On Saturday 5th March, Madlab played host to a Shareable Music Night. This rather interesting event was partly an opportunity to investigate and discuss the shareable music scene, and partly an opportunity to share and discover new music. Or, in other words, we broke up our discussion with sound system interludes. I might make this a mandatory feature of any other discussion/presentation I attend in future.

Michael Dorrington of Manchester Free Software led the discussion, delivering a fascinating presentation on the issues at stake and his experiences with shareable music, copyright issues, and free culture in general. Loz Kaye – Oldham East and Saddleworth’s Pirate Party candidate – was also in attendance and contributed to the discussion from both a political and personal perspective.

Michael started the evening by discussing copyright, dispelling the myth that authors or creators of a work need to register in order to be granted rights over distribution and expression of the piece. Copyright is automatic and prevents others from using an author’s work without their permission. We discussed how, while this may protect the author to a certain extent, default copyright is limited in its ability to enable or feed into the viral nature of today’s online communication of ideas and art. To this end, Creative Commons has become a popular way for authors to extend certain permissions while still protecting their claims to the creation of their work.

As an organisation, Creative Commons created a series of licenses that authors can apply to their work according to their needs. Apart from Creative Commons Zero (CC0), all Creative Commons licenses ensure that any use or distribution of a licensed work must be attributed to the original author. There are six main licenses that govern commercial use, modification and distribution. For the completely altruistic amongst us, CC0 waves all the rights of the author, gifting the work into the public domain.

Music is, of course, just one of the art forms that people have started to release under Creative Commons licenses. We discussed the change in the production and distribution of music over the past few years and how the internet and the shareable/free culture scene has influenced musicians and the music consuming public. While Nine Inch Nails famously released material under a Creative Commons license, it is the lesser known and emerging artists publishing under CC licenses that are creating a vast database of searchable and shareable music available for everyone.

Michael highlighted the website Jamendo, a site that allows users to stream and download music published under CC licenses for free. Jamendo currently boasts just shy of 300,000 tracks. This is an impressive figure for free, legitimate, online music. We also discussed SoundCloud, a free service that allows musicians to upload music to share across social networking platforms and websites. SoundCloud seems to be making gains where MySpace is badly losing ground and, interestingly, SoundCloud makes it possible for artists to select CC licenses for their tracks at the point of uploading.

We had an interesting and topical discussion about the role of libraries in the face of changing attitudes towards and use of copyright. Generally it was felt that libraries might future-proof themselves by focusing on the role of archiving and providing access to CC licensed and public domain materials with an emphasis of free unlimited access to those materials than the traditional ‘loan of a copy’.

On the subject of copying, Michael rounded off by showing a video that I found particularly inspiring. All Creative Work is Derivative is by artist and animator Nina Paley. It’s because of seeing this for the first time at Madlab that I’ll be changing the CC licenses on my own creative pieces from the most restrictive to a license which allows others to modify and play with my work. After all, that’s how art functions and I’m glad that the Shareable Music Night reminded me of that fact.

You can watch Paley’s excellent (and derivative!) video here:

This blog post first appeared as a guest blog for MadLab.


Sex Idiot

06Mar11

I was lucky enough to see Sex Idiot at Contact Theater on Friday. I want to write at length about the performance but I won’t. It’s something you just have to see.

Sex Idiot is written and performed by Bryony Kimmings. It’s a one woman show that constructs its narrative from the author’s sexual history following her discovered contraction of a common STD. This uncompromising tour of said history also serves as a brutal examination of modern relationships, be they lengthy and significant or trivial and brief. The show is supremely funny, in the most uncomfortable way, and it’s painfully sad, but beautiful with it. Kimmings’ performed some of the best comedy I’ve seen in recent years, but I would in no way call it a comedy show. Sex Idiot is laced with songs and decked out in costumes that I still now find myself smiling at. However, the show’s comedic elements only serve to pull you in close enough to throw you off guard before levelling you with more intense and disturbing emotions. The show was autobiographical but in a universal manner that immediately caused me to examine my own behaviours and tendencies.  Ordinarily, I wouldn’t advocate spending an evening drinking whiskey and lamenting lost love and poor choices, yet I was moved to do so during the course of Kimmings’ compelling performance and felt lighter for it. Besides, the booze was thrust upon me.

In the end, what I really adore about this project is that underneath the humour, alcohol, and bizarre musicality, Sex Idiot contains a blazing heart of unflinching hardcore performance art. I just loved it and I’ll be making an effort to catch another performance during this tour.

