The Snark Dance

collaborative choreographies of collective memory

Futuresonic: Unplugging and Networking May 9, 2008

Filed under: enchantment and technology,Futuresonic08,Networkin',treasure hunting — danceswithsnarks @ 8:05 pm


Well do I have to spell it out for ya? Courtesy of Caroline Heron

Last week I attended futuresonic in Manchester. Futuresonic was really very good for me to embrace technologies and innovation after a period of extreme nostalgia. Tradition is important but innovations can really still be very useful in facilitating their understanding when used in a balanced fashion. The theme of futuresonic this year was “The Social” so there was much focus on open source culture, social events as well as unplugging.


(All photos of friends workshop are courtesy of Aram Bartholl, via Flickr)

Aram Bartholl presented two performances at the festival as well as a workshop which created networking scrapbooks. Scrapbooks were made using stamps, old label makers and carbon paper in order to replicate information in face to face interaction. We were provided with stamps with various logos for social networking sites which could be filled out for later online networking…Low tech, crafty and fun…love it!

The process:

Below are some images of me making my book and exchanging information with a new friend. There is also an image of the big book which is the server I guess you could say:

I participated in both of Aram’s performances at Futuresonic. His first one entitled WOW was inspired from the online game World of Warcraft. A few of us carved our full names in green and suspended them above our heads with the help of volunteers. We then went along with our usual business about the conference and the city. This was done in order to mimic the interface of WOW in which players have their screen names floating above their avatars.

Screen shot depicting World of Warcraft of an avatar with screen name floating overhead

Here is a clip from our performance, courtesy of Caroline Heron:

The second performance, Chat, was similar except this time I had a speech bubble hanging over my head. This crafty bubble was made by Aram so that text could be typed on a portable keyboard and projected on to the speech bubble. We then went out into the streets and bars at night and chatted people up. Unfortunately, I could not find any documentation of this event. However, I have included a video I found on youtube, courtesy of Aram Bartholl, of one of his Chat events from Ars Electronica:

Another genius idea was a project entitled my space, your space, our space. This was an unplugged myspace where people were invited to make their own space within a box with an envelope at the back for messages. All the boxes were displayed behind a shop window on a busy shopping street. If someone had left you a message you would be notified by a paper icon in front of your box:

Both photos of my space, your space, our place, photo courtesy of Caroline Hero


Futursonic also held many lectures about urban gaming. I found out about how GPS systems are being used for the creation of games such as geocaching which is a forum for treasure hunting using GPS devices. Also I met someone from 7scenes which is a company that creates software that allows you to tailor mobiles in order to create games and document movements through the city. I think this would be an excellent tool for clue hunting. I have also discovered twitter which allows for texting information from mobile phones. All in all futuresonic has managed to cure my technophobia. I have signed up to four new networking platforms (who knew there were so many!) since and I am now started to giggle for gadgets!


  • setting up sites for unplugged network production
  • Getting crafty
  • Now that I am growing less technophobic I want to look into the 7scenes software and see how it could help with collaborative film development and gaming.
  • Also twitter might be a cool way to start making up rules and creating game impromptu

2 Responses to “Futuresonic: Unplugging and Networking”

  1. larissa Says:

    in german its called bastelstunde

    there is something more comical about having a ‘check-book’ of community /blog diaries
    and that there is no escape from its interface design

  2. Jem Mackay Says:

    Hi Leslie,

    How’s it going? I noticed you wanted some documentation of the speech bubbles performance. I’ve got a phone movie that you might be interested in. I’ll post it at

    It would be great if you could do something for my project, by the way 😉

    Take care,


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