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Research group overview

Story Networks

Principal investigator: Glorianna Davenport

Imagine the stories we would tell, if we could construct video movies as easily and playfully as we now use spoken language. The Story Networks group explores storymaking principles and technologies that enhance cinematic story creation and sharing as activities of intelligent play and seeks to discover the empowering and framing constraints of designing these experiences for digital delivery over emerging networks in contemporary social contexts. Research complements, informs and is informed by research on Media Fabrics at the Interactive Cinema group at the MIT Media Lab.


Context-aware, sensible cinema
Story Networks Group, Glorianna Davenport
Broadband wireless networks, coupled with hand held computers and appropriate sensing technologies provide new channels for the delivery of mobile cinema and "just-in-time" context-aware sensible stories. This research is broadly focused on emerging sensing technologies, network configurations, content structures, story engines and construction methodologies. In collaboration with work on Media Fabrics at MIT Media Lab.

Hopstory v.2
Valentina Nisi, Sean Flanagan, Glorianna Davenport, Mads Haahr (Trinity College Dublin)
HOPSTORY, a multiple-perspective cinematic story set in the 1930s in the Guinness Hop store of Dublin, recounts a day in the life of four of the brewery hop store as experienced by four fictional characters. Story fragments are distributed in space and time in accordance with the action and spatial point of view of each character. Hop store cat sculptures serve as portals to the story world, providing site and time specific scenes to audience members as they pass by. In Hopstory v.2 this interaction with the audience occurs using Bluetooth enabled mobile clients instead of iButtons that were used in v.1. The project is novel in that the peripatetic audience edits individual renditions of the story as they move through the space; the edited cinematic experience is enjoyed at the end of a session.

Interactive Portrait of the Liberties
Valentina Nisi, Glorianna Davenport, Mads Haahr (Trinity College, Dublin)
This distributed portrait of place takes advantage of the modular, anecdotal and popular qualities of community tales. Inspired by Mairin Johnston's historical account of the neighborhood, location specific stories are been rendered using a range of media techniques for later replay at or near the represented location. In the future, the collection can be augmented by members of the local community. The location-sensitive story web serves as a prototype for delivery in PDA over the WAND network, a new 801.11 ad-hoc public network that will be available throughout the Liberties later this year and serves as a story prototype for the Carmen project currently under development by the Distributed Systems Group, Trinity College, Dublin

International workshop on creative media making and sharing
Cati Vaucelle, Glorianna Davenport
This workshop is designed to engage teenagers from around the world in digital media making using the 'textable movie' tool set. The workshop features a design cycle that begins with concept development and continues onto storyboarding, video production and editing; as it is realized, participants test and evaluate their video-stories using Textable Movie. The workshops global strategy focuses on fostering intercultural visual communication and play. One goal of the international program is to generate a cross-cultural study focused on the creative construction of media by teenagers.

Paul Nemirovsky, Cati Vaucelle, Glorianna Davenport
This online system allows children to integrate the activities of play and video editing into a never-ending process of mixing and subversion of each other's material. By encouraging playful collaboration, creation and exchange of unique media artifacts, the system allows us to better understand social motivation and engagement in media exchange for future networks. A collaboration with the MIT Media Lab's Interactive Cinema group.

Moving Pictures
Cati Vaucelle, Glorianna Davenport and Diana Africano (Umea Insitute of Design, Sweden)
Moving Pictures is a multi-user station that invites young users to create, explore, manipulate and share video content with others. A video station containing a set of two cameras, RFID tagged tokens, a screen and an interactive platform, enables a spontaneous and sociable approach to video creation, selection and sequencing. The station supports multiple input devices and group interaction, encouraging collaborative creation.

Cati Vaucelle, Sven Anderson, Katherine Moriwaki, Glorianna Davenport, Linda Doyle, Alison Wood
Designed for public space installation, this ambient "waiting" game establishes a symbiotic relationship between a transient audience, a waiting place, and a story engine that matches SMS inputs to image output. The mobile phone is used to expand the image database in addition to providing an SMS story interface. By incorporating culturally current messaging norms, the audience becomes an active collaborator, authoring a layered exploration of social familiarity and public space. This project represents a collaboration with the NTRG in Trinity College and was inspired by work begun under HEA funding for Sin Sceal Eile.

Sin Sceal Eile
Glorianna Davenport; Linda Doyle (Trinity College Dublin)
Sin Sceal Eile (That's Another Story) is a collaborative project in which we prototype public installations that engage the public in the discovery and creation of story. Technical objectives include fluid interaction of the public with the story and the interface modalities. Content objectives include incorporating venue relevance and potential for surprising reversals of story perspectives.

