Having toyed with the idea of spatial exploration for accessing archive material since the initial Pararchive meeting I attended in December, I pitched the idea to Arduino Manchester members at our last meeting to some positive responses. Initially, I thought this might involve handling objects or walking ‘through’ a story in a gallery space, but we’ve decided to be a little more ambitious…

We’re now considering a much larger area for exploration, opening the project up to the streets of Manchester itself. Inspired by pervasive games such as Blast Theory’s ‘Uncle Roy All Around You’, Atau Tanaka’s ‘Net Dérive’, and popular app/social platform ‘Foursquare’, we considered that physical exploration of archive material tied to Manchester could be accessible by travelling between different locations in the city.

Untold, lost, and hidden stories are a big part of what we want to explore. My personal interest is Manchester’s musical history (particularly jazz) and I’m fascinated by the venues in Manchester that aren’t there anymore – an idea also being explored by a Bokeh_Yeah! member – and the fact that I’ve unknowingly passed by many of them. REACT explored a similar concept in ‘Ghosts in the Garden’, allowing participants to explore a park’s hidden history through spatial exploration.

Whether we facilitate this using a physical ‘probing’ object, as with Ghosts In The Garden, is something I look forward to exploring. I personally pitched the idea of a wearable method, perhaps using a jacket or coat with sensors built-in (something akin to Dominic Wilcox’s ‘No Place Like Home’).

Vintage Radio

Image credit: Joe Haupt

Just this week, I’ve considered that an old portable radio might be a good interface for exploring old news and music broadcasts. It could alert users with radio ‘static’ when approaching an area of interest, requiring them to tune in and move closer to hear the broadcast clearly.

Right now, getting a firmer idea of the concept, theme, and delivery method is something we need to consider, but I’m happy that we’re all enthusiastic about the project!