Crossforum Theatre as Unconference

Michael Allan mike at
Fri Aug 20 20:44:15 EDT 2010

I have a rough plan for the theatre staging:

David Bovill wrote:
> ... What we need to do is put a good team together that are
> committed, have complementary skills that cover these different
> bases.

>From my point of view, the steps to team building are:

  1) Code an all-round functional alpha. (done)
  2) Add an attractive entry window.
  3) Get a few quality users and work closely with them.
  4) Pull in a second skilled developer.

I guess you see unconferences as an entry window (2).  The advantage
is that it has elements of (4) in it.  You get both users *and*
developers at once, at least for a day or two.  The advantage of my
approach is that it scales more easily and rapidly in terms of user

> > I would design the theatre app as before, except also:
> > 1. Make it mobile (so it runs well on smartphones);

> Yes -for the last 12 months that has been my main focus
> technically. I can do a a good chunk of that - or at least get the
> ball rolling with working apps on the different platforms. Better
> still would be to use the RoadShow to recruit open source developers
> around the vision.

I'd probably start with a Web app myself (GWT or Flex).  I'm guessing
it could be shoehorned into mobile devices (but not sure yet).

>    1. Reveal LD data and services in robust, well documented, easy to use
>    RESTful api's - so that different forms of visualisation can be created by
>    end the community. Given that I can start integrating my stuff, flash
>    developers can do theirs and so on. Polish the api fist before diving into
>    DIY visualisations ourselves.

The APIs are pretty much ready for the first developer who needs them.
Some improvements could be made up front.  Others would probably wait
till I could dialogue with that first developer.

>    2. Use the RoadShow. Theatre requires good visuals, it attracts people
>    who like to make good visuals. In the time scale between no and the actual
>    roadshow we will be able to work with a team to produce those visuals
>    together. Not DIY, not ourselves, but focus on the team creation, associated
>    with the event.

By RoadShow, you mean unconference?

So should we wait for one of these events to be organized before we
start developing a marquee user interface (like crossforum theatre)?
Or should we start on that now, even if that means starting alone?

David Bovill wrote (in the other thread):
> To try to suggest proposals that may go some way to answering this
> question [what kinds of interaction?], I've sketched out a number of
> forms / aspects that I think these real space events / performative
> interfaces can take:
>    1. Subtlety - hell it's not really that different! We can move smoothly
>    from a traditional Unconference to more imaginative performances as
>    resources, the audience and the need arises.
>    2. A Game Example
>    3. An Intimate Example
>    4. A Practical Example

I realize now that we probably don't have to code support for specific
types of interaction up front.  They're mostly a matter of production
content (scripted or just thematic).

I don't really know if you'd want (or need) to produce anything
specifically for crossforum theatre, in support of unconferences etc.
The default productions might give you sufficient online support.

> *Subtlety - hell it's not really that different!* Unconferences -
> are simply a series of small face to face discussions between
> peers. They are therefore not essentially different from text based
> discussions online. No big difference there.

So the default production(s) would cover that aspect.

In addition, you might produce an overview of all those unconferences,
in various stages of happening, maybe as a running summary.  (Hear
what people are saying, see where they are located in democracy-space,
and so forth.)

I read through your other examples, but no other production ideas came
to mind.  The frame sequencer doesn't actually give me lots of
creative ideas for other productions.  )Maybe we can find a better
medium, later.)  But it at least suffices for the conversation-based
productions, which I think are the most important.  (The most
important of all might be one that allowed you to follow the doings of
your friends, family and other peers in democracy space.)

Michael Allan

Toronto, +1 647-436-4521
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