Week 6 – Change of plans, Posterous
It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote a blog (longer than I thought, actually), so I feel I need to bring this up to speed first and foremost.
My main focuses since last I posted have been writing a literature review and finding a suitable event to go to and cover. The literature review part is taking longer than I had hoped, mostly due to there being so much ground to cover, as this subject can really go as deep as you want it to and it’s easy to get side tracked; I keep finding my paragraphs meandering off to other subjects I hadn’t even planned on talking about.
As for the event itself, I was hoping to get a lead from the Contact Theatre, who I have a tenuous link with through one of my supervisors for this project; however, so far as I know that hasn’t lead to any kind of response. It might take a more direct approach if nothing comes along soon. I’ve toyed with contacting Islington Mill in Salford as well, and at this rate I might need to take that idea more seriously. As it happens, I had a perfect event lined up, and had it prepared to turn up and do my thing, but sadly it fell through…
The event was Temporary Autonomous Art Manchester 2010, or TAA. The premise is that they keep the venue a secret until the first day of the event, when they reveal which abandoned space (a warehouse or similar I’m guessing) in Manchester the event will be at. They then make the building safe to enter and invite people in for the next few days to contribute art, furniture and basically anything they want, in order to create this organic, interactive space. There are also performances such as poetry readings, independent film showings, fashion shows and a cabaret scheduled for the evenings.
Perfect, I thought! I sent an email to the organisers to ask more about it and make sure what I wanted to do was OK with them, but I was pretty sure it was anyway, and was just hoping to show up and get on with it. I came up with a system to get people to take part, wrote out posters and leaflets to explain it so I could pass them around or put them up on walls in the building, and set up a site and even a Facebook page where all this lovely UGC was to be collected.
Bad news. Less than a week before the first day of the event (which would have been this Wednesday), the event was mysteriously and abruptly cancelled. No real reason that I know of has been given for it, but I’m guessing it’s probably to do with their proposed venue or some such issue. I suppose it’s just the nature of planning an event that is so “under the radar” in a way. I’m really disappointed that I didn’t get to go and apply my plan to it, to see what results I might get out of it. It was the perfect setting for it in some ways. Sharing was encouraged, so unlikely to face copyright issues; The kind of artistic, open minded crowd likely to be willing participants; Open, light space for good photos and videos; No real organisation with the people in charge necessary. But it’s a lost cause now.
On the plus side, I learned a few things in preparing to go to TAA. I had decided earlier that people could use either one of Qik, UStream or Bambuser to stream live video, and these would be posted to Tumblr. However, in trying to simplify the process for people new to this whole concept, I opted to simply instruct people to use Qik, since it is the simplest both to use and to download/install from a phone. I also needed a simple way for people to share their content with me, or my site.
After all my peeves earlier in the year with Posterous, it ended up being a great solution to this problem. Not only could I email my own updates, be it text, video or photo, but I could set it so that anyone could email in these contributions to my Posterous page. The one snag is that I have to moderate each post that is emailed from other people. Aside from this meaning it’s not an automated process, it doesn’t take too much effort to do on a small scale, which is what I was expecting from a first run at this project. Posterous also supports embedding flash, so all these streams could have been posted on there too, like with Tumblr.
So I set up a page for people at TAA to visit, hopefully at the event from their phones, located here. I made a poster and leaflet with a short summary of the kind of thing involved in the project, along with a link, encouraging people to visit it then and there (and even included a QR Code link to the page). I had such high hopes… But at least now I know, when push came to shove and I had to have a plan at short notice, what platforms came down to being the easiest and most flexible at the end of the day.
Hopefully this frame work will stand up to other events, when I find them… but I reeeeally wanted it to be TAA, gosh-darn-it! Ho hum, moving on…