Last Friday Fiasco went to see Fred Deakin, formally from Airside Studios, speak about ‘Interactive Spaces’. Always looking to add an extra layer of engagement in his projects, Deakin’s talk followed on seamlessly from our previous post about Experience Culture.
Barely touching on his work at the internationally acclaimed Airside, Deakin gave an unexpected context to his current interactive work which mostly began in his creation of club nights in Edinburgh. Club nights Misery and Fury had a unique, characterful approach that treated the “audience [as] the stars”. Misery for example, actively aimed at being the worst of it’s kind, featuring a wheel of fortune that chose genres for music (for better or for worse). In doing so, Deakin spoke of how suffering through unpopular music choices created a chance for unexpected collective experience, those who stuck through it enjoyed the rest more.
Airside were not afraid to wait to put things into practice personally before approaching clients with similar ideas. Their project Meeghoteph, is a great example: A virtual alien god who made appearances at the Big Chill & the V&A Museum. What this video of Meeghoteph doesn’t show you is how he was fully controlled by a puppeteer to have engaging, improvised and mysterious conversations with festival goers. People opened up to him and he even helped a young boy open up to his parents about a bullying problem. Most of Deakin’s work has a layer of mystery and illusion which is inviting and exciting.
“The digital revolution has reduced the depth of engagement with music” claimed Deakin, which was the kind of belief that inspired many of the activities of Lemon Jelly. From competitions at live gigs even “through the Lemon Jelly packaging, I tried to turn the product into an experience.”
Finally, with his show “Electricity Comes From Other Planets” at La Gaite Lyrique in Paris, Deakin showed how all interactive experiences need to find a magical balance between holding the audiences hand and letting them work things out for themselves. This is a balance that we are aiming for in all of our work at Fiasco, particularly as we begin to step into app design and design more for the web. If you can do this, he says, “they’ll love you forever.”