Hubbub has gone into hibernation.

Week 132–133

I’m writ­ing this on a train from Gene­va. It’s been two crazy weeks which explains for the lack of notes for a while.

The big thing these past weeks was the first prop­er playtest for Saba. Week 132 was tak­en up by prepa­ra­tions, with Hanne and Karel devel­op­ing a sce­nario and build­ing a paper pro­to­type. I had a meet­ing with the muse­um to go over what we’d be look­ing for, using a list of ques­tions as our guide­line. The client recruit­ed a num­ber of fam­i­lies, and on Mon­day and Tues­day of this week we ran sev­er­al tests. Things went well, despite the fact that the small bit of tech­nol­o­gy we had planned to use to sim­u­late one aspect of the game — a mobile print­er that would out­put pho­tos tak­en with an iPhone — failed mis­er­ably and we had to impro­vise. We got encour­ag­ing respons­es from play­ers though. Next comes the hard work of col­lat­ing all the obser­va­tions and decid­ing how to act on them.

On Tues­day of week 132, I ran a small work­shop at a Noord­hoff con­fer­ence for sci­ence teach­ers about Galaxy Tours. We’ve fin­ished our work on this. The result is a pro­to­type that takes an inter­est­ing approach to intro­duc­ing stu­dents to sev­er­al core con­cepts of astron­o­my. It’s not ready for pub­lic con­sump­tion yet, though. So until we get a chance to devel­op it fur­ther, it’ll remain in the archives. We might pub­lish some of our learn­ings from this project at some point. And of course it’ll get a write­up in the portfolio.

That same night I attend­ed Con­trol Game­lab #2, played some of the best Dutch Glob­al Game Jam games and was inter­viewed on stage togeth­er with Karel about our expe­ri­ence par­tic­i­pat­ing in Berlin. Niels’ fun short doc­u­men­tary of the trip was also shown.

I end­ed week 132 with par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Social Cities of Tomor­row work­shop as an expert, which meant spend­ing time with all the teams and most­ly help­ing them solid­i­fy the con­cepts they had devel­oped. Most revolved around urban renew­al and social par­tic­i­pa­tion in some way, which made it a stim­u­lat­ing thing to be involved with for a day.

I also attend­ed the Social Cities of Tomor­row con­fer­ence, where I pre­sent­ed a case study of Kop­pelkiek. It feels a long time ago since we’ve done that project, and we’ve learned a lot since, so I tried to share as many of that as I could. My per­son­al high­light was hear­ing about how the keynote speak­ers — Usman Haque, Natal­ie Jere­mi­jenko and Dan Hill — had each struc­tured their prac­tice in such a way to be able to do the most inter­est­ing work pos­si­ble, with the biggest amount of impact. Some­thing I am con­tin­u­ous­ly think­ing about for Hubbub.

The week­end was tak­en up by work on my LIFT lec­ture. On Wednes­day morn­ing I flew into Gene­va and (after drop­ping off some things at my hotel) imme­di­ate­ly head­ed to the venue for the start of the con­fer­ence. On Thurs­day I pre­sent­ed my thoughts on using games to restore a sense of agency and account­abil­i­ty to publics, which was kind of an attempt to devel­op some ideas from my dCon­struct talk fur­ther. I got some kind respons­es, which was grat­i­fy­ing. As a con­fer­ence, LIFT did a good job of pro­vid­ing an overview of the social impli­ca­tions of our cur­rent and near-future tech­nolo­gies. The con­ver­sa­tions around the event, in the hall­ways, over drinks and din­ner, were the best part, as is usu­al­ly the case with these events. As one speak­er point­ed out, cit­ing Théophraste Renau­dot, con­fer­ences are “the com­merce of souls.”

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