http://www.wzb.eu/sites/default/files/u30/researchreport.pdfold.tillt.se/download/AIRIS_pdf/IMIT_REPORT_AIRIS.pdfARTS COUNCIL ENGLANDInteracts program( “report_management_ artistic_ interventions”/ Staines)Between the end of 2005 and the end of 2007, Interact placed 29artists in 16 hostorganisations mainly in England but also abroad (India,Thailand) for periods rangingfrom 3 months to 18 months. The programme has not providednew placements sinceThe Arts Council England‟s role was to support and fund thewhole process, conductresearch on it and disseminate results. Project managers (usuallyfrom arts-based insti104tutions) were appointed for each placement to perform the roleof intermediaries.The underlying idea is that artists are often inspired bynew environments and by exposure to different social andeconomic contexts.Their presence even on a temporary basiswithin industry and research contexts can have aninspirational effect enabling exchange of valuable knowledgeand skills between peopleand over the long term between different sectors of society.
Hazel Grain + Hewlett-Packard Labs Bristol + Watershed(2006)HP Labs Bristol (www.hpl.hp.com/bristol/) is the exploratoryand advanced researchgroup in HP. As Hewlett-Packard‟s central researchorganisation, HP Labs‟ aim is toinvent for the companys future, delivering breakthroughtechnologies and technologyadvancements that provide a competitive advantage for HP, andto create112business opportunities that go beyond HP‟s current strategies.HP Labs also tacklescomplex challenges facing its customers and society over thenext decade, whilepushing the frontiers of basic science.Opened in 1982, Watershed (www.watershed.co.uk/) isBritain’s first media centre and Bristol’s main arts cinema.With an established brand and strong demand, Watershedpromotes creativity, innovation and inclusion from cultural,commercial and community sectors.It acts as a facilitator and catalyst within the creativeindustries, forging innovative partnerships to advancecreativity in new technologies.Since 1999, Watershed/HP Labs began a partnership and werethe founding members of the Bristol Creative TechnologyNetwork.Hazel Grain is a filmmaker who has concentrated over thepast few years on very short
content for web and mobile consumption, including viralmarketing and music promos.Hazel has also worked as an actress for the Natural TheatreCompany of Bath,performing “guerrilla” style street theatre all over the world.The objective for HP Labs on the six-month residence was toget a new perspective on mobile video and to explore whetherthe placement‟s freedom would have some effecton their researchers‟ approach. Hazel‟s objective was to collaborate with HPresearchers around video on mobile devices, ending up focusingon alternative reality games that use interactive narrativeacross many different platforms to tell a story.Hazel explained,“It is a narrative that is followed online and in order to getthrough to the next bit ofthe story you have to crack very difficult puzzles and findembedded clues. The characters have their own websites and blogs, includingvideo and webcam. The companies involved have their ownwebsites.”With extra support from HP Labs, Watershed and other funders,in January 2007 Hazel moved into Watershed and launchedMeiGeist, an eight-week ARG created from theresearch undertaken as part of the residency (six months in2006).Thirty thousand people around the world took part in the game,which lasted eight weeks. An overviewof the game can be found at licorice-media.com/Meigeist.html
From the perspective of thecompany, Kenton O‟Hara reported that:“Bringing together the arts, technology and social scienceshas given us an opportunityto explore how emerging and online and mobilecommunication technologiescan be used to create engaging new experiences with thetechnologies outsidetheir original purpose.The work has been inspirational and thought-provoking for usand its influence will extend further than the current project.”The success and learning around Hazel‟s placement has been akey in the development of the iShed proposition: (a new venture to initiate, enable and support cross-sectorcollaborations and creative technology projects:www.ished.net/).(http://www.dshed.net/sites/diffraction/placement.html)In January 2007, Hazel moved into an office in Watershed andlaunched MeiGeist, an Alternative Reality Game created fromthe research undertaken as part of the residency. Blendingfiction with reality by telling its story across different mediaincluding websites, text message, live events and email,30,000 people around the world took part in the game whichlasted eight weeks.Hazel (described by The Simpson‟s creator Matt Groening as „afunny filmmaking genius‟) describes the concept:
"Playing Meigeist means you follow a really entertaining storywith great characters, very much set in the real world with afew sci-fi additions. You won‟t have to pretend you‟re a wizardor open a virtual bank account in somewhere called Zordax oranything. There’s loads of separate bits of video, puzzles andwebsites you can enjoy but of course it’s a lot moresatisfying if you do the detective work and discover thewhole story from beginning to end. What you will be able to dowith Meigeist is have a go without fear of it being totallybeyond you and you‟ll really feel you‟re part of somethingcool."Referred to as „the funniest game of all time!” and “the ARGevent of the year!", reviews by players of the game are availableat the ARG forum. A player-created wiki documented the storyas in unfolded at www.meigeist.com.