IMG_2419
Image by Liquid Photo

I can just about stick my head over the parapet to spread the word about a new game I’m working on with Larkin’ About.

It’s called Stranger on the Eleventh Floor and will be starting at 10pm at Manchester’s Nexus Art Cafe on 26th February. That’s this Saturday night! Wear shoes you can run in and think

and

when picking your wardrobe for the evening. And don’t forget your sense of adventure.

To wet your appetite for #eleventhfloor, Larkin’ About’s Spring event will be kicking off in the bar of greenroom from 6pm on the same evening, offering a stack of awesome games for your playing pleasure!

All free.

Let’s Play.


After what has seemed like a veritable drought in terms of Manchester weather, at some point before dawn on Saturday 5th October 2011, the heavens opened. They didn’t close again until Sunday. As luck would have it, this was also the day of Let’s Go Global‘s pervasive gaming event Space Invaders. But try as it might (and believe me, it certainly tried) the rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of those that attended this innovative and entertaining event.

The day was billed as a pervasive gaming for 13-19 year olds and was based Old Trafford’s St John’s Centre. That pervasive gaming should appeal to young people is not in itself surprising, and I certainly found that they took to the games I observed with as much enthusiasm as adults I have worked with in the past. What Space Invaders did, which I found to be truly inspiring, was to enable the collaboration of  Global Youth, Niki Woods & Greg Foster on a pervasive game called Toll Man. Not only is it important for youth groups and young individuals to have significant input into these types of events, but I think it is important for gaming attendees in general to have creative influence. I’ve been knocking about an idea with @alan_hook for a little while now about putting on a Pervasive Game Jam. Space Invaders gave a glimpse into what that might be like.

Hannah Nicklin and Larkin’ About ran Hannah’s game Hibernate! for the event. The game played out twice, in the pouring rain, with large groups of participants who worked in teams to collect food that had been scattered around the centre in order to earn points. It’s a fantastic game that encourages teamwork and inventive communication. If you have a chance to play this in the future, jump at it.

Teams get ready for Hibernate!


Racing back with food during Hibernate!


Matt Smith ran Hide the Guy, in which a player takes the role of Guy Fawkes and must be hidden by other players from two guards. Matt’s game has an interesting mechanic in that players may be questioned by the guards, recieving gold coins for answers that appear to be truthful. Players may lie but if they are discovered, they lose all the gold they have thus far collected. It’s a collecting game neatly wrapped inside a game of hide and seek.

Once the sun had set, I ran 7:Candles:Mcr. You can see how that went here. I like to think of the game as a collecting game in which players create and collect memorable moments for points. Hopefully players feel the same!

Level 2 of 7:Candles:Mcr.

 

Besides the pervasive gaming, Space Invaders also included DJing and T-Shirt making workshops put on by Unity Radio, both of which appeared to be very popular. The only negative to the day that I found was a lack of activity between some of the games. Although music and refreshments were provided all day, a few low intensity mini-games might have kept up the energy for those waiting for the next game slots to start. However, this is a minor gripe in the face of an overwhelmingly successful event, organised by the amazing individuals of Let’s Go Global. I certainly hope Space Invaders was only the first of many community based pervasive gaming events to come in the future.

Talented DJs provided the sounds for the day.

 


I headed down to greenroom on the evening of 3rd February for an excellent social event aimed at connecting local emerging artists with other artists and to highlight the opportunities available at greenroom to create and present work. I hooked up with the rest of Larkin’ About, and chatted to people about the events we’ve put on from greenroom and our upcoming event on 26th February which will showcase our top-secret ARG-noir Stranger on the 11th Floor.

The social/mixer was a really great idea. Often, it can be intimidating for emerging artists to find the information they need to get their work seen or experienced by the public. greenroom did an excellent job of pointing out all of the schemes, events, and funding opportunities available through them, including Instant Win! – an event that invites 60 second pitches with a £500 commission in the offing – and emergency – an annual weekend of non-linear performative work also used a selection event for commissions via greenroom’s Method Lab and Seedfund schemes. Escape Theatre performed/related their route through and development from greenroom’s support in a piece I would be hard pressed to define but enjoyed immensely.

Not only did greenroom supply all of this useful information and field questions from attendees, but they also enabled more established artists to share their experiences, all for free and with plenty of tasty cake and wine. It was a warm, friendly, and informative event for newcomers and regular patrons alike.


