Dragons in Berlin... in pictures

All the kit set up and ready to go out with the players

The set up in the room for Dragons with the hospital beds

The projection in the auditorium at Hau2 Theatre

Robin at the table in the TV tower restaurant (we liked the TV tower!)

Frank in the TV tower

The TV tower

Dragons went to Berlin in October 2006. Most of the BLOG has been kept on our AI BLOG but we thought we'd update the pics on here to keep our Dragons tour up to date.


End of the journey

I am standing in Singapore airport waiting to board the plane and thought I would add some comments to draw a line on this wonderful journey we have had. Singapore is a very interesting, amazingly modern, in some ways futuristic place.

Last night we saw the modern face of the wealth of the island, the vastness of it's metropolis (from the 71st floor bar), the contrasts of all the asian cultures and then returning to our hotel, prostitution and the controlled scruffyness of Geylang Road. The budget hotel still had aircon and internet access of course.

Indonesia was paradise, in the dream holiday sense, coconut palms, wooden chalets, clear sea... the resort was like a tropical center parcs, and it was a shame we didn't have time to visit proper Indonesia, the evening in the spookiest village centred around shopping for visiting tourists was strange but the place smelt of jasmine, we were entertained by an indonesian band playing requests and ate the most amazing food.

It was all worth my early morning swim, alone on the beach at 7.30 am, watching the sun rise (i got the time wrong as Indonesia is an hour behind Singapore!) and then the most amazing breakfast of pancakes, egg, hash browns, papaya and those small bananas you also get in India.

Day 10: Millionaire views and sad farwells

Today was our last day in Singapore. We woke up in Indonesia and caught the ferry back into Singapore. We then caught a cab to Geylang the red light district where we found a budget hotel for our final night (paying by the night, not the hour!).

We then met up with the other artists for a final farewell after clearing everything out of the gallery. Fried rice by the river and some boutique shopping for the ladies.

We finished off our stay with a drink on the 70th floor of a hotel with amazing views of the city. Where we acted like the international jetset for the length of one very expensive drink.

Then finally we all said goodbye, very sad. But we all said we would stay in touch and I hope we will.

(Apologies for the picture quality I was little drunk, you understand)

Day 9: Never get off the boat

Today we had our first porper day off. So it was time to get in to the tropical way of life. So we caught a ferry to Indonesia to the island of Bintan 45 minutes away.

We didn't arrive on the island until 2pm and were then quickly whisked off to the nearest holiday resort. As with everything that is connected to Singapore everything has to be spotless so as not to let the residents of Singapore (even when on holdiay ) see anything remotely scruffy or real world. It was a little like the film Westworld where they appear to be cleaning up the world while you sleep.

I had the best food in Bintan: curried fish head, sounds weird tastes great.


Day 8: Shopping day

Today we decided to explore and shop and visit a design festival happening at another venue.

We went to China town, after breakfast and set up at the gallery. It's busy and bustling and we bought stuff. I also had a neck massage to lessen the knots caused by bad posture at the computer, which also managed to stop the sickness I have been feeling for the last couple of days.

We then went off to the design festival which was quite light relief after the multimedia conference. A mixture of urban design, fashion, toys and some interactive art. It was all very aesthetically interesting and some really nice stuff.

We then returned to the hotel for a much needed swim in the pool, reading and relaxing and tonight we are off to the Night Safari!! I am not so sure about this... but no doubt it will be fun, the artists who are left after the conference are all going with Wolfgang the dean of the art school who has been a great guide too, and Capra is coming along. We are at the gallery now having chatted to some people about the project and Capra is off doing a walk - that we can show on the monitor tomorrow.

It's been a lovely day and a relief that I only had a day feeling ropey! We are off to an Indonesian island with white sand beaches tomorrow for a much needed break. We are not sure if we can keep blogging there - or how remote it is.

Day 7: Last Day of the Conference

Today Rachel was feeling a little ill. So she stayed in the gallery and gave some people an opportunity to play the game.
We have had about 10 people so far play it, and feed back seems positive. Unfortunately we had a massive tropical storm mid afternoon so running around outdoors was not a popular choice for most gallery visitors.

I went back to the conference for a few sessions about streaming media on mobile devices, but I soon lost interest after all the equations and algorythms were listed and I was drowned in a deluge of computer science.

I ducked out early, my head was fried with technical data and went for a wander. Got lost but ended up having great fish and chips.

In the evening we went out on Orchard Road for food and drinks. Rachel felt ill and went home and Capra, Yu Chuen and I went for a drink in some posh bars and payed London prices. Still you've got to be seen to be seen.

I have lost my USB connector for my camera so there may not be anymore pictures on the blog. But let's see I might find it yet.



Day 6: Conference Banquet

Towards the end of yesterday we returned to the gallery to do a session enabling people to test the game. This created a more engaging experience for the audience as the exhibition is more docuementation than interactive. We had four people play the game, and with all our experiences with exhibiting, found that talking to people and discussing the ideas realy enabled the project to come to life. Several of the other exhibiting artists and some of the people attending the conference had a go and we had good feedback and they created very interesting maps of the Art School (La Salle).

I stayed at the conference for a session on affective computing which has helped alot with my MA dissertation, and I actually understood this, unfortunately I couldn't stay for the socially aware computing as I had to get to the gallery.

We then got a bus back to the Hilton and on to Sentosa island, the beach resort of Singapore that is like a Hollywood set with imported sand and extended areas, it is the most Southern tip of Asia. We sat at beautifully spread out tables on the beach eating wonderful food, and "free flow" beer as they call a free bar over here. Then the rain came and we were all soaked in seconds... everyone running into the hotel, luckily due to our previous experience me and Matt had an umbrella at hand.