Stories for Remote Places: the Selkie story
Alison Wood, Glorianna Davenport
Stories are known by their power to draw humans from reality into worlds of fantasy that in turn extend and heighten our experience of the real world. In this project, we explore whether encoded dependencies between weather, physical location and story, can affect hikers so as to perceive and reflect more deeply on natural phenomenon (in this case, weather). Inspired by the original legend of the selkie or seal person ( as retold in People of the Sea by David Thomson and the film The Secret of Roan Inish directed by John Sayles), we realize this legend as a collection of narrated short video scenes (about a minute each in duration) for delivery on Nature Trailer (see above). In this first experiment, the intensity of character emotions is mapped to the intensity of the environment so that the selkie's behavior predictably changes with the wind velocity on location (as measured by sensors carried on the hiker's person) thus personalizing the story delivered to each individual hiker.

Textable Game
Cati Vaucelle, Glorianna Davenport, Vincent Le Bail
Textable Game extends the Textable Movie concept to the realm of video games. Designed to engage teenagers in cinematic storytelling, the software supports participants in building their own games, e.g. action games, exploration games, mystery games, using their own footage and sounds, and generating their own rules and scenarios.

Textable Movies
Cati Vaucelle, Glorianna Davenport, Vincent Le Bail, Tristan Jehan
Textable Movie is a graphical interface that allows storytellers to improvise a movie in real-time based on their text input. The system selects media segments based on text labels attributed by the creator or other commentators to a personally or collectively created audio and video database. As the user-teller types a story, media segments mapped to the words appear on the screen, connecting writers to their past experiences and inviting further story-telling. This improvisational approach to cinematic story creation enables tellers from different cultures to share perspectives and challenge each other's cultural beliefs.

Completed projects

Michael Lew, Cian Cullinan, Glorianna Davenport
A glove is used as a multi-track video sampler for a solo performer. A single actor can record up to 4 looped video tracks of himself at a touch of his finger while he is performing, controlling loop duration at frame accuracy.

Hopstory v.1
Valentina Nisi, Alison Wood, Glorianna Davenport, Linda Doyle (Trinity College Dublin)
HOPSTORY, a multiple-perspective cinematic story set in the 1930's in the Guinness Hop store of Dublin, recounts a day in the life of four of the brewery hop store as experienced by four fictional characters. In Hopstory v1, the audience interacted with the hopstore cats using iButton technology. I-buttons are a technology of Dallas Semiconductor. (for v2 see above)

Michael Lew, Glorianna Davenport
Live improvisational video performance transforms the editor into a performer while it requires just-in-time selection and manipulation of video shots and sequences in anticipation of streaming the video images to a large display. This project prototypes an expressive tangible and gestural instrument for two hands allowing performer to play video by using two finger-pointing devices, one on each hand, and two "scratch" turntables for precision mark up of in/out points. The control screen, designed such that it can become a visual element in the performance, features video thumbnails which group themselves using behaviors defined and determined by the performer.

Brendan Donovan, Alison Wood, Glorianna Davenport, Carol Strohecker
This project focuses on enhancing the hiker's experience of remote locations by providing time/distance decision making tools and cinematic stories that relate to current conditions encountered while traversing the terrain, in this case an island off the coast of West Cork, Ireland. The prototype incorporates data from sensors carried on the hiker's person and presents the hiker with a map, displayed on a hand-held iPaq client, that presents weather, time and place-related representations; this interface also indicates where movies will be experienced. External conditions along with the hiker decision about how to best explore the area determines which cinematic sequences are released as part of the hiking experience. Later, at a pub or at home, the hiker may be able to experience denser or higher quality cinematic experience.

Michael Lew, Glorianna Davenport
Using physical, graspable voodoo dolls, video viewers manipulate the emotions of the protagonists in this interactive sitcom. The work promotes the idea that a loop-based approach to video story construction can be used in interactive TV stories, which incorporate near-real-time video editing. This work won the new media award at the Montreal International Festival for New Cinema and New Media.

Tangible narrative objects
Jennica Falk, Glorianna Davenport
Sensor systems, wireless networks, hand-held computational devices invite exploration of tangible narrative objects. These objects can enhance role-play in distributed or local narratives. Live role play provide insight into design principles as in players of these games use physical props, costumes and background history to help them transform into their assigned game character.

World as Game Board
Jennica Falk, Glorianna Davenport
Computer games that are moved into the physical world, and with which players engage with tangible and networked artifacts.