Field – The City – Technical difficulties

After having a tutorial with Ingrid, it has occurred to me that perhaps my ideas for making an interactive piece that lights up and responds to a corresponding panel are probably slightly too ambitious. I didn’t really have any clear idea of how it would actually be made, as I do not know more than a basic level about programming and such, but I assumed it wouldn’t be too difficult with the help of the tutors. It seems that I was wrong, and that it is apparently a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, and Ingrid has tried to steer me back towards making a more standard object, but perhaps making it interactive online using QR codes? Again, I don’t really have more than a basic knowledge of QR codes and what is possible by using them.
Ingrid spoke about perhaps making a large scale chess game, where you carried pieces across post codes in town and then updated them which seemed like a great idea when initially, but the more I thought about it the more holes I found in the idea


  • Firstly, I don’t think chess (or in fact any other board game) lends itself to the idea of spontaneity. You start playing a game, you know the rules, and you commit to finishing it, and if I’m putting this out into the city for people to play with then they might not necessarily have the desire or time to play a game the whole way through, and if one person decides to drop out suddenly it could cause a lot of problems.
  • Secondly, QR codes require an internet connection and a smart phone, and while I know most people do have smart phones they might not have a constant internet connection, or even a QR scanner app on their phone, and I don’t like the idea of excluding people.
  • If the board of the game is going to be dictated by the post code grid of the area that we’re playing in, then that is quite a wide area of space. The likelihood is that I’m not going to be able to see the other people who are playing, and even if they have instructions/updates when scanning the QR code, there is no guarantee that unrelated people aren’t going to interfere with the objects inbetween turns. Also turned based play (which pretty much all board games are) is going to be difficult when people don’t have any way of being updated on when their turn has ended/begun other than updating the page over and over, and people are going to get bored while they are waiting.
  • I suppose the problem of people doing the wrong thing could be resolved by me playing only with people who I know, and then coordinating the whole game with my phone, but that really completely disregards the main concept behind the piece of providing something fun and interactive for people in the city. If I’m just going to make a game and play it with my friends, there isn’t really anything that relates it to the city, aside from the fact I’ve made it big and put it in the city.
  • Most board games involve some degree of strategy, (aside from maybe snakes and ladders, but that still has the turn taking issue and people not following the rules) but how are you supposed to play a strategy game when you cannot see all the other pieces on the board? I assume refreshing the QR code would take you to an updated version of the board, but that updated version depends on everyone else playing to also be regularly updating, and taking it in turns to move etc.
  • Is playing a game on a large scale really more fun? Is there really any relevence to the city if it isn’t even more fun or interactive than if I decided to make for example a normal sized chess set and placed it somewhere visible in the city for people to play? I’m not sure that the novelty is strong enough to call it a viable art piece.


So currently I am very stuck for ideas, I have ruled out anything with technology as I don’t have the knowledge and I don’t think the tutors have the time to teach me everything I’d need to know, but I have now ruled out the one main idea that has been suggested to me. I am pretty much back to square 1 of this project and it feels pretty daunting.


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