The dessert and awards continued on the 5th floor of the hotel, we were treated like royalty. Chatted to more conference people and then returned later to the hotel tired, full of food and much free beer. I enjoyed a chat about British music and the drum and bass scene with the Japanese guy who has made the really cool interactive dinner table, it seems Psychadelic Trance is out this year in Japan but house and drum and bass is popular, although women don't tend to go to Drum and Bass nights... We are really keen to go to Tokyo now and have really enjoyed spending time with the Japanese artists here, as well as Yu Chein, Jason (I can't spell his Chinese name) and James from Taiwan. Hopefully future collaborations, exchanges etc... will be possible.


Day 6: Walking down Orchard Road

Last night we were so tired from the heat (Our first full sunny day) and the hard brain work of listening to the proper technical guys discussing the things that make what we create work. The architectures, modules, nodes and streams... it was really interesting for us, but we often only just about understood it until the demo came on, and then suddenly we could see what it looked like.

The evening ended with an Indian curry and a beer at the hawkers stalls next to the hotel and an early night.

Today was a slow start, it was good to finally get a proper nights sleep. We arrived at the Hilton in time for the second session. I decided to go searching dragons on the busy Orchard Road. Matt attempted a session on the multimedia community and then settled for a the interactive art program session that was a bit easier on the head.

I wandered down Orchard Road after taking some time getting a GPS fix, the tall buildings and much needed shade from the trees caused some confusion with the GPS, sattelites bouncing from sky scraper hotel to hotel, the general direction was fixed but in the virtual world it looked like I was bouncing off walls.

I got very hot by the end of the 20minutes and so treated myself to a taxi back. I am still excited by the taxi drawing up at the Hilton and a porter opening the door for me! Having a celebrity fantasy... and I returned to the conference. We are now off to see what lunch otpions are being offered up by the Hilton buffet.

Day 5: First Day of the Conference

Today after a sweaty walk with the dragons kit (which was giving me erratic heart rate data because the sensor kept slipping) we came to the conference.
An interesting experience, its very technical some of the presentations are very high level. It was difficult to understand all the talk of algorythms and codecs.

But in the evening we had the chance to discuss with the developers on a one to one basis in a poster session. They would put there work up on a board and we could wonder round and ask about their ideas. I managed to ask for a non-technical explanation which in some cases was enlightening and baffling in others. I think all of us artists managed to baffle some of the technologists as well.

We also met up with Capra from MRL in Nottingham and had a chat about implementing dragons in Nottingham from a luxury room in the Hilton Singapore - very jetset.
He cleared up some of the problems we had experienced with GPS. Basically it takes upto half an hour to get an initial fix in an unfamiliar area. If only I'd known earlier when I was contemplating throwing the PDA out of my hotel window.


Day 4: Successful walk

Today we did a test walk which worked perfectly. We have finally sorted out all the problems with the GPS. We needed to stand in an open space for a long period of time for the GPS (15 mins) to get a good initial fix. Once that happened everyhitng seems ot be working well.

We walked along the canal in the midday sun. Fools! We came back pouring with sweat and Rachel who was doing the test managed to prematurely end the game by getting snake fear in a patch of grass. Which made her heart rate rocket.

Anyway must make ourselves look beautiful for the press launch tonight.

Day 3: Artists meal

In the evening we were all taken on a boat to have a meal on a remote island Pulau Ubin. Where we were treated to a feast of sea food: Black Pepper crab, chilli prawns and fish which have no name in english; and the mosquitos were treated to a dish of exotic human flesh. Everybody has bites to scratch this morning. Beautiful spot to sit back relax and drink some beers.

Some of us were nearly left on the island after the chinese fisherman who was taking us back got a bit vexed with the numbers and said he would have to come back for the rest. We waited for a half an hour wondering if we might be left on the island for the night. I know it's a little cliched but it felt very Apocalypse Now (the top picture says it all).

Day 3: First day of exhibition

Everything is going well despite some problems getting GPS fixes. We have managed to create some journeys with the equipment and added them to the exhibition. On saturday day night all the power on one side of the gallery went out ( the other side from us). Some of the gallery staff where in the gallery till 5am fixing it. But there is a lot of interesting work with a real international feel.


Day 2: Set up

Today has involved much battling with the GPS in the rain (see image)... we have had difficulties getting a GPS fix, which we finally discovered was caused by forgetting to change the date and time on the PDA, the technical hitches as ever are something small and obvious (once you find the solution!)

The game involves much walking around Singapore, after being caught in a downpour 2 minutes away from the gallery, with all our equipment getting soaked we have now learnt to carry an umbrella at all times, it turns out it is the rainy season here, and the switch from sun to torrential rain is very fast. Luckily the equipment is ok.

Now the GPS is working we can definitely map an area of Singapore each day and replay it on the screen in the gallery, it will be looped throughout the day. Robin has done a great job of getting the interface working for us in time and it all looks good. We now have to map out our journeys around the city, we hope to map from the gallery (on the East Coast) to the conference, at the Hilton on Orchard Road.

We still haven't had a chance to jump in the pool at the hotel, but we have been eating well (apart from a noodle dish I ate that had Pork in it... a bit shocking for my vegetarian stomach, I am now on constant pork and rain alert!) and have found a local outdoor foodplace that serves beer until late... Hopefully now everything is working we can begin to relax.