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The last Best Scene in Town workshop was introduced by interaction specialist Renato Valdes Olmos (Postmachina and My Name is E). He explained to the film and theatre professionals and interaction designers that were present that they should focus on context in their project. Not context in the sense of space and time necessarily (referring to the Nuit Blanche Festival on June 19th in Amsterdam in this case), but to the interaction with the material of the mobile phone.

Our portable telecommunication devices have been more and more fitted with sensors to register what their user is doing. Whether you move your phone into a certain direction, hold it to your ear or in your hand, it knows. Usefulness of these sensors becomes clear from the example of the screens that adjust brightness to the ambient light. However, phones are still unable to anticipate what you will do next.

The advice to think about this challenge was taken to heart by the participants. They worked with this insight by asking: Where would the visitors of the Nuit Blanche want to start the tour? What would they visit next? Where could they recharge their phones once these run out of batteries due to heavy sensor use? Thus mapping the expectations of the people present at the night of the Amsterdam festival, foregrounding logistics over entertainment in their design.

Consulting the phone to proceed the 7Scenes tour.

Link to the Dutch article at the weblog of Waag Society.

The second Best Scene in Town workshop in Waag’s Theatrum Anatomicum attracted staff from museums and advertising companies. Culture and commerce seem to be perfect ingredients to light up a spark. A clash of ideas was not so much noticeable however between individuals from these backgrounds. One did occur in the groups that were formed with mixed compositions.

Some group members wanted to develop a route along the budget addresses of the city, while others favoured a trip to Amsterdam’s gay-scene. In another group, someone wanted to create a route that enabled people to enact the criminal life of Willem Holleeder, while his group members were advocating a route for a couple in love celebrating their relationship.

Solutions were found when the groups moved on to other aspects of their route, such as interaction mechanics and location. Participants found out that their opinions on exiting interaction possibilities matched or that they agreed on the terrain where the route should be put down.

Best Scene in Town logo.

Introductory presentations were given by Juha van ‘t Zelfde (Visible Cities and VURB) and Sander Ejlenberg (MUSE).

The longer Dutch version of this article can be read here: http://blog.waag.org/?p=2865

Best Scene in Town is a contest organised by Waag Society’s 7Scenes platform which allows users to create mobile routes. In three workshops, professionals are invited to cooperate with craftsmen in other fields in the creation of novel concepts for routes through Amsterdam. Winning submissions can be played at the Nuit Blanche Festival of 19 June.

Architects and game designers were the first to create GPS routes. Remarkable was that despite their professional experience in designing with the help of computer programmes, all participants grabbed paper and colour pens to elaborate their ideas. Maps were drawn in, post-its with notes were shifted to construct storylines and even 3D paper doodles were folded and decorated to enrich the brainstorm process.

The resulting collection of concepts included lively ideas to make chill zones out of grim nightlife areas, to spread stories by placing them in virtual bottles, and to show the multicultural aspects of the city by visiting its inhabitants. The spatial flower and insect structures out of paper sheets that were mentioned above, gave inspiration for a mysterious game in which red buttons and sound and light effects would be hidden throughout the city. Creating suspense over which city tumults would be daily business as usual and which would be part of the game.

How 7Scenes places route points in the landscape.

This workshop was kicked off with introductions by Martijn de Waal (The Mobile City) and Kars Alfrink (Hubbub)

Assisting at this workshop resulted in a blog article at blog.waag.org (in Dutch).

Tweets (Dutch and English)

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