Introduction

Situations produced a new kind of public artwork for Bristol, Missorts, delivered as an app for iPhone & Android. The app delivers original sound and music to users as they walk around the St. Mary Redcliffe Cathedral area of the city.

Calvium were pleased to provide consultancy and app development services to Tony White and the Situations team producing the app.

casestudy_banner_missorts

Executive Summary

Missorts by writer and novelist Tony White, is a permanent, immersive soundwork for Bristol, that is accessed in the Redcliffe area of the city, minutes from Bristol Temple Meads. Missorts is produced by Situations and funded by Bristol City Council for the Bristol Legible City initiative.

Inspired by Bristol’s radical literary heritage, Missorts reflects the past and present of the Redcliffe area of the city and the diversity of writings, objects and architectures that are found there. The work features ten original and interconnected short stories by Sara Bowler, Holly Corfield-Carr, Thomas Darby, Jack Ewing, Katrina Plumb, Jess Rotas, Hannah Still, Helen Thornhill, Isabel de Vasconcellos and Sacha Waldron. The stories are accompanied by Portwall Preludes, a series of striking new musical works commissioned from composer Jamie Telford for St Mary Redcliffe’s Harrison and Harrison organ in its centenary year.

Missorts: Cathedral Daytime

Photography by Max McClure, courtesy Situations

Challenge

With stories and music triggered as on-location content, it was necessary for Tony White and the Situations team to test material at as early a stage as possible, and to allow the results of the tests to inform Tony’s process of editing and abridgement. Interaction design was also very important: how the work could be designed to help users learn to navigate the transitions from stories to music, and learn how the app would behave when a story had finished. All of this had to be tested from the beginning, with the earliest iterations of the content, and to be continually refined.

At Situations, we aspire to testing the limits of where and when artworks take place and in Calvium we found a partner who shared this commitment to pioneering new forms of experience. In the case of Missorts, they helped us to navigate the complex field of locative media and produced a delivery mechanism for the artwork which responds sensitively to the author’s aspirations for the technology to disappear.

Claire Doherty, Director of Situations

Results

Using a specialised version of our AppFurnace platform, Tony White was able to experiment in situ with the exact positioning of the GPS triggers, and refine when, where and how the stories would be revealed, by testing them on location, with real devices.

Situations and Tony were keen to make the experience of this public artwork only available in the location where it is set, in order to retain its defining relationship with Redcliffe. Therefore, rather than producing an ‘armchair version’ of the app, Situations released a number of free ‘extras’: a live remix of audio and music by Beaty Heart, free MP3s of Jamie Telford’sPortwall Preludes and a novella, Missorts Volume II, by Tony White, all available free from the Missorts website. We also advised Situations on ways that they could create sustainable access to the soundwork for people who don’t have their own smartphones. Preloaded devices for public use are available for free loan to library card holders from Bedminster and Bristol Central Libraries.