Mel Croucher: infinite automata

Mel Croucher is a true pioneer in the history of video games in the UK. He is the founder of (in)famous software house Automata, whose work throughout the early 1980s is now considered to be pioneering in its use of multimedia and transmedia. The prize of Pimania was a golden sundial, hidden in an English hillside; Deus ex Machina came complete with a game-synchronised soundtrack featuring performances from Ian Dury and Jon Pertwee, among others. 

Mel Croucher. Photo by courtesy of Mel Croucher

Mel has been a guest of Imperica in the past and we're delighted to welcome him back for a Q&A. Thanks to everyone that submitted a question.

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The creation of demand

We are masters of the exploitation of demand; making people want things. Agencies today habitually paint fresh hieroglyphs upon the brand temples constructed by our forebears. But what happens when people just stop turning up to worship?

John V Willshire

We believe planning has a vital role to play in the creation of demand; making things people want. It can only achieve this by doing two things; creating ways to deal with the highly intensive workload caused by data overload, and by rediscovering a core ambition set out for us in the past.

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Robo Sapiens

Fresh from the BBH Labs oven is Robotify, a social virtual assistant.

Robot Doorbell by Mark B, CC-SA

Giving anyone the ability to create a mechanised alter ego of themselves, BBH refers to Robotify as "If a Tamagotchi got on Facebook then took steriods"... or, it's rather like Weavers mashed with Suwappu

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May, May Day: "Mayday"

In the light of Home Secretary Theresa May's announcement that the UK Government is considering the monitoring of most Internet traffic via GCHQ comes the inevitable backlash.

Arriving at West Croydon by UKhomeoffice, CC licence

There has been a chorus of disapproval, of course, with one particular stunt gaining traction.


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Ask Rick Dickinson

To celebrate the week of Sci-Fi London and our ZX Spectrum celebratory event Horizons, we are continuing with our Reader Q&A spot.

ZX82 by Rick Dickinson

So far we have run Q&As with Jon Ritman (done) and Mel Croucher (in progress). Now it's the turn of Rick Dickinson - the designer of the ZX Spectrum himself.

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Cathy Bennett - should commercial photographers be Pinterested?

As hard as you might have tried, there is little chance that you will have managed to avoid all the hype that surrounds Pinterest.

Cathy Bennett. Photo by courtesy of Ellery PR

But, while many sing its praises – Pinterest has already become the third most popular social network in the US, according to Mashable - it has highlighted some serious issues facing the world of commercial photography today.

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Advertising + homelessness = shitstorm

Ogilvy France has attracted a bit of flak for its project to help the homeless in Paris.

Ogilvy FR

Its YouTube video documents the agency's project to help homeless people seek help through working pro bono on communications and messaging.

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The New Aesthetic in writing

James Bridle's idea of a New Aesthetic has received considerable coverage in recent months.

Disks in Focuso by Dan Zen, CC Deed licence

Here, we run down some of our favourite articles - some favourable, some critical, all analytical - on what the New Aesthetic is... and isn't.

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Saving Wizard's Way

Wizard's Way is a film. The stars of Wizard's Way are Julian Andrews and Barry Tubbulb.

Wizard's Way. Photo by courtesy of Chris Killen

Julian is a dragon slayer and enjoys Sprite. Barry is rabbit breeder and enjoys 7Up.

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Matt Webb reflects on Instagram and Facebook

We all now know about Facebook's acquisition of Instagram, a move which appears to have shocked many, leading to mass boycotts of the otherwise-loved photo manipulation service.

Kodak Instamatic 100 by RedToby, CC Deed licence

We thought that Matt Webb, one of those lovely people (in fact the CEO) at BERG has summed it all up really nicely.

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Noel Edmonds avoids death

Hot on the heels of the recent confrontation between Philter Factory and Jon Ronson comes this latest confrontation - with Noel Edmonds, who tells us that he met the dark forces behind a social media-orchestrated campaign to kill him.

The Breakfast Show by Grahamc99, CC Deed

We know what you're thinking. Why, on Earth, would anyone intend to harm the Mayor of Crinkley Bottom?

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David M. Berry: Computationality and the New Aesthetic

In a recent article on my blog, I discussed abduction, thinking and patterns, and consequently I have been struck by a provocative article written by Bruce Sterling about what he called the New Aesthetic.

David M. Berry. Photo by courtesy of David M. Berry

The links between this 'New Aesthetic' and questions over pattern recognition and the way in which computational models are imposed on the 'real', are very timely.

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F**k yeah Martin Sorrell

Jesse Draper's Valley Girl Show has an interesting guest this week: none other than Sir Martin Sorrell.

The Valley Girl Show

Starting (humourously) with the story that it was the Male Menopause that propelled him into building WPP, Sorrell takes the whole thing in his stride.

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Grab a Granimator

It's hard to believe that digital arts organisation onedotzero has been running festivals, events and screenings for 15 years, as so much has happened in that time.

Yeah Just There by Grant Orchard. Pic by courtesy of onedotzero

Onedotzero's annual festival launched in 1997, and the organisation is celebrating in a rather understated way.

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Elliot Reuben: WTF is wrong with agencies?

So, you walk into a room full of the brightest and best that agencyland has to offer, a collection of the digitally-enthused and passionately adept, charged out by their agencies for hundreds, even thousands of pounds a day, all in a room to share knowledge and swap best practices.

Elliot Reuben. Photo by Melissa Baynes

And then you realise that there's a surprising common factor – a lot of them appear to be dumb.

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Making connections

Art and science continue to redefine their relationships with each other. While the relationship and its implicit tensions have been documented many times on Imperica, it never ceases to offer new angles and ways of seeing established concepts and constructs.

Kerry Daynes, Emily Winterburn. Photos by courtesy of Kerry Daynes and Emily Winterburn

Much of the world's artistic product has scientific reference in the same way that scientifc endeavours bring about artistic beauty. This is certainly the case in two very different topics being discussed at the first Salon North, where the forum for intellectual and cultural debate and discussion moves from its home city of London to the Harrogate International Festival.

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UK online adspend grows again

It's grown by over 10% - 14.4% in fact - to a record £4.78bn in 2011, up a rather surprising £687m from 2010 and the biggest increase in five years.

LED Scrolling nametags by Phil Campbell, CC deed licence

FMCG takes the top spot in terms of sector spending, although Retail is the biggest winner in terms of overall growth.

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Tweet and bull

"Whatever you like, he can't hear you" is a lame punchline to a pretty lame joke. The principle of the joke, however, is equally valid when it comes to writer Will Self and Twitter.

Twitter Monitoring Typewriter by Oomlout CC-BY-SA

Self has referred to Twitter as a "new home for old bores". with the promise that "The only time I'll tweet is if a songbird flies into my mouth".

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United nations

As part of the International Festival of Digital Art at Watermans Gallery in Brentford, two partnerships working with and in digital technology were invited to take part in a conversation.

Chaired by Saul Albert, the duos are One Room Shack, conceptual artists from Nigeria; and Carol MacGillivray and Bruno Mathez, London-based artists working with a variety of media. Both groups exhibited at the Festival, with One Room Shack exhibiting Unity, a piece on the embodiment of the 'Olympic spirit'; and MacGillivray and Mathez exhibiting Diasynchonoscope, a 3D installation based on principles of choreographed time.

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Back to our roots

WWWTXT is an excellent project from Daniel Rehn which brings past conversations related to the Internet and web back as a tweet-like form.

 At this point in time, a 15-year-old TRS-80 is more than sufficient to access most of what the Internet has to offer. ?93JUL

Reading the short stories of people coming to terms with what they had at the time is simply lovely.

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