12 August 2007

The Science of Spying

I was reminded via email this week that the interactive spying exhibition I produced ends its initial run at the Science Museum and Indianapolis Children's Museum next month. So far, almost 300,000 people have been 'a spy for a day'. I haven't written about the exhibition here, on my much-neglected blog, since the public call for ideas. Fortunately, the rest of the web has been less reticent.

I showed RĂ©gine, of we make money not art, around the exhibition in May and she wrote about it in three parts (mostly about the surveillance and counter-surveillance objects - real and imagined):
The Science of Spying - Part 1
The Science of Spying - Part 2
The Science of Spying - Part 3

And I enjoyed a 'sometaithurts' moment when Dame Stella Rimington, former director-general of the MI5, reviewed the exhibition for The Times: Unlock the secrets of the spying game. I was surprised by how much Dame Stella engaged with the more playful interactives during her visit and was particularly pleased that she noted the balance we were trying to strike between a fun role-play experience and a thought-provoking examination of surveillance:

The Science of Spying exhibition is very well conceived and researched. While offering a fun and exciting experience, it quite rightly avoids the James Bond approach. More than that, though, it will give the reflective 12-year-old some important issues to think about. When is surveillance justified? Who should be using all the gadgetry that science has provided, and against whom? And with what checks and balances?

It hit number 1 critic's choice in Time Out ("It's hard to imagine a 10 year old that won't love it", John O'Connell) and was generally well-received. But probably my favourite review is this 'end of the day' account posted to Google Video:

So, if you've been meaning to see it, you've got less than a month to get to the Science Museum. But if you do miss it, you're likely to have another chance. The exhibition will tour for up to 5 years, around the UK, Europe and the US.

Update: the exhibition's run at the Science Museum has been extended to Sunday 28 October 2007.

Posted at 04:16 PM in Exhibitions, Museums, Performance, Play, Spying, Storytelling | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

08 September 2006

'Future spy' call for ideas

For the past six months I've been managing the development of SPYMAKER: The Science of Spying, an interactive exhibition for 8-12 year olds and their families. It opens at the Science Museum next February and then tours for up to five years.

We've just released an open call (pdf) inviting ideas for surveillance and counter-surveillance products of the near future.

We're looking for ideas that are provocative, plausible (could happen), credible (can be explained) and easily communicable to 8-12 year olds in a museum context. The ideas should be submitted as sketches rather than detailed designs because selected concepts will be developed by leading designers for exhibition. Auger-Loizeau, Dunne & Raby, El Ultimo Grito, Noam Toran, Onkar Singh Kular, and Troika have all agreed to take part.

Download Future Spy call for ideas (pdf) from The Science of...

Posted at 08:51 PM in Craft and making, Future, Museums | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack