The E!=E event (Sigma not Sigma – or, the sum of everything is not equal to the sum of everything) was the bDAT second-year work showcase, instigated and lead by myself and Pete Hotchkin. The event was part of the bDAT module IDAT204, which allowed users to explore ‘spaces’ with technology, augmenting experiences and locations to manipulate the way the user acted within their defined space.
The IDAT204 module Space/Augmented Reality project was originally established by Chris Speed as a module to aide students in their ability to conceptualize space, both physically and regarding what other data could possibly exist there. For the 2006/7 stage two student, Chris proposed another option to us. We could either take the standard project brief of working in one location, or a small group of students could offer to turn the module into an event, and run the final presentation day as a show.
Needless to say, Pete and I always like to throw ourselves in the deep end, so immediately put our hand ups for the task. Much like when we worked on the Organism project together, we suddenly realized we had a week less than everyone else once again, as we would need everything established and in place for the event at least a week before it occurred to ensure nothing would go awry.
?!=? is the stage two event for artists enrolled in the BSc Digital Art and Technology (bDAT at iDAT) course at the University of Plymouth. The course is designed to give the studentsthe best of both a design course (with an emphasis on theory work) through to the more practical based side of coding and working with the latest technologies available.
This event has been designed as a showcase for some of these artists to show off what they can do. They have all been given six weeks and a named area on campus to work with, to produce an installation or piece that causes the user to reflect, to think differently about the way they see the space they are in.
This year there has been a big emphasis on locative media including Shotcodes and GPS technology. This mix of projects has lead to some amazing work being produced, all of which will be showcased around the campus on 08.03.2007. Everyone is invited to come and view the work on show.
When it comes to working together, Pete and I get along famously. Sadly, we never realize when to draw the line when it comes to creating a workload for ourselves. Needless to say, we only created so much for ourselves to do because we loved the IDAT204 project briefs and really wanted to excel in these areas, as we had so much control over what we could.
We decided as soon as we knew we were managing the event that to raise any awareness in the community what so ever we would have to have a viral campaign kick off at least 3 weeks before the presentation day. We also knew we were going to have to unify the event under a name, and give it a clear branding to establish the event’s presence in peoples minds – not your typical event, we really want to keep the branding as close to the ideals of the brief as possible. Hence E!=E was combined with the shotcode logo (we hijacked it as our event logo due to its popularity among students projects).
To get as much publicity across campus as possible, Pete and I decided to get the event information across as much of campus as possible. This required using almost every single contact we had on campus, begging, borrowing, leaving IOU’s and being royal pains until we had our cross media campaign established.
Physically, Pete and I created almost 300 3cm pin badges which were distributed in night clubs for free, which everyone automatically put on. We hijacked the Universities Plasmas screen across campus and in the students union with a rotating shot code symbol on one side and event information on the other. The students union also published a weekly news letter to all students, distributed in the SU and left on tables in the halls of residence – luckily I knew the editor and we had 2 weeks of full page shotcodes prior to P-day to generate interest. On the day of the event, Pete and I had also created six t-shirts for bDAT first years to wear to assist on the event and also browser campus trying to blue-jack people phones to send them our mobile JPG event timetable.
Non-physically, Pete and I created wallpapers for all of the desktops across campus. Luckily, as we’re part of the School of Computing, Communications and Electronics, we had contacts in the right offices which centrally controlled the appearance of all of the machines, which every user on campus saw when they signed on to a University machine. We also created a JPG timetable which was disseminated across campus by blue-jacking peoples mobile devices.
On the day of the presentation, the University Press Office had gotten wind of the massive campaign under way, and managed to get Chris Speed onto BBC Radio Devon that morning to discuss the event and it’s importance. The event it appeared was much more wide ranging that we had anticipated, and I was required to present the event in front of 3 college which had turned up from around the county. We had expected some people to turn up, so had set up 3 dedicated iMacs for installing the shotcode software, essential to many projects on the day, to be installed on users phones. We lead the groups around the various areas on the campus and the day went off an absolute treat. Chris Speed and other lecturers were very impressed with the effort and organization Pete and I had put into the day.
Like all events, Pete and I decided that there should be a definitive conclusion to the day, which meant we had to organize an after party for everyone who had participated and attended the event. We were able to book a large room above a well known bar near campus, where some participants had arranged Digital Art games for attendees. Combined with lots of alcohol, the evening event was the perfect end to a very tough six weeks.
Pete and I were awarded 80% for this project by the IDAT204 moderators. An obscenely high mark, which we were extremely appreciative of. Pete and I exceeded all of our lecturers expectations and created a whole new ball game for years beneath us, as Chris dictated the event should become a yearly showcase for students work, potentially expanding to include final year projects, too. Sorry guys, we didn’t know what we were starting.