Culture Hack Scotland 2012 Show & Tell Liveblog

There’s been a bit of a gap in my liveblogging from CHS 2012. I’ll fill in the gaps in my previous posts soon. But I wanted to share the hacks here so I’ll be liveblogging the hacks as they are shown. It’s all very exciting…

But first, now that we’ve all submitted our hacks, it’s time for a performance by Jonnie Common. And he’s been up 24+ hours playing with archive sound – field recordings from the National Museum of Scotland, Alumni data from Glasgow School of Art, Tramway Footfall Data and Tapestry design data. And it’s pretty cool. Also previewing some tracks from his new album made entirely with noises from his kitchen, including his “Ofen” (apparently all automated call centres think that sounds like “beer cooler”). A really lovely piece of music generated from a base sound of kitchen. And his big finish is a piece made from Tramway footfall data.

Erin and Devon are introducing the Show & Tell with their highlights. Devon says he’s been overwhelmed by the quality of the hacks. The two main things that do it for me are the quality of the hacks – people have actually made some super sophisticated thing, and other thing that amazed me was how many people stayed up the whole night. There were like 30 people at our 2.30am check in! That’s really really special. Thank you to everyone!

James Stewart of, Birghitta Zichs researcher at CultureLab, Cath Mainland Chief Exec of the Edinburgh Fringe and Clive, Director of Dundee Contemporary Arts are our judges.


We’ve been working on two projects – My GI and Uncreative Scotland, exploring the least creative areas of Scotland. We ran out of time for the latter but we could see that project trigger funding etc. The idea is to open up the programming information – curate your own GI by logging in and creating a programme of events with own openings and talks. Break down the hierarchy of the events, ask people to your lag as part of this.

404 Visual

I came here with Interface 3 but did a little sidpromo jet with archive NMS sounds. Basically it’s an audio visual visualiser with several settings. That’s about it.

Yaunne siesnik @amazingrolo

This is a hardware hack. And I also used the NMS field recordings here as I’m a huge fan of field recordings. And I’m really interested in usual ideation of sound, but also the physical inout and output of sound. So this is an output device for sound as lights, using pitch tracking to control the lights. I also hurt my hand recently and this led to me thinking about ways people with limited mobility experience sound. Also sound is hard o do in a public space – too loud and annoying or awkward and problematic. And what.  If you can’t hear the sound at all? So I made a bit of software here.

Team 365

Wanted something different. Combined skinny and list data and used sound data to make a soundscape of events. So this is Glasgow tonight. Uses sound cloud data.

Team shaky

Before we get set up we want as many people as possible on twitter/iPads. Massive game. You get a role, you perform, veg or flowers are thrown.


I am a student at Glasgow Uni and I worked on a visualisation of the tramway hourly footfall data. Both by hour and by exhibition.

Team banned by google

We didn’t have an idea until late last night, we worked with the creative Scotland data set and data visualisation, we’ve used postcodes and built boundaries and then visualised the amount of spending. We got banned by google or hitting their servers too hard, hence the name.

A short gap so Rohan gives us a thought experiment – imagine the cost of this talent for this many hours!


I wanted to do something and Macbeth was a really huge data set and huge amounts of content. It shows a random text, asks you a question about the emotion and then colour codes the text. It builds up the colours over time and responds to the emotion of the reader

Stef & Carolyn

Scottish book trust my favourite place data was something I was looking at on the way to CHS. It’s a lovely idea but it doesn’t look that exciting, it felt like they forgot about the story. So we built storyline using a tile set called stamen o build a painting like map o he stories. We finished at midnight so…

Another hack. Cuts mean artists are not as well supported so this is the idea of communally funding artist time on experimental time. You put money in to fund artists to work for a number of days a month. ? Time and people is the issue for me as part of an arts organisation so the idea here is to give people time for their work.

Jen and paulo

Paulo: This is a hack using chapter titles and the text of the track an novel by Catriona childs. The chapters are named after song titles so you can also lck through to that track. You can also click away, explore other parts of the book. Uses refreshed random images from instagram.

