a box with several compartments, one of which holds a black digital recorder

April 20, 2018, by Erin Snyder

Digital Arts: Gifting Engagement

A View from the Arts is running a series on digital projects in the Faculty of Arts, in advance of the Digital Research Week, which will run from  the 23rd to the 27th of April, 2018.


The Gifting Engagement project brings together three research areas: how audiences understand being ‘engaged’ with stories, how we gift digital objects and inspiring creativity through digital objects. We have created a box that contains a digital story as a gift for the storytellers that we are sending the box to. Alongside this gift is a challenge for the storyteller to re-tell the most ‘captivating’ story they have ever created.

The frame of the project is the Institute of Digital Life and Ephemera (IDLE). A solar flare hits the world in 2020, and digital archives are taken off-line. Along with archives the world over, IDLE loses all of its data. In order to begin to rebuild the archive, it has created simple storytelling boxes, which it sends out to participating storytellers, asking them to participate in helping IDLE build its archive of stories.

“At the department of devices, we have been hard at work creating the Storytelling Box. Only few technical resources survived the solar flare. Among those was a single voice recorder, which happened to be stored in our document vault, shielded from the flare. This recorder contained the only surviving story fragment from our previous archive.

To enable the recording of new stories and to start building up our archive once more, the Storytelling Boxes are being sent to you storytellers across the world. The boxes contain a simple playback device made by the department of devices from available analogue parts and these can only hold one story. We have put the last remaining story from our archive on and hope that you will get inspired by this, telling your story.”

The aim of the project is to bring storytellers into a process of receiving and giving a digital gift and to help them reflect on how audiences see engagement as becoming captivated by content.

The project team is Liz Evans (Culture, Film and Media), Holger Schnadelbach (Mixed Reality Lab) & Hyosun Kwon (Mixed Reality Lab)

Posted in Digital Arts