SXSW panel session by Lava Lab

Lava Lab was invited to join a panel session at SXSW interactive & film (conference in Austin, TX) about Tales for the internet of things, together with Lisa Woods thirteen23, Sam Patteson, Shaun Dubuque and Heath Pecorino, who created a platform for interactive storytelling called Asunder.

Klasien van de Zandschulp joined this panel in a discussion about interactive storytelling for the public sphere. Klasien showed the SXSW audience the way of using non-linear storytelling in Lava Lab's project together with Amsterdam Museum about unlocking the stories of the Golden Age, the HearUsHere storytelling platform and other projects we worked on the last few years using technology to tell stories in the public space. In this session we wanted to inspire the audience by showing how technology like Bluetooth/iBeacons and GPS can be used for an interactive storytelling experience in the public space.

In the panel we discussed how to create non-linear stories, what makes them different and complex in the creation process, what do these narrative patterns look like, and what is the difference in experience for the end-user. When the end-user tumbles upon stories while changing location or moving closer to an object, whether this is a public space outdoors or inside museum walls, the order is not predefined. Nevertheless, the stories can connect and refer to each other. This way of non-linear storytelling has been existing for years already but never seemed this relevant. New narrative patterns appear to arise but they are hard to define and more complex to work with. Using technology like iBeacons creates many new opportunities in the field of storytelling. We can connect everything to radio signals and create apps that unlock stories using these signals. The panel came to the conclusion that a diversity in skills, a bigger team, is necessary to create a qualified non-linear story in this way.

The panel discussed new narrative patterns of site-specific storytelling, best practices for content that is site-specific, non-linear, and dispersed and using stories + IoT reconnect us to our surroundings.

Considering the turnout of this panel's session, a big queue in front of the door, and the other sessions during SXSW with similar subjects which were overbooked, we noticed that this subject is popular at the moment and that the audience is eager to learn.