Today was the start of Digital Producers Lab in the Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol. The programme is a collaboration between National Theatre Wales, Arts Council Wales and Watershed.
To start the day, Kate Tyndall began by describing the motivations behind her book, The Producers, Alchemists of the Impossible. She described the role as one of taking an idea into the world to be experienced.A producer must be able to locate various values and promote the right one to the different audiences, be they funders, peers or the public. This requires the producer to draw on a range of people, creative and finance skills.
The latter loomed high on our cohort’s agendas. Anne Siegel from Ffotogallery discussed the gallery’s experience of Kickstarter. Whilst it is a more informal structure, the relationship with the funders still calls for a commitment to selling an idea. On the topic of regional funding there was a feeling that it is difficult to attract commercial partners for projects outside of large cities. It was felt that this might be countered by finding the appropriate values to promote when creating partnerships. Asking for help and using social media to do so was another approach to breaking through such barriers. Later in the week, specific sessions will pick up on the issues of funding, so it was good to see these issues arising early.
Next, artist Nikki Pugh introduced her own work as a meeting of place, playfulness and technology. In her practice, Nikki explores the behaviours and barriers inherent in public space and challenges these by prompting conversations. Over the week, the group will be constructing instruments with Arduino in order to form a GPS orchestra. For all of them this is their first experience of using these microcontrollers. Thankfully they have Nikki and Creative Technologist David Heylock on hand to help them work towards their performance on Friday.
Today’s tuition began with a rundown of Arduino, breadboards and resistors. Flashbacks to GCSE Physics abound, Nikki soon had them on the right path. In the space of an hour the group had built circuits, had LED’s flashing and fading, and some even started editing the code to get different effects.
Clare Reddington finished the day by talking about digital trends. This covered real world gaming, the Internet of Things, mapped projections, new routes for distribution and much more besides. Focusing on how this technology can be used to augment human experience rather than fed into a service economy underscored the growing relevance of the Digital Producer in the cultural landscape.
This post, along with one summarising each day of the Digital Producers Lab, can be found on National Theatre Wales’ Community