Amstel Filtered Gallery

I’ve not been allowed to talk about this before, but it has just been nominated for an award, so I guess it’s all pretty public now. This was one of the last projects I was involved in at de-construct – a filtered art experience for Amstel.

Visitors would arrive at the gallery space, and be given a personal identity card – which they would take around the exhibit. The first port of call is to a booth where you are asked a series of questions, following the pattern of a multiple choice quiz. The aim of the quiz is to get an idea of your psychological makeup, and see where you sit in one of the three Hans Eysnick scales of neuroticism, psychoticism and extrovertism.

Once profiled, you would enter the gallery where we had about eight different spaces for watching short films and video art. You would arrive at once of the viewing areas (a mix of large cinema spaces, tiny shower like audio showers or plasmas screens with headphones), swipe your identity card, and you would be presented with content to sort your temperament (or to get your N, E or P juices really flowing).

flickr / amstel

We originally built a three screen prototype for demoing to our clients Amstel and 180 (their advertising agency) and then the project culminated in a 200 person event in Amsterdam in the basement of the old Post Office building. The private party was a resounding success, and many of the artists who were also invited found the experience extremely enjoyable. The viewers/interactors in the space found themselves discussing with the person next to them why they’d been shown a particular piece of content, swap cards to see other people’s content, generally discuss and chat over the art – which for any gallery experience is a huge measure of success.

Technically, the system was completely bespoke. Based upon RFID and wireless technology, we created a local network which allowed each unit to communicate to a central database server. Upon profiling, each user was stored and could be referenced upon demand. The swipe at each unit would check the person’s ‘profile’, and display relevant content as required. I was involved from the outset, helping to expand upon the original idea, taking it from a concept to delivery – developing the underlying code for the system itself, as well as the hardware, working with the curator to ensure the experience felt right from a content perspective, and installed and setup the space alongside the production team. It was a solid three days of work once we arrived in Amsterdam to setup the machines (most of which were completely smashed up in transit from London) install the software/hardware, test and the deploy in the live space, not to mention the inevitable problems which plagued us right up until the 11th hour.

I was really proud of this project, especially how deeply involved I was from the outset to completion. It was great working with a very talented team on a unique concept. I’m in the video somewhere, turning on a computer. A prize for spotting me.

I also took a range of photographs for the project which are available at Flickr.

Remembering useful figures

Forrester’s Social Technographics surveys show that when it comes to social content 21% of online US consumers are Creators, 37% are Critics (those who react to content created by others), and 69% are Spectators.

The 90-9-1 principle, recently publicized by Community Guy Jake McKee at, says that in a community, the rule of thumb is that 90% of visitors only view the content, 9% only comment or react to it, and 1% create it.

I’m always involved in conversations where whipping out backed up stats like these would be useful, but I never remember where I can find evidence for my generally anecdotal sounding opinions. I keep meaning to write up some sort of cheatsheet where I pour in recent facts, figures and insights from various sources, such as the excellent Groundswell blog, but it would be a full time job – and often, anecdotes seem to do the job. Even if i did store them somewhere, i’d probably not remember where i’d put them.

In any case, all things seems to relate back to either a “power law distribution” or “kittens on skateboards”. Maybe i should get a tattoo of a kitten on a power law curve.

From Turn Off, Tune On: Youtube Live!

This post is from my blog over at Turn Off, Tune On, which discusses innovation in the online video space, as part of my work for Endemol.

You can’t have failed to miss the Youtube Live event which is taking place today. If you read even one single tech blog, or use Youtube, you’ll have seen the chatter everywhere.

Celebrities, Web celebs and major artists, including the mad scientists from the Mythbusters crew,, Lisa Nova, Michael Buckley, and Joe Satriani will be joining the celebrations, and YouTube will be offering three live streams direct from its Live channel.

Why blog this? Youtube moving into live streaming is an additional string to the monetisation bow, something they’ve yet struggled to really find models beyond simple adserving and partnership deals. It also puts Youtube into the broadcaster space, allowing them to compete with a wider range of other services. It will be interesting to see the next steps they take to push this service with commercial partners.

This book will be famous

Nicky and Asi have been secretly working away on this lovely book project. I’ll let Nicky explain:

So, what’s the idea ? Well it’s a bit of a cross between Pass the Parcel, Consequences, and the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon. There’s 6 spreads in the book, and we’ve sent it to the most famous person we know to create something or leave a message, and then pass it on to the most famous person they know. Fingers crossed it will get to some exciting people along the way.

Lovely idea – something with a lovely crossover with our DMP project I think. They should attach a camera to the book ;) Good luck with the project guys, and let me know when you auction it off.



One of the really nice touches in the latest Bond flick was the use of ‘in scene’ typography on some of the scene start title sequences, I particularly liked the London opener which was printed on the road in that classic ‘City of London’ typeface which was then immediately run over by a car. You can see them all at Tomato’s site, or pulled out for easier viewing at Goldenfiddle. I read QoS and Fleming’s other short stories in the recent Penguin collection – well worth a read if you’ve not read much James Bond before.