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2009: new content, new technologies

Yesterday’s Scottish paper The Herald announced the first ‘reveal’ on 4iP’s first major project in Scotland, with independent interactive designers ISO. Central Station is a place to share your art and find new talent, be mentored by some of the art world’s best names and be entertained by and engaged in the making of a web fiction. The action starts this April.

Edd McCracken’s Central Station concentrates mostly on the web fiction, to be filmed in and around Glasgow School of Art, one of many partners in the project.

But far from being “telly on the web”, something 4iP’s not interested in, the web fiction elements will in themselves reflect the art, artists and techniques being talked about by communities of artists aggregated in and around Central Station; they will be “of the medium”.

When I saw Stuart Cosgrove previewing the piece a few months ago in Glasgow, it was part interactive teen drama (think art-world’s Kate Modern); part social network (think ArtReview online); part competition; part new art prize (think online Turner Prize); and part signposting service. Amateur artists aspiring and those already making moves in art schools around the country will find a place where they can share their artwork, with the chance to win regular prizes that, really, money cannot buy. The final award will be a major cash art prize, possibly the world’s biggest for social media creativity.

b.TWEEN have just announced the winner of their 2008 Mapping Creativity Competition, which aimed to find an interactive project that utilised Manchester’s collective creativity. ARC SPACE, a creative and ethical exchange powered by localised online social networking now has £25,000 to further develop.

For more cultural sector relevant content, check out the pitches of the other finalists: Julian Hartley’s Community as Curator and Frankie Roberto’s Great Manachester Cultural Cookoff.

And so to my 2009 predictions!

I think we’ll be seeing a lot more discussion and uptake of cloud computing – a common topic on technology sites. The cloud metaphor is appealing, though what it exactly means in most people’s minds is still somewhat unsettled. In a technological sense, cloud computing refers to a service-view of computing, where technical details are largely hidden from end users. Which means, it is driven by financial considerations, as companies can extend their infrastructure without heavy investments in personnel or technology.
I’m more interested in the impact of cloud computing. How will my communication and information processing habits change when I don’t need to confine myself to a particular computer? What types of software do I need when I don’t want to be tied to a particular laptop? I’ve decided to embrace the cloud and will try this year to move to device neutral computing…where I have access to what I need as long as I have an internet connection.

I also think there’ll be a move towards more 3D technologies in the living room. 3D virtual reality worlds like Second Life can already  be experienced on 2D screens, but what about full put-your-special-glasses-on kinaesthetic experience of 3D? A number of 3D product announcements are expected at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, the biggest electronics trade fair of the year, with video game devices expected to be among the first to find their way into the hands of consumers. However, with Hollywood yet to agree a common standard for 3D, it could be a while before favourite films and games go 3D. Watch this space – with your 3D goggles on!