Tom Chatfield, from the UK magazine Prospect talked about games, and how they ‘create value’ (Innovation engines: How electronic games generate value). It was interesting that in the context of this congress he immediately distance his talk from now popular genre of ‘serious games’; now was he talking about a video games industry in terms of the sold boxes and gained revenue. His talk was more focussed on a very different developments that emerge now thanks to the video games, and around them.
I like his example of the Guitar Hero, the game that was creatively abused (in Scotland if I remember) and became a platform for activist movement in the area of school education. Somewhat similar is the machinema industry, that uses games as a vehicles for content production and often distribution too (WoW is great example of that, up to and including The Guild phenomenon; but Tom very skillfully never mentioned WoW, valid but a bit overused by now an example).
Tom Steinberg, from MySociety presented a few cases of how modern digital solutions can impact political activism, and the very politics and governmental activities themselves. We all now how impactful can be Twitters,Faceboos, and YouTubes these days. Tom, however, thinks that it is again, rather a creative abuse of these tools, initially created for different purposes (social communication). According to Tom, this is all good, but to be really efficient, political activism should be equipped with more specialized tools, focussed applications that are in synch with information flows and decision-making practice.
One of his examples was FixMyStreet that not only allows for people to “report, view, or discuss local problems”, but automatically channel their complains (or compliments) to the right public bodies.
Adam Greenfield talked about connected cities: Reading the city, writing the city: Urban experience in a networked age. I listened to this story of him lat year, during the MindTrek, and many of the slides can be found in my set on Flickr, MindTrek’09. This time he added new dimensions to the plot (very much further toward the new re-writable city), and new examples too; I hope to find his presentation somewhere on the web, at some point.
Finally, Anab Jain, from Superflux. I spotted the agency earlier this year, via publication in the Wired magazine, but as we later discovered with Anab, we actually met first, albeit shortly, during the last year Lift’09 conference in Geneva. Anyway, this time it was again an excellent presentation, you can see all the slides on their blog: Designing for Indiaâ€™s Immaterial Urbanism. You could also see a short movie about one of the presented project, Yellow Chair Stories