Sunday, 28 September 2008

Mediamatic at PICNIC 2008

Mediamatic is a project partner of PICNIC.
Excellent coders, designers and physical computers participate in this heavy duty camp to explore recent technologies, RFID, interaction design and social processes. The goal of the Camp is to realize multiple interactive installations, wearables and spaces for the visitors of PICNIC to play with.

I went to PICNIC a few days before it actually started. I was taking a walk with my friend to see how the place looks like. It was empty but the huge white dome (E-Art Dome) was already there. In a small room located near the Old Gas Factory a group of people was working hard. My friend introduced me to one of the ‘hackers’ so I had the chance to talk to an ‘insider’, Arjan Sherpenisse.

In order to participate to the Social RFID Games you needed to have an ikTag. With it you could start a running race, or test your alcohol intake or support one of the two DuckRace players etc.
Arjan explained to me how two of the projects work. One was the DuckRace: two players start their race cars with their tags. The race track is based on the personal profile and network of the players. Since it’s a social game, the audience could influence the race car with their ikTags.

Two other ‘mediamatics’ were outside carving some wood, building the platforms. Their work was similar to creating small architecture models. I was impressed that they were working with so much passion. ‘We didn’t sleep for a few days’ Arjan Scherpenisse confessed.
Thirty people from all over the world were there, in the small room, working day and night for the Mediamatic projects.

On Thursday, the second day of PICNIC I was back there. This time I was dissapointed that I couldn’t join the conferences and in fact I couldn’t enter anywhere. It would have been a nice experiment for me if I had at least an ikTag to play around.

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