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Excuse and Entitlement: the affordances of interface, playfulness and embracing errors

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Presentation in the session "Creative Geovisualisation – Creative Engagements with Geospatial Technologies"


Art project Colony is a group walking experience exploring what happens when navigational choices are influenced by a combination of self-preservation, swarming, spectacle, dual path error and legless wooden robots.

These robots—reliant on their human guardians for the ability to traverse the city—are animated in response to the extent to which carrier waves from GPS satellites and smaller scale radio devices get blocked, deflected and reflected by the built environment. Framed by the questions “Can you see the sky?” and “Can you see your friends?”, the human-robot assemblages have to complete their journey balancing the sometimes opposing needs to keep the colony together whilst also managing differing tendencies towards claustrophilia and claustrophobia.

After the walk, participants gather together to collaboratively produce a mapping that combines their experiences and observations with the data recorded by the robots. In this after-space, conversations move onto wider themes such as our relationships to our mobile devices and expected behaviours in public space.

Artist Nikki Pugh is currently working on Colony via an Arts Council funded residency at the Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol, in collaboration with Tarim from Media Playgrounds. Throughout the project's decade-long development, an iterative mode of working with prototyping and user-testing at its core has allowed for investigations into the differing affordances of interfaces and their effects on our interactions. In this session Nikki will highlight some of the observations and learning that have emerged from the journey so far.

Event (Conference)

TitleRGS-IBG Annual International Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Degree of recognitionInternational event