Karen: A Groundbreaking App by Blast Theory mixes Gaming and Storytelling
Brighton based company Blast Theory are creating a groundbreaking app that mixes gaming, storytelling and psychological profiling. They have now successfully raised £15,000 on Kickstarter and are looking to stretch that to £20,ooo over the next day or so.
Pioneers of interactive performance Blast Theory are set to develop their most adventurous piece of work yet. Karen is a groundbreaking app that mixes gaming, storytelling and psychological profiling in a way that has never been done before.
Have you ever been interested in where technology is going and what it might mean for storytelling? Well, Blast Theory are taking a big step into big data to question and explore what the effect of these changes could mean for cultural experiences.
Blast Theory seeks to reveal and explore how large companies and governments are using data. This is a big topic for the creative industries, in fact Richard F Adams wrote a guide to using Big Data in the Arts just this week.
Karen: A Life Coach and App
So, what will the app actually do? Well, Karen is a life coach and she’s happy to help you work through a few things in your life. When you launch the app, she asks you some questions about your outlook on the world to get an understanding of you. In fact, her questions are drawn from a well established psychological profiling questionnaire called Mood Repair.
She – and the software – are profiling you and she gives you advice based on your answers. As she gets to know you, she gets more and more curious. She seems to know things about you that she shouldn’t. Where exactly is this going to end?
In an interview for the Future of StoryTelling conference in New York, Blast Theory Artist and Co-Founder, Matt Adams said: “We’re really fascinated by big data. There’s a belief that large amounts of data gives greater intelligence or greater knowledge, and that may not be the case. It’s a massive social change, I think it’s our job to try and get in among those changes and pose questions about it and unpick it.
…We’re all familiar with big data as used by large companies like Google and Facebook. We’re trying to think about what big data might mean for storytelling and those of us that work in culture.
The promise of Big Data is that corporations and governments have an ever-greater degree of understanding about people who use their services and their ability to tailor those services to that individual. I’m very interested to try to explore that territory; to try to think about how gathering data about someone and reflecting it back to them might be a way to tell stories in a new way.”
How are the Funds being spent?
Blast Theory will be partnering with National Theatre Wales for a special live event connected to the app experience, but are seeking help to fund the development of the app. They needed to hit their target of £15,000 to develop the app for iOS and, having reached this, are seeking a further £5,000to make it for Android.
Thanks to their Kickstarter backers, they have reached their £15k goal and will definitely be able to build this unique, artistic app experience with a rich video content, great functionality and a smart user interface. Over the next couple of days they are now looking for more Kickstarter backers to enable them to do the same for Android.
Four times BAFTA Award nominated group Blast Theory are renowned internationally as one of the most adventurous artists’ groups using interactive media. The group has won the Golden Nica for Interactive Art at Prix Ars Electronica and the Maverick Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards in the USA.