‘What is it with Woodstock?’

Enquiring minds speak volumes from the back of the car, and with pauses for reflection from the front come suggested answers from the rear. ‘Is it like Glastonbury?’

Cue the ‘answer a question with a question’ approach and ‘What’s Glastonbury, then?’

Which really got us thinking. What was it, and is it, about this Upstate festival from the summer of ‘69, which launches storytelling often with a different focus for everybody’s opinion asked?

With a heap of data and collections of information available about the festival, could we turn an interactive visualisation piece into a tool to build a story? And how about collaborating maker style to explore thinking and problem solving skills extending beyond an initial circuit design?

If the data pointed towards facts, opinions and answers what were the important questions to ask? Could a collaboration support that?

Step 1: Inspiration, patience and an array of ideas from Scott and the team at littleBits during an afternoon of tinkering in the city.  Constructing instruments and composing sounds of the sixties but what about aligning data facts through more sounds?

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Guitar tinkering with synth sounds

Step 2: Making and remaking through tinkering with materials to collectively form a circuit with the Touchboard.

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Create then install

Step 3: Refining the circuit to facilitate an interactive installation.

  • If one of the components was a guitar, how could it be designed to ‘pick up and play’ and launch a piece of music?
  • In essence could a fingerboard be created with paint and wire and ‘strummed’ to launch a sound file?
  • What would be the most logical sequence and should that be part of the design?
  • Clues to match the data with an artist or theme?

Electric paint and flexible wire created the backdrop for lots of debate, testing and finally a workable solution.

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Circuit design

Step 4: Testing times with lots of conferring to check out question theories for each piece of retrieved data:

  • 600
  • 50,000 and 500,000
  • 43
  • 9
  • 200
  • 3
  • 120
  • 2
  • 2
  • 32
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Data, sounds and questions?

Of course there are no sound clues here.  Yet.

Perhaps we’ll get more storytelling at the weekend’s Jam Packed event; it’s the final festival of the series.

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