RIK LANDER Narratives Installations Videos Day Job

In 1994 I saw an interactive CDROM called BLINDROM that was attached to Mediamatic magazine. It really inspired me. In those days the web was so slow CDROMS were the only way to do elaborate interactivity. My first web drama came out in 2001.

My latest work uses conversational AI to allow a huge number of possibilities for anyone interacting with the media. I am Echoborg is a piece of theatre, but I am also working on systems to help Type 2 Diabetes patients take control of their nutrition and lifestyle. There is a continuity from the experimentation in the installations and dramas to this more practical application of what I have learned about interactivity and participation.

In 1994 I saw an interactive CDROM called BLINDROM that was attached to Mediamatic magazine. It really inspired me. In those days the web was so slow CDROMS were the only way to do elaborate interactivity. My first web drama came out in 2001.

My latest work uses conversational AI to allow a huge number of possibilities for anyone interacting with the media. I am Echoborg is a piece of theatre, but I am also working on systems to help Type 2 Diabetes patients take control of their nutrition and lifestyle. There is a continuity from the experimentation in the installations and dramas to this more practical application of what I have learned about interactivity and participation.

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I am Echoborg. Live participatory show. 2016-2021.

Conversational AI is by far the best platform I have found for facilitating user agency in narrative settings. This theatre show, now online since Covid-19, is created afresh each time by the audience in conversation with an artificial intelligence. It is essentially a power struggle between the audience and an AI. It is very hard for the people who talk to it to recognise the ways in which they are manipulated by the machine and their human conditioning. It is great fun and very thought provoking. We now try and do it as a workshop for universities and companies. In February 2021 we presented it at the House of Lords.

This is a pioneering use of AI as a tool to deliver genuine audience agency in the creation of an experiential exploration of the impacts of automation on what it is to be human.

Watch a demo video here. Photo by Dawn Walter.

 

How to Get to the TOP in Digital Drama. Live participatory show. 2014.

This was a mischievous headphone drama that used an app to allow participants to become an attendee at a virtual conference. It was written especially for an audience of theatre makers and academics at the Value of Theatre conference at the Watershed on September 15th 2014.

I developed an app called HAPLY that facilitated audio driven participatory dramas of which this is one example. In many respects the limitations of this system are what pushed me towards the use of conversational AI.

 

The Memory Dealer. Pervasive Drama. 2010, 2013.

Funded by Towards Pervasive Media, Nottingham University, Arts Council, Digital Cultures Research Centre. Somewhere between theatre, game and out-of-body-experience, The Memory Dealer, is a pervasive drama that was first staged in the streets of central Nottingham. Players experienced the drama through a series of media either on a mobile device or in the environment and through encounters with actors. They found themselves engaged in a role within the story. The Memory Dealer was staged in Bristol in 2013 as part of MAYFEST.

Visit the Website

 
The Memory Dealer
The Memory Dealer
 
Room11
Room11
Room11
Room11

Room 11 (this can’t be the place). Site specific installation using photography, audio and video. 2005.

An entire hotel was taken over by a group of artists with each given their own room. Only one person could enter Room 11 at a time. Multiple media created atmosphere; buzzing flies, whispering photographs and ansaphone messages of a man describing how luxurious his room is. A light shone from under the bed, which was skewed from the horizontal. Underneath were scattered scissors and a tiny monitor switching between a shot of you, lying on the floor and a woman exploring the room. The effect is a form of abstracted narrative. Is she the wife? Was he a scissor salesman? Did he die here? Are you now lying where he was found? More documentation.

Together Alone

Together Alone. User generated web drama / talent show. 2014

I spent a few years working on a user generated web drama / talent show. Possibly the best thing I never made. Funded by South West Screen, the idea of Together Alone was a user generated drama with all the quality control of a professional drama. The cast would go through an online audition process. In the video you can see that every cast member, even in the same scene, is in a different country. Sadly we never got beyond pilot stage.

A few years later a series called Beckinfield did a similar thing, though wasn't quite as ambitious in the editing and production method.

 
Room11
Room11
Room11
Room11

magic-tree. Web drama, box containing muliple parts. 2001

A complex narrative on the web with a box that could be ordered online and delivered free. It explores questions about just how much satisfaction online capitalism can supply and removes the autonomy and liberty of movement from the reader/player by implying that whatever choice they make the retailer already knows it. Or it thinks it does – the story is really about the breakdown of the relationship between desire and satisfaction.

The website is still live but it uses an obsolete form of html and so will not work.