We were delighted to visit the WOW! (World of Wonders) gallery since it opened earlier this year. It was great to catch up with The Wilson team and hear about all the positive interaction from under 5s and beyond. WOW! was a particularly exciting gallery for us to work on. Over twenty years experience allowed for our ideas to do with learning, play, games within a museum setting to come to a head with The Wilson curatorial team bravely agreeing with our suggestions to get rid of labels and allowing for many of the objects to form part of a new handling collection. More information on this project will follow.
Last month the team embarked upon a fantastic day of science-ing at the Observatory Science Centre in Hirstmonceux, East Sussex. Opening in 1958 after the decision to move from Greenwich in 1939 was on hold for for the war, it was in operation until 1990 before being taken over by the brilliant Science Projects who have opened it up as a science centre. Architect Brian O’Rorke’s 1950s building is now grade II listed and has some wonderful features, but seems surprisingly impractical for a, what needed to be, pitch- black night-time operation: multiple levels, no railings and a treacherous pond right in the middle of the site. Apparently numerous night observers (as they were called) ended up in there! We saw the Thompson and Yapp telescopes, refracting and reflecting respectively. Did lots of playing and learning via brilliant interactive exhibits including how horses see, how the Archimedes screw works, tornados and spectrums… The centre is highly recommended. Huge thank you to Steve Pizzey, Jo and Collin for looking after us. @observatory_sci .
We ran a very productive gamelab at Geneva’s Ecsite earlier this summer with fellow professionals enjoying playing our gravitational waves interactive that was designed and installed at the Hong Kong Space Museum. Director Kate Kneale also found time to give a talk on ‘Serious Games’ in the extremely large lecture hall. Already cogitating for next year in Copenhagen…
The Ancient Lives Gallery in Maidstone Museum is open! It was a challenge requiring creative dexterity to fit not one but two mighty civilisations into one confined space. We had a clear client brief to make it fun and had help from CUR8, the youth group who worked alongside the museum team, researching and devising some of the content for the gallery. The displays invite the visitor to ask questions and learn more about the modern scientific methods which have been used to unlock some of the ancient secrets held in the collection. It has been shortlisted for the Museum + Heritage awards – we are keeping our fingers crossed.
Despite being some way off, planning for the GameLab at Ecsite in Geneva later this year is well underway. The GameLab brings together game makers and people interested in unlocking the power of games in an informal space alongside the main conference. This year we are looking for Game Maker challenges so if you are attending and if you have a challenge for the team, send it over – we need a science topic, and any specifics such as location, visitor demographic, budget, timeframe. The challenge will be held as a daily workshop of game makers. What is Ecsite? https://www.ecsite.eu/ “Ecsite’s vision is to foster creativity and critical thinking in European society, emboldening citizens to engage with science.”
Our latest collaboration with the Science Centre in Singaporeis a giant three-dimensional Zoetrope. A 3D printed tower of meticulous models tells the story of the emergence of technology (sort of) and demonstrates the optical effects of animation. A great UK band that included Sebastian Burdon on figures, Whitewall Engineering on heavy metal and HKD conducting.
My introduction to working with Team HKD involved an initial transformation into a mutinous pirate aboard the Polaris. Along with my fellow pirates we were comfortably beat (on the time trial) by fellow team members who were concurrently excavating the tomb of Ramses III. This was a great way to meet new colleagues! Having worked up an appetite we then celebrated (or not) at nearby GB Pizza. Our escapes proved an excellent introduction to the sorts of problem solving and imagination required for the following two days, with a team made up of colleagues beyond the Margate studio from Spain, Italy and even as far afield as Norfolk. Together we tackled three galleries for a new Science Centre in Quanzhou that took us from Science & Technology, Space and Oceans. All in all, a fascinating first couple of days! — Mia Pollak Photo credit: The Escapement Margate
At HKD we love to play, we love to innovate, we love to learn – so we invented a festival to bring together people who agree that fun should be taken seriously. It’s a festival of play and games – it includes board games, VR, coding, drawing and lots of playing. Highlights included commissions from Chu and Genetic Moo. #RobotInvasion, Indie Zone, Look Mum No Computers and hundreds of games, talks, workshops – and extravagantly decorated candy floss. Thank you to everyone who came and played, talked, made things or worked the show.
