I struggle to find the words to describe what happened last Thursday at our fourth event at the Old Fire Station! But that’s a very bad sentence to start a post with. Sooo, it was lively and slightly chaotic (but in a good way), with games, pop-up installations, visual experiments and sonic delights, colourful badges, the Playground Pirate, many announcements (Instant Noodles start taking off)… But, hey, let me tell you the story one step at a time.
We started with a game of “Golden Ears” which briefly translates as “listen-to-an-obscure sound-for-2-seconds-and-try-to-figure-out-what-the-hell-that-was”, there were 5 different sounds and to make it a little bit easier to everyone’s brains we went with the multiple choice idea. The winning team was group “it”, they got ALL the answers right and were momentarily the envy of everyone else.
Group “it”: if you’re reading that, you know who you are, reply in the comments for your chance to pop in to the Playground HQ and receive your prize!
We had an Instant Noodle from Roxanne Claxton (aka Roxy) who wanted to announce that she’s having a show on at the Old Fire Station next Friday. It’s called “White Rabbit”, it sounds really unique and you should definitely go. You can find all the info here.
Our first full length act was by Paulette (you’ll remember her from her instant noodle on our “Just a Second” event). Paulette came in early to install a clothes line running across the Shop where she pegged inspiration material, images, text, clothes along with all the responses that she got through the Playground hive mind throughout the summer.
You can see her above talking about the creative process she undertook and asking everyone to wander through and look at all the items on the cloths line while listening to a specifically composed music score.
After a short intermission the ball was given to Dot, an artist we met through the Playground sessions and who also hosts a radio show every Sunday at 10pm, called Talkback. Dot wanted to share with us the incredible visual effects you can get through screen to camera feedback.There’s a lot of fun to be had with this, as you can get all sorts of unexpected lines, shapes and distortions and as we discovered the results can also be manipulated by using different screen types and adding moving light sources.
A couple more instant noodles found their way into the evening. Philippa and Emma (you saw them in action in “Third Time’s a Charm” ) warned us all about what seemed to be a kind of dodgy, underpaying and possibly fake call for artists that has been emailed around for the last year. Thank you ladies for bringing this up. Then Malcolm announced the formation of a new band and that they’ve been looking for a vocalist to join them. If you think you’d like to give it a go or you know someone who would please contact our Playmaster Tim on the email you will find here.
The final part of the evening involved a lot of traveling across the UK to come to us. Ninos drove all the way from Bangor, Wales to present to us the gist of his current PhD research. Using just his laptop, an iPhone and a mic he turned the phone into a handy interface that by moving it you can transform any incoming sounds like a wizard.
Of course, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Ninos had to actually write a programme on MaxMSP that uses the built-in accelerometer of the iPhone and “connects” it to a sound source of your choice. Above you can see him moving his magic wand with his right hand.
Last Thursday was also the time that we launched the Random Collaboration Bowl (which wasn’t strictly a bowl, so to speak) where anyone who wants to work with other people in the room can put in their contact details and pick someone else’s (at random or not).
And, of course, I shouldn’t forget to remind you guys of the Flier Image Competition! We have been making new fliers every month and, soon, not only we will start running out of ideas but will also end up spending useful time that could go towards organising the actual event. Take one of our hand-stamped Playground cards, place it somewhere, take a picture! Needs to be portrait orientation and the lettering on the card to be legible. Just send us the image, we’ll do the rest. Other than that, the world is your canvas!
Thank you all for being so friendly and brave and enthusiastic. Playground is all of us and all of you. We’ve come a long way from our first one in June and we truly had no idea whether the whole thing was going to work out. You make it keep going, not we. And for that you deserve a big homemade cake. And a hug.