Tag Archives: digital

Digital Archaeology – building the future archives for the Arts

23 Aug
cc Big Data Water Wordscape by Marius B

cc Big Data Water Wordscape by Marius B

One of the key things I have been thinking about and working on is how the digital data of projects and work we have made will form part of the future of archaeology. How the data will relate to the spaces and the collective memories of artists, participants and audiences.

This has formed part of my thinking whilst working on the Unesco project for York, which was was recently designated the first City of Media Arts in the UK, as part of the global Creative Cities Network. Here the city joins a network of 68 other creative cities across the world with designations which include – music, film, design, food, literature, folk art and our own, media arts.

For me the definition of what constitutes media arts is broad and far reaching and it involves the integration of new media technologies into creative practice and social exchange. This includes disciplines such as video games, computer animation, digital and interactive art, sound art, film, television and theatre.

It is clear to many, that that there is a strong heritage and archaeological emphasis on York’s historical past within the City. For many visitors this is a key aspect of their visit – to see the Minster, the Jorvik Viking centre, the Roman foundations, the Mediaeval Walls or the National Railway Museum to name but a few.

But in this historical DNA of the City runs a bright seam of innovation, be they the Roman water systems, the railway engineering or more clearly the stained glass windows of York Minster. It is here we need to stop and think about those windows, and realise that they were of course the cinema, internet and television of their day. Their use of light, space, story was extraordinary and provided a shifting and colourful storytelling experience.

They were the media arts of their day.

Which is why I am keen to explore the future possibilities of how we can evolve the experiences and social interactions that the media arts can create. Sharing stories on and offline, in spaces and places can help to embed and build the future memories and narratives for us all. The data of these interactions through sharing of pictures, stories, images, vines, videos, all tagged and geo-located will help to form the future archives and provide rich digital archaeological seam for future generations to discover.

It is key that Artists and Arts organisations come to realise their role in the work that they make and how they can help to build these future archives digitally and make them available and accessible. It is their connection with audiences and participants to help to build and grow these vast connections with data, stories and memories of the work that has been made and what is has meant to be part of it.

I am not able to walk up the steps of my office at Pilot Theatre without the memory of the HD projection of our co-production of Blood + Chocolate onto the building back in 2013. I am going to add to the digital archaeological heritage of the city by tagging this picture of my office below.Blood+ChocolatePilotTheatre

Marcus Romer – Artistic Director – Pilot Theatre

 York City of Media Arts

Digital? The Arts? This time it’s personal…

2 Oct

Personal Wax Seal

This is my new personal sealing wax stamp. I bought it at the ‘Rivoaltus’ shop on the Rialto Bridge in Venice when I was there delivering one of my talks about the arts and digital stuff at the Teatro la Fenice.

The shop is great – they make their own paper and handbind their own version of Moleskine notebooks. Just the thing to write notes on with my trusty old fountain pen. It’s worth a look online if you get chance.

The reason for sharing this? Well, increasingly I have become more and more aware of the rising digital fatigue / panic in the arts. It oscillates between the two at any given moment. So I wanted to share my thoughts about how we rethink and refocus what ‘digital in the arts’  means. So this is my sort of talk that I will be giving at the SOLT / UK Theatre / ITC ‘Digital Forum’ day today.

Back in the day, the sealing wax stamp meant that a personal message could be hand delivered to a particular person or group. It would be specially for that person, and they would know that no-one else had seen the message if the seal had not been broken. It was a personal message. Delivered directly into their hand.

The human need to convey information, to share ideas and pass on details has not changed at all. Only the mechanism has. We now have the ability to place not only information, but amazing works of art into the palms of our friends, colleagues, followers,  via their handheld devices.

So, the question is this – What do we have to share with them that they will want to find interesting enough to keep and to share with their friends?

This is not about technology, we know this, it is always about people. People making things, and people who are interested in the particular things you make.

So let’s get over the whole ‘what can we broadcast’ and ‘how do we do it’ thing. Let’s shift the focus onto what we make and how we can we make something that will look beautiful and special – and that we can place that in the palm of someone’s hand – who will want to treasure it, and maybe show it to their friends.