It was great to be part of the Singapore Maker Faire Extravaganza at the Science Centre Singapore. Our very own HKD organised a feast of digital and game talent, taking GEEK to Singapore for the Maker Faire. The Highlights included: Genetic Moo‘s Microworld: Singapore A new commission ‘Not here. Not now’ from Trope Babbling Beasts by John Sear Space on Earth sideshows by Matheson Marcoult …and meeting Dale Dougherty (Mr Maker himself!) @dalepd What a team! Thanks to all the artists, makers and Science Centre staff who helped make it happen.
Join us for Margate Games Marine Studios, Marine Gardens, Main Sands Friday 4th August Our regular 1st Friday event will launch the event and will be a chance to MEET – the game makers who will be running their games on Saturday. MAKE – we are hoping you will work with us to make some new games for Margate PLAY – games new and old will be available to play Marine Studios, Margate, 18.30 – 20.30 Saturday 5th August A day of play and games inspired by the Stuart Brand and the New Games Foundation. Join Artist Game Makers George Buckenam* (Punch the Custard, Beasts of Balance), Milo Wladek**(The Van Dyck Vanishments, GEEK 2015), more friends and new games for a day of mayhem and fun. Other highlights will include, Margate Mates, and beta testing of ideas for new Margate games with artist Dan Thompson. You are all invited to come and play as part of the Margate Festival. Stuart Brand sent us this message when he heard what we have planned “Play Hard. Play Fair. Nobody Hurt” Marine Studios, Marine Gardens and Margate Main Sands. 11.00 – 5.00. *George is a game designer who has made games including Punch The Custard (it’s about punching custard) and Beasts of Balance (it’s about balancing beasts). If you want to help add more beasts to balance, there’s a Kickstarter.
7 July at 18.30 – 20.30 Marine Studios, Margate From building simple cell robots to add to a swarm and watching the patterns begin to build to more complex multi-functional robots which can be programmed to perform a quadrille or react to obstacles. Robot Evolution has been designed to invite everyone to have a go at building and understanding robots. Whether its programming, racing, decorating or soldering this suite of playful activities is aimed at encouraging everyone to be part of the revolution which is already changing our daily lives. Robot Evolution will be part of the Maker Faire and Conference in Singapore in 2017: here’s a chance to see it early and help the development of the workshop.
HKD director Kate Kneale has been busy organising the GameLab at Ecsite. New for 2017 was a two day pre-conference session making on-gallery games in the Natural History and Science Museum of the University of Porto. Attendees from Israel, Norway, Belgium,Columbia France and UK and beyond, shared their skills, enthusiasm and super powers to create three new Biodiversity games. The one thousand attendees to the Nocturne were invited to play Triple F – Fight, Flight or F? , Unlocking Biodiversity and Darwins Rabbits. Making site specific games for museums is really special. Kate sends a massive thank you to everyone who came and supported the pre-conference and GameLab during Ecsite – may your game making continue!
The HKD team are off on a research trip to hear ‘Around North‘ by Robert Jarvis at Pines Calyx as part of the Deal festival. Robert is a 1st Friday veteran, first showing at Marine Studios in 2010 with his ‘Entomophonix’ sound installation as part of Insect World. We look forward to hearing this piece – which interprets the rotation of the stars into a musical score.
The Ecsite Annual Conference is back and this time it’s in Porto. We can’t wait – Porto looks great. Kate is busy convening the GameLab. She seems to be playing how many great game makers can you fit in a GameLab? The GameLab is what it says on the tin – a place to play, test and develop games. Across the three days a mix of workshops, case studies and drop in events will cover topics from VR in museums to using role playing games to engage scientists and policy makers. Game makers from France, Poland, Norway, Israel and UK will be hosting sessions. And that’s not all! We are really excited to be running a two-day pre-conference session – two days of on-gallery game making in The Hall of Biodiversity – Ciência Viva Center, the brand new integration of the Natural History and Science Museum of the University of Porto.