Farewell to Bateman’s Vegas

Tonight was our first public showing for the Modelling Play project, and we were fortunate to welcome 10 charming guests into our upstairs office in the University College London Environment Institute. And there we ran through five ‘sub-systems models’ that link together to form the core of our – very basic – representation of the seaside town that is Bateman’s Vegas.

In this version of the show we only ran the systems through one cycle, which meant that the participants only had time to get familiar with each model before it ended. In a future version we’d hope to have fewer sub-systems and simpler control mechanisms, so you could more rapidly get to looking at the behaviour of the system as a whole. However, for now, it was really valuable to see if and how the sub-system games worked as mini-performance pieces and how the whole thing functioned as a performance event.

Interestingly, the participants got the absolute best-case results from the various models. The carpark was sufficient for the tourists, the surf was great, the fishing was excellent – there were a few too many fires on the sand dunes, but overall an excellent season for the town. The moral of the story being, put British people in charge of Australian beaches, they clearly have a hidden talent.

Lots to consider, lots to change. Tomorrow (actually in a few hours from now) we head to Germany for Spieletag, the international boardgame festival, which will be a pretty bizarre and wonderful research trip. And then next week we return and begin, in a way from scratch. First we throw out Bateman’s Vegas (goodbye!) and begin with a new system, which we will be spending even more time on. This might well be the system we take through to our final scratch at BAC in November, which is exciting.

Right now I’m buzzing with thoughts of what did and didn’t work, and from the excellent feedback and input we got from participants after the showing. So given that we’re going to start again, I think my main question for right now is, How can we extract the working components from Bateman’s Vegas and apply them to a new setting?

– David F

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