Jen: and we built a second hack to see what’s oing on an hidden where you currently are so you can explore what has been contributed in your area (eg data like “this I the pub from train spotting” )

Macbeth digital

Thought that it would be great to see plays on twitter, a twitter client that runs through the whole of Macbeth, you can see it come in every second or two and skip between scenes


Field recording hero! This was based on national museum of Scotland. Takes lips automatically, can speed it up. Can increase density. Can also combine some sounds. You can click or play via the keyboard. And you can make your own field recordings

Jim, donny, carol – yarn spinner

This is an easy beautiful and social way o read on a tablet. Swiping sucks. The first book here is Catriona child’s book trackman. It pulls in bits of text and associated images added to the book,can favourite bits of the book, can comment so v good in education, can send to twitter, we added map data and images but users could do that, publishers could do that, and ou can change reading speed etc.


I worked with Glasgow museum zoology data. Metadata from their collection, mashed up with some images from wiki commons. Use data from sample collection to see maps app/google maps. Which museum would have been handy, could add. Read more link. It’s just a nice way to explore the collection. And we’ve added noise too! Although most sound like sheep! But if there was sound info you could build a richer experience, could add user images, build a sort of game for those visiting in person.

Alastair Macdonald

Rohan adds a top fact: Alastair was the first person to sign up to CHS this year!

I was tempted to use the Richard Demarco data – 6000 images from 65 years of the fringe. I wanted to run the images through facial recognition software to see faced and change over time. But far too many images to process. But you can quickly see features like glasses etc. got tons f data back. Only had I’ve to put into exel to see estimated age of subjects – a peak. Early twenties, slightly more women. Glasses wearers by age also. And mood… At 47 everyone is happy! All 6 year olds are surprised! By remember its not a big data set! What’s happening is for a few years images process great, but 2000 and 2007 images seem o be scanned in and messes with data! So that was my experiment… I think it failed.

Kate Ho and interface3 team

We are generally interested in digital storytelling. And we built everything for our game in 2 hours built on Edwin Morgan’s stobhill. It’s from multiple perspectives, it’s a very grim tale about a young URL who had to have an abortion and just as it was about to go into the Incinerator it’s found to be alive. Its told from doctor, porter, parents and boilerman. So it’s an immersive story imagining the hospital as abandoned, has a dark creepy tone like resident evil. You poke around. And move through audio. And it is quite creepy and sinister. We want to develop this on, transported to the highlands where the conception happens in second level. Going to end en route to the incinerator.

Rory (@digitalwestie)

I’ve been working w/Glasgow unesco city of music data set. Over 7000 tracks from different artist, was ruinous about what I might like in there. I use a think called last fm which lets you hare and is over music. And there I a list of festivals in Europe ranked by by my taste in music. Thought it would be grea to o something similar. Hence weenies love beats – a mix f Glasgow and data. So you can look at the data set from your own perspective. Lots more you could do with this data, I added 10,000 tags to this data so think I just scratched the surface.

James baster – flock lights

I used twitter data from everyone here, looked over 9000 tweets around the event. Pulled it together. Was about useful information – contacts, links, possible new connections. For each persons have inormation about their friends, ollwsm conversations to. But just around the hash tag. Can also look at word use to gather by word use and topic. Online now. More data could o in, but what would be useful? And it’s all on GitHub.

Roy, Micheal, tom and jack from Dundee

This team have two products they will be showing. Another hardware hack! We are all associated with Dundee Uni? And we have made the Skinnys jeans! They walk the event frequency of events in Glasgow.

We also Built a device to make words physical Neil I created a visualisation of one of the Edwin morgan poems. Takes each line of a Poem, finds a word, pulls in a random image from flickr. So you get a sort of visual poem. With fun and slightly random effects.

Stef and Katie and Carolyn

This was a project with the Richard demarco data and approached it by looking what was online already. An organisation has been funded to scan in one mans life works really. But the website is kind of getting in the way of the content, hard to get to photographs. so we wanted to highlight key artists and making the images stand out.