I’m not feeling so guilty about the length of time between updates because it stems from being really busy doing things I love. Of course, I’d like to have more time to create and to post but I also have a day job to fit in amongst it all. Still, one can dream.

First, I’ve switched WordPress themes and changed the name of the blog. A quick search showed that my original blog title Three-Point-Oh! had been used far too many times already. This I learned just when I was feeling so pleased with it too. So I’ve changed the domain to www.vee-uye.com and the title of the blog is now Running Breathing Gaming. It best sums up what I’m doing, I think, although I won’t be restricting my posts to these areas. After all, I’m a rounded individual 😉

Next, it’s worth mentioning that I’m now working more formally with Larkin’ About, the definitive Manchester based pervasive gaming group. You’ll see in the Current Projects section of this site that we’re working on an ARG we’re calling Stranger on the 11th Floor for our 26th February event. I’m really looking forward to this but it’s top secret for now. Stay tuned!

Another bit of news is that I have two games going live this week. The first is a commission for Action for Sustainable Living called Trafford: 365. The second is an iteration of 7:Candles:Mcr. This time, the game will be set in Old Trafford and run during Space Invaders, Let’s Go Gobal‘s pervasive gaming event for young people. This was quite fun to set up as the locations are all within about 5 mins of my front door.

Finally, I am working on another commission for AFSL/Chorlton Big Green Festival called 14 Days of Chorlton. This will run for 14 days, culminating on the day of the 2011 Chorlton Big Green Festival and is a version of my 2010 game 14 Days of Manchester. More on this as it nears completion.

Other than that, I’ve been running a lot in preparation for the Brighton Marathon and not playing Xbox. Only one of these things makes me happy.

Big Love.


Running. I tweet about running a fair bit but I haven’t blogged about it yet. I’ve got no intention of keeping a formal running blog. I’ve done that before and bored myself pretty quickly. But I will sneak on here and post about races I’m chuffed about or runs that terrify me. Just not formally and not often.

2011 is not really shaping up to be the running year I imagined. By July 2010, I was in the shape of my life with a marathon under my belt, and a 10k personal best of 45:37. Slow to some, perhaps, but quite an achievement for me, a fitness latecomer.

Then, at the peak of my proverbial powers, I got a knee injury. In the months of convalesence, I went from running 50+ miles per week to running 0 miles per week. I also continued to consume food like a 50 mile a week runner. My fitness fell apart.

I got some good physio advice and rested up. Now I’m at the beginning of my spring marathon training plan and am planning to run the second Brighton Marathon on 10th April 2011. The difference between me now and me last year is that the plan is no longer to beat last year’s time of 3:55:14 (perhaps even nearing 3:30). My goal is simply to get around the damn thing in something close to sub-4.

I ran a 5k parkrun yesterday and, while I was third lady home, I actually ran quite slowly, coming in at 24:10. This makes sub-4 at Brighton challenging in the least.

I have a couple of races upcoming that will help determine my fitness in the meantime: The Great North West 1/2 Marathon on the 27th February, and the Trafford 10k on March. Then, barring a few 5ks, it’s just me and the big one: Brighton. I have unfinished business there.

After that, I have a secret desire to run 30 miles on my 30th birthday. This is all dependant on making it to Brighton uninjured but I think I’d rather spend my birthday doing this than getting drunk in San Fransico, which was my original plan. I intend to run the 30 miles in Alexandra Park, in 1 mile loops, and invite my friends and family to run one of the miles with me. Hopefully I can organise some music and a BBQ and people can have a ball watching me struggle around on blistered feet. Obviously, I’ll keep you posted on how that all works out.

Finally, the inaugural Liverpool Marathon is being held on October 1st and as Liverpool is fairly local to me, being based in Manchester, I might run this if I’ve recovered from my spring and summer endeavours. Of course, this could all be a delicious recipe for injury and disaster but you never know until you try, right?

But where’s the tech? One of my friend’s found it incredible that I embraced running to the extent that I do. Until she realised that I like running because I get to geek all over it. It’s all about stats and constant biological feedback for me. I wear a Garmin 405 gps watch and heart rate monitor for my runs. This means I get to pour over my stats daily. If that kind of thing floats your boats, I upload, break down and analyse these data at the excellent fetcheveryone.com. The link to my profile is here.

Does it make me a better runner? Probably not. But like all the other tech in my life, sometimes I just have to have it. And if I have it, I make full use of all its capabilities.



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