Saturday, 30 November 2013

#StoryMooc 6 - Location Based Storytelling

This week was about location based storytelling. It was another fantastic week of subject matter. We learnt about Secret City, an interactive game/story/puzzle that takes place in real places in Berlin and which you follow via your mobile device. I have heard other examples of this before, such as Penguin's "We Tell Stories" from a few years ago, or Secret History which I talk abut below. As well as the story telling possibilities, think how good it is for your fitness walking around the streets reading stories like this!

I really liked the way they filmed the material outside on the streets of Berlin too. Both things made me think a lot about the possibilities firstly in a MOOC, and also secondly in storytelling - there are some incredible opportunities with technology and interactive media. I suppose the key thing is to make them work together without the story drifting away to nothing or the audience losing interest. A course member, John Love. had posted last week about a Google app called Google Tour Builder which lets you create a tour in Google Maps. As John says there is great potential for, "using a map or geographic structure as the framework for telling a story..."

The possibilities of location based storytelling left me excited. As soon as we got our creative task I had ideas popping in my head. I jotted them down on a sketchy sheet above (the ones by fellow course member Melanie Voß are miles better!), then I took a walk up the Royal Mile, and down to the Mound where the Christmas Markets currently are. I nipped into the National Art Gallery for a browse and voila I had my idea for a story. This week I let my friend Rudi Peters write it for me:
Finally. I want to give a nod to Gauwain van Kooten Niekerk for an idea I took from his story. Gauwain used Google Street View in his story this week, and I borrowed the idea for mine. It needed something to kick it off and I thought Gauwain's idea was great. Gauwain is from Utrecht and has been an active participant in this MOOC. I've enjoyed reading his blog which you can find below. I've also included some links to some other of the story/games mentioned in this week's topic

Gauwain van Kooten Niekerk
Secret City Berlin -
Can You See Me Now?
Ingress where city statues and landmarks come to life

And finally....what if you could guide Odysseus round the world now?

"...every time you touch a book, open it, talk about it or read it you are interacting with can explore your own adventure" So says Eli Horowitz  who has written a geo-location story in New York called "The Silent History". It's a good point. What are the implications of this? Could you use location based storytelling to explore existing novels for example? To make them "infinitely expandable" as Eli puts it? Could you imagine if the story of Dracula did not end on page 283 of the book, but carried on here and now in our day? And that you yourself could unpick the story like Jonathan Harker through an app or GPS? Or what about Phileas Fogg or Odysseus? Or how about students have to go outside and search for clues to reveal a famous local historical figure?

To listen to Eli talk about his geo-location story, there is a 10 minute interview here. You can skip to the 29:12 minute mark

PS - it was inspiring to see the range of participants in the MOOC as kindly tweeted by the course leaders this week. Well done to the team in Potsdam for creating such an inspiring and engaging course!

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