Zooming in and out on our music festival


Not an image of a scale, but an excellent transport game we played a little during the week. Imagine if all 2 day music festivals had sweet rides like this little one!

This week we’ve been taking a huge step back from all the work we’ve done and been looking at our system from different scales. This is really important to do because we’re trying to represent a feasible system in the way our music festival operates, but also in the system responsive to the landscape it interacts with.

Any system can be looked at on different scales. I understand scale to mean – roughly –  to look at a system proportionally.  If I am looking at Australia on google maps I can look at the whole county, or I can zoom in and look at Sydney, or Canberra. I can zoom in further and see a street view of a particular street, or I can zoom right out and look at Australia as it is within a map of the world. Each of these levels of looking at Australia will tell me something about it and about where it is in relation to other things. Looking at systems on different scales means much the same thing although you are also looking at how they interact with one another on each of these levels.

With our festival system we have spent some time zooming right out to see how the festival sits within the local and regional landscape, as well as examining the agricultural elements of the farm we’re basing the festival in and the neighbouring properties. We’ve come up with a better articulation of how a festival system (which is temporary and potentially high impact) interacts with existing systems such as local community, local economy and the countryside it is located within. This is important as it was something that didn’t make it into our last scratch performances at BAC and something we very much wanted to bring in again this time. No system operates in total isolation, and our previous representation of the festival was a little blinkered in its bounds. In doing all this we’re identifying a lot of elements that very likely won’t make it to the final work, but are so important for us to know if we are to represent the interconnectivity of these systems within systems.

We’ve finally come up with not only our systems for the two concert nights in the story, but also roughly identified the systems we want to represent that feed out into these concerts and effect the fictional festival punters experiences. We’re still basing our festivals success on how much the fictional festival audience enjoy themselves – how likely they are to want to come back – and on how much impact the festival itself has upon the existing systems it encounters – how viable it is that the festival could happen again in the future.

Looking at the scales of a festival system is very organised and methodical and lovely way of getting to grips with a system and doing it at this point in the process has allowed us to identify the gaps in our systems, and in our thinking about them. It forces us to define what we mean with different words and encourages us to cover areas we’ve missed in order to seek out the best ways to present this system.

Are the scales we have been working with and examining the festival within going to be apparent to the audience and easily explained? Is this an important element for them to understand?  

– Nikki


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