Artbots 2011: talented robots
The first week of October saw a swarm of artistic robots descend on Gent. In collaboration with Timelab, Artbots US and UGent, FoAM co-curated “The Robot Talent Show.” Artbots is an event celebrating the art and aesthetics of robotics, where artists explore how behaviour, perception and interaction can expand their artworks and even make robots aware of their surroundings and each other. ArtBots 2011 featured the work of ten international artists, alongside a presentation of LIREC. The ArtBots 2011 Gent participants were Ranjit Bhatnagar (USA), Alex Braidwood (USA), Ivan Henriques (BR), Katie Koepfinger and Burcum Turkmen (USA), Korinna Lindinger (A), Logos (B), Shahar Zaks (USA), Dustyn Roberts and Ben Leduc Mills (USA), and Alexander Reben (USA).
How-to: alternate reality games
FoAM in Brussels hosted a two-day PARN tutorial on creating alternate reality games, facilitated by Adrian Hon and Matt Wieteska of Six to Start. Their games and experiences focus on play, storytelling, and social interaction. Six to Start believes that by combining these aspects, they can create experiences that are more memorable, powerful, and accessible than anything that’s come before – especially when hovering at the boundary between physical and digital worlds. The ARG tutorial at FoAM explored the nuts and bolts of designing and running an Alternate Reality Game, with a specific focus on storytelling and real-world interaction. During this tutorial we looked at developing story worlds, collaborative storytelling, and community formation. This tutorial furthered FoAM’s current research into alternate reality narratives for human-plant interaction, in which we plan to engage people in a new kind of immersive story where nature and culture interact.
Germination X: emotional plant spirits
After a two-week-long hacking retreat on the west coast of Sweden (assisted by blooms of bioluminescent algae), FoAM’s permaculture game Germination X now has a home online and a small number of brave pioneer planters. Dave Griffiths and Lina Kusaite spent the summer months experimenting with signalling plant spirits’ emotions with colour changes and working on the overall game play for the next LIREC consortium meeting in Bamberg at the end of September.