In Search of Auditory Prey

Finally can get back to the coalface ...

W(here)W(as)I? Last thing that happened was that Steve (Poole) and I tested the latest iteration of 1831 RIOT! on, er, Tues 17 Oct. Seeing 1831Test4 thru' someone else's ears was an eyeopener: damn punters NEVER do what you expect them to! Which is why when you make something like this, the mantra runs: CONSTANT ITERATION! Make, test, remake, test on someone(s) else!

What we established: chronological doesn't work. Il ne marche pas! Es geht nicht! それは動作しません!

Determining 'Day1' then 'Day2' (on entry your phone dictates which day it is for you) doesn't work. If such a model ueberhaupt adopted, then it should be '1st visit - play these files; 2nd visit (on another day) play the other files)'there is no satisfactory solution to the 'chronological' vs 'locational' dilemma. As we are using located media, it, of course, makes sense to physically locate as many of the soundfiles as possible ie if M…

Why Remake 1831 RIOT!

Exposed my baby to Steve Poole yesterday
The baby's nappy needs changing (sorry to put that mental picture in your head!)

Perhaps a good way to gestalten (structure) a GPS-triggered audio-experience is to FIRST observe how someone completely unused to such experiences negotiates the space and see what they do, then structure the experience accordingly (I don't mean SP, I mean some of his comments - of which more later - led me to this train of thought, thanks, Steve!)

But, I recall that HP (Hewlett Packard) monitored people's behaviour in the original and we, The People,  exhibited varied behaviours (as you would expect). Some stuck to obvious linear features (the paths in QS, for example), some spiralled in to the statue at the centre, some quartered the ground methodically, some wandered at random. What do you do, TELL people how to negotiate the experience? But that negates what for me, and SATSYMPH, everything that these soundscapes are about, and what attracted us to t…

It's 1831 and there's a riot going on...

Here we go, here we go ...

After a break for some sun and to recharge the creative batteries ...

...  I destruction-tested Iteration 5 of the all new singing dancing 1831 RIOT! Perfetto (whoops, wrong language)!

ENTER THE TIME PORTAL, get 'Fry's Letter' (serves as authentic introduction and scene-setting)HEAR 'Balladeer': tone-setting in the form of a sung ballad about the riots29th or 30th October 1831? Your phone decides for you which day of the (just over) 2 day riots you are enteringWALK CLOCKWISE into the 'morning' soundfiles of that day. STOP & LISTEN.PERIOD MUSIC indicates 'end of this particular soundfile' - MOVE ON into:RIOT ACT: this rectangular soundpool plays ONLY the 'Riot Act' every time you enter it. It's laid out along a natural break: one of the diagonal footways thru' the square. MOVE ON into...'afternoon': plays soundfiles from the afternoon of whichever day you're in. MOVE BACK into...'Riot Act&…

Paddling Like Hell Underneath

Further thought resulted in .... (I think it was Einstein who said that...). The 3rd iteration of the remade 1831 RIOT! is as above. Your phone decides which day of the riots it is going to be: Day1 or Day2. On each of these 2 days the above zones are stacked with playlists of the soundfiles for those time-periods (keeping, of course, to the authentic chronology as far as possible). 'SOUNDFILES' are NOT 'about' what happened - they are authentic (as possible) re-enactments of what actually happened, scripted by Liz Crow & Ralph Hoyte and recorded in a soundstudio by professional actors (think 'GPS-triggered audioplay for the smartphone which you can only hear where the actual historic events took place').


You enter QS (Queen Square) thru' the time 'portal'. Entering this zone triggers 'FryLetter' - a letter Joseph Fry (yes, of chocolate and cocoa fame) wrote on the riots in 1831. You then step into 'Balladeer', …

Ladies! ladies! Look neither to the left, nor to the right!

there are 106 usable soundfilesyou can fit maybe 10-12 sound zones (with reliable triggering) in QS (it's a comparatively small area)we want the maximum user-experience (stable, gives good impression of what went on, no frustrating technical or storyline glitches)the riot, tho' centred in QS, was much broader (eg Cathedral, back streets leading off from QS, the Bridewell, the New Gaol (behind the Temple Quay development), middle-class rubberneckers (thrill-seekers) on Brandon Hill...the Android app has a max. capacity of 40mb (boo!). Either, 1, reduce the number of files (boo!) or, 2, reduce the file quality POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS divide the Square into 4 'mood' zones (cf Steve Poole: "riots had/have a flow, a pattern. It's not all shouting, yelling, throwing cobblestones, setting fire to things, looting, attacking people; not all general mayhem. There are periods of calm and relaxation, of humour, even. Then there was a tacitly 'approved' way of goin…

1831 RIOT! Re-Make - The Deal.

Why remake 1831 RIOT!?

We, the original 1831ers (Ralph Hoyte, Liz Crow) never wanted to simply 'move on' from 1831 RIOT and leave it languishing in virtual space (somewhere beyond Pluto?). And we were still struck, 12-13 years later, by the quality of the voice acting and recordings - and the fact that there are so many of them: 148 in total, covering nearly all aspects of the 3-day riots. The original was made for 'old tech' (HP iPaqs and GPS receivers in backpacks), wouldn't it be great, now we know so much more about creating located experiences, to make it for contemporary tech? Also, it seems such an historical resource for Bristol, is, surely, of visitor interest, and it was, and remains, the first of its kind, the first attempt to use brand new global positioning technologies for literary aims! It can't be allowed to just disappear!

And, yes, it would be nice to make some of that useful stuff - money - off it. But then you're into 'marketing' a…

Thrown out of the BBC studio

BBC interview 27 April 2004

Firstly - why did you focus on this point in history, and in particular this riot, for the project?
Ralph: we wanted to do an historically-authentic play so it was immediately clear when Hewlett-Packard said they were 'wiring' Queen Square that we would do its most defining moment: the 1831 Reform Riots
Liz: The riots lent themselves to this project because they were a very 'defined' event in a very defined place - taking place over three days and centred on the Square - but with implications that stretched far beyond and right up until today. They were a key event both in Bristol's history and the development of democracy for the country as a whole. As a story, the riots were perfect to work with because they had something of everything - personal stories, fascinating personalities, political intrigue, huge drama.
There's some fascinating moments and quirky anecdotes that appear in the play, how did you discover all these?
Ralph: there&#…