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  • 'Scratch' locative audio drama - report to BBC executives on trial at BBC FreeThinking 2008

Boyd Davis, Stephen, 2008, Monograph, 'Scratch' locative audio drama - report to BBC executives on trial at BBC FreeThinking 2008 Technical Report. Lansdown Centre for Electronic Arts, Middlesex University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract or Description:

‘Scratch’ investigates the use of physical space as a representation of narrative and dramatic structure. An audio-drama, it is a world-first in being location-sensitive without being tied to any particular place (preceding attempts by others have emphasised location-specific aspects of the genre). Developed in collaboration with and part-funded by BBC Radio Drama, it builds on research undertaken for ‘Dragons’ (output 4).

It uses pre-recorded audio on GPS-enabled mobile devices allowing sounds to be virtually attached to locations in an outdoor space. As participants move, they encounter scenes forming a coherent drama which behave differently if the same place is visited more than once. This translocational approach opens novel artistic possibilities exploited through team expertise in narrative, sound design and advanced interaction. It is also significant in the economics of broadcast media as a more viable proposition than the many experimental locative experiences which have been site-specific: this was of great interest to the BBC.

The public performance selected for BBC FreeThinking, 1-2 September 2008 in Liverpool as part of European Capital of Culture was reported in a co-authored 2009 conference presentation at ISEA, Belfast, 26-29 August 2009 and in a co-authored short chapter in Spierling and Szilas (eds.) Interactive Storytelling, Springer 2008.

Boyd Davis directed the project and devised and undertook the evaluation with 40 trial listeners, reporting to BBC executives (http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/1000/) for whom a second trial was also run in London in 2009. The evaluation used interview, video observation and a questionnaire combining an open question at the beginning with more specific questions later, avoiding channelling respondents' reactions immediately after the experience into issues which might not be uppermost in their minds, while also yielding data capable of rigorous analysis. The evaluation was to provide feedback to the makers of the drama and to guide policy at the BBC. [287]

Participants were recruited principally through the publicity for FreeThinking 2008 – mainly via the festival website. The average age of participants was 40. The gender of participants was 20 males, 17 females and 3 null returns.

The evaluation strategy was to combine an open question at the beginning with more specific questions later. In this way we avoided channeling respondents' initial opinions immediately after the experience into issues which might not be uppermost in their minds, while also yielding data capable of rigorous analysis. The purpose of the evaluation was to provide guidance for ourselves as the makers of the drama and to guide policy at the BBC on locative and other interactive media. The responses are analysed in the report.

Subjects: Other > Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G400 Computer Science > G440 Human-computer Interaction
Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
School or Centre: School of Architecture
Copyright Holders: Boyd Davis, Stephen, BBC, Lansdown Centre for Electronic Arts
Funders: BBC Radio Drama
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2016 13:57
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2016 13:57
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1624

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