Lucy, Chris, Gavin and monkey the dog

This was lucys first coding experiment. It’s a project using arguing. A ducky flashes a light every time a #chscot tweet ones in!

James mail

I am a product designer and I was inspired by the tramway footfall data, this is a thin you could install in a gallery spaces. Releasing ping pong balls or each previous visitor that then mingle with the real visitors. John (jonbca.github) I used footfall data also. Dots bouncing represent people visiting, can see the busy times… And it’s very much a work ian progress.


Inspired by poetry and Macbeth we decided to set up flash mob readings! We did this with twitter. You can take part by tweeting #CitizenMob. Then line are assigned to the crowd who can join in the reading

Reading betweet the lines

We did three projects. First was poems of Edwin Morgan told in others tweets who don’t even know they re takin part. Big blue word highlighting show you the connection ian a stream on random tweets. Each is retweeted letting people know to learn more about the poet.

And next we made a generator to make new poems from his work. And it works!

Finally we took university of edinburgh data and it will show the buildings and energy use over time. It animates a beautiful set of colours showing change over time and it looks beautiful but projector isn’t playing ball today.


We wanted to use edinburgh festivals data – financially worth more than golf! But it means a lot to people who take part so… Festory… We were inspired by GSA alumni archives by ended up building a way to map social memory onto festivals. made it pretty. Can add by show, place, year et. And you can add through the year. And thinking about mapping entire fringe performers. You can check into a show. Want to crowdsource photographs,  the performer’s perspective and from the audience and reviews. We had loads of ideas here, lots more work to do!

Creative Scotland – Stephanie Chris et al

My interest is in the creative Scotland data. I came up with 4 broad categories of data – capacity, impact, outcome, investment – or those interested in but outside of arts in stolen – policy makers, donors etc. so you would go in, pull in data on a project and look for how to track and monitor projects. It’s a cultural policy hack!

Ellie Harrison

Suzy invited me here. I felt a bit left out last night. I like to reduce my interaction with tech as much as possible. I was probably in the wrong place. I only got my laptop outat 2pm. And I try to avoid twitter but hard to acaommunicate here without it. So I did a little societal study of twitterholics. So I only spoke to 12 people. Thank you to all in the sample! I also wanted o ask how long each night people tweet by put didn’t know how to visualise this! Leapyearboy tweets least and sleeps least. So here are our sample. Second top is suchprettyeyes/nicola osborne who helped me put this together atbthe last minute. Alastair is our top tweeter! And signed up first!

Smash it – nick street and alex waterston

Last year I made something for stealing from Nms. What better to top it then smashing stuff from the NMS. And I must apologise as I mashed lots of data sets into the concept: Animal reincarnations of dead poets wan you to smash the glass treasures infringe venues for creative Scotland Smash more for more funding! It does work. If you want to play it… You’re mad!

And that ended the Show & Tell portion of the event. Which meant it was time for beer, cupcakes…

Culture Hack Scotland Cupcake

And then, the judges decisions… which were (according to my live tweets):

  • Commended #chscot most playful app: textmob; and creative Scotland by banned by google. Winner: Macbeth parlour game! Phenomenal!
  • Recommendation: demarco website by @stef an co. special prize for extra activity also to @stef. & prize for the audio visual player #chscot
  • Prize mentions also for mist useful the field sound recording hero, and @Alastair’s demarco project. Winner xdesign360 soundscape #chscot
  • Product hack: commended smash it, winner skinny jeans #chscot
  • Special award to the fab @kateho team as they did crazy amounts of incredible work in the 24 hours #chscot
  • Extreme excitement: the fabulour Macbeth parlour game takes top prize! #willdiscover


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About Nicola Osborne

I am Digital Education Manager and Service Manager at EDINA, a role I share with my colleague Lorna Campbell. I was previously Social Media Officer for EDINA working across all projects and services. I am interested in the opportunities within teaching and learning for film, video, sound and all forms of multimedia, as well as social media, crowdsourcing and related new technologies.

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