, thinking about questions we want to ask and test in Recife, and exploring tech approaches.

A few weeks after the Bristol sprint, we organised a Google Hangout for a quick refection session while the public presentation and sharing were still fresh in out minds. A quick SWOT analysis of each of our 2 prototypes - the Sonic Branches and the Telescope to a Beautiful City - highlighted the strengths of the 2 projects (the fun, playable, tactile nature of the Sonic Branches, and the intimate, 'shared secret' feel of the Telescope) and raised plenty of opportunities for new things to explore in the context of Recife.

We also looked back at our original aims - to create feelings of efficacy and empowerment, to create a sense of connectedness, to inspire individuals to feel creative potential - and looked at how our prototypes met these, or could be developed to meet them further.

This side of the Atlantic, I made the trip back to Pervasive Media Studio twice, for a couple of days work with Laura Kreifman in February and March. February's meet-up focused on looking at our 2 existing prototypes, and THINKING BIGGER! Throwing practicality out the window for a moment, we looked at expanding Sonic Branches from small actions, to massive effects! Cue musical bridges and interactive light effects…

Thanks to David for helping us work out the tech side and proving that, in theory, this is something that's feasibly possible!

In March we focused back on the Telescopes and how we could get rid of the computer, making the object something more streamlined and tactile. Laura's huge amounts of research paid off with some designs being drawn up, ready for testing in Recife.I think we're now both experts on the construction of kaleidoscopes and taleidoscopes!

In the meantime in Recife, Filipe, Thaís and Helder have been getting together to talk audio, locations, tech, and test out some new developments that we can't wait to see next week!

Brazil, here we come!'

Natasha Chubbuck is Associate Producer at Site Gallery (Sheffield) and one of the UK participants in Watershed/British Council's Recife: the Playable City programme.
Find out more about the programme and follow all the action in Recife here.