Rider Spoke – Interactive Mobile Technology Bike Theatre Game at the Barbican!

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My friend Lucy was reviewing this. She’s a theatre critic. She invited me along for the ride.

And yes, that title is the shortest accurate description I could find. It’s not often you get something that presses Geek, Art and Theatre buttons all at the same time. Not to mention Cycling, Gaming, and London buttons.

You’ll see what it is by watching the video.

It’s inspired use of new technology – Blast Theory, the artists behind it, have created something really Of The Moment, that couldn’t have happened until right now – or at least not in such an effective way. The key ingredients are:
the Nokia N800 (released in January, the sister device to my N93) a wide screen portable computer with Wifi wireless internet access and GPS satellite positioning; and The Cloud, the new City-wide wifi network.

For the benefit of both non-geeks reading this, these are the things that allow us, the riders, to roam around London, for it to know exactly where we are, to connect with the home server and allow us to hear other people – even those recording their messages Right Now – and for it to tell us whether the messages they left are near or far from where we are.

If Blast Theory want to, they’ll be able to make a little map of all the hiding places, with people’s recordings on them (either as an installation, or online). They could even feed the GPS co-ordinates into something like Google Earth, so you could do a virtual walkthrough of the City and you could hear people’s messages, exactly where they left them.

So I thought it was all very cool and inspirational.

If only it’d been longer… 😉

I got back in the end, and they didn’t seem at all bothered – but I *was* half an hour late for dinner on the other side of town.

I totally recommend it. Especially if you stick reasonably close to the Barbican instead of cycling for miles through the City’s labyrinthine streets like me.
It’s on from 11th October to 21st October at the Barbican in London.
£10 if you rent a bike, £5 if you bring your own. How cheap is that? Given the average price of an average theatre show, I reckon they should be charging a lot more.

(PS – I saw yesterday that Google Earth have just started using the Geotag location information entered in Youtube videos so that you can see videos exactly where they were filmed. I’m geeky enough to always enter the Geotag info when uploading on YT, but I doubt most people do.)

Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

14 thoughts on “Rider Spoke – Interactive Mobile Technology Bike Theatre Game at the Barbican!

  1. Fantastic journey.

    Love your First Love message and the momentous shock of Cupid’s electrified arrow. Love the way the night creeps in too and you can’t find your way home. Perhaps they should integrate Sat Nav or at least a long ball of string.

    Presume you found your way back though. Or are they still one bike short of a theatre piece?

  2. whay fun is that, but it looks terrifying. I worked as a motorcycle courier in London for 6 months before being confronted with near death. Saw too many bicycle couriers come a-cropper. I would never ride a bike in the city. Concept is great though, somewhere safer.

  3. Loved the ending. How do manage such cliffhangers? This project made me wonder about the upcoming “argumented reality”. Although it’s scary it’s also going to be enormously wonderful.

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  6. They’re doing this in Edinburgh this year (2009) it looks exciting, though Edinburgh is so hilly, not sure if I’d be able to cycle up those hills 🙂

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