I was invited to talk about my work to the students on the Digital London postgraduate module at the University of Westminster, by author and lecturer Rachel Lichtenstein.
I began the talk by looking at how the digital created new kinds of physical social and public space. My talk needed a starting point, so I traced the idea of ‘digital london’ back to Cyberia, which in 1994 was the UK’s (and possibly the world’s) first internet cafe. In 1995, my first short story was published in Elaine Palmer’s Technopagan anthology—which launched at Cyberia (where else?), which by then had moved to Golden Square). Shifting forward to the turn of the century I discussed my 2003 novel Foxy-T (Faber and Faber), which is set in the East End of London, in a fictional version of what was by then the globally ubiquitous ‘internet shop’. In this case an internet shop on Whitechapel’s Cannon Street Road, London E1.
I then presented three case studies of the following of my digital literature projects:
Ivy4evr — an interactive SMS drama for mobile phones with Blast Theory for Channel 4, broadcast in 2010.
Missorts — a permanent GPS-triggered soundwork for the city of Bristol produced by Situations for Bristol City Council, launched 2012. I covered this project in most detail as the Westminster students were currently developing their own GPS-triggered audio app. We looked at certain things that I had learned during the production and testing of the Missorts app, quirks of GPS coverage and location, aspects of interaction design that might help users learn to operate the app in situ, etc. etc.
Shackleton’s Man Goes South — my most recent novel, published by the Science Museum in 2013, using an innovative online and on-gallery digital publishing model.
I drew out and elaborated the following lessons or opportunities that had been learned during the making of these projects.
Lesson 1: Don’t make assumptions about your audience — research them.
Lesson 2: Think beyond the digital object itself.
Lesson 3: Don’t wait, collaborate!
This deck does not include my notes, but if you'd like me to come and give this or a similar talk at your institution, do please get in touch.
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