Wooden blocks and festival flowcharts

Four times throughout this process we’ve undertaken a ‘system description’, whereby we attempt to capture the interacting component parts of a system on sheets of butcher’s paper. Under headings like ‘Drivers and Trends’ and ‘Conflicts and Tradeoffs’, we’ve written down everything we could think of that characterised that system, whether it be a news-stand in Euston Station or a fictional coastal town on the east coast of Australia. We’ve even undertaken a system description of another interactive show, Coney’s Early Days of a Better Nation.

In every instance, the whole process has only started to make sense and feel rewarding when we get to the point of assembling all our data into a threshold model. This takes the form of a flowchart, in which we describe all the potential triggers that could knock the system into a different state, and identify how they link together. When completed, a threshold model is often a very simple visualisation of the danger areas in a system, the risks that you want to keep it away from (or drive it toward, depending on the system and your purpose with it).

At the end of last week, we finally produced a flowchart of our music festival. And it is a MESS. Check it out:

Over the last few days, we’ve created further iterations of it, cleaning away the unnecessary information and digging deeper into the components of the system we need to make a functioning performance of. But I’m not going to show you our most recent attempt, because it will give too much away.

At the other end of the project, we’ve had some support and advice from designer and Coney affiliate Gary Campbell with regard to the materials and pieces that we’re actually going to place on the table – the physical model that the audience will get to play with. And as soon as we started to assemble those, we had a much clearer sense of what this show will look and feel like. Sneak preview:

This has all got me pretty excited. Looking forward to our showing next week where we get to throw all this in front of an audience.

My question today is, How can we communicate and share the information contained in this flow chart on a setting which looks more like a scaled up boardgame?

– David F

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