Tag Archives: P2P

Digital Hat? That’s a weird name, what is it?

digital hat image

Digital hat is an experiment in revolutionising how we discover and pay for theatre.

I am a punk fan. Other stuff too, but mostly punk, hardcore, screamo. Guitars, shouting, that kind of thing. I was 14 when Napster was released. My musical maturity was shaped by sharing; it was also shaped by the staring at of progress bars, and never needing to pay.

I was 25 when I started always paying for music.

Because over 2 years or so my whole relationship to music and its worth has changed. For one thing it has become a relationship, social media has, in a big way, connected me to musicians and the work that they do much more fully. For another, the ability to trial music, listen to it on spotify or youtube, means I know what I’m buying, and that friends also share what they like, in podcasts, blog posts, tweets, and playlists. And a final thing; pay what you think it’s worth. Not ‘pay what you want’, I think it’s an important distinction, because I probably (leaving aside the relationship with an artist) want to pay as little as I can, but as soon as it’s framed with the notion of ‘worth’, suddenly I want to pay as much as I can. Bandcamp and social media changed my relationship to musicians, and the music they produce. The trust that ‘pay what you think it’s worth’ puts in me, makes me want to respond favourably. And actually, how artificial is a price point anyway? An album may only be worth £4 to me, it might be worth £20. Don’t you want my money either way? Often I’ll buy an album for a fiver and go and give back more afterwards. How much is the song you danced to at your wedding worth? How about the album that saved your life?

I feel part of a community, one that the web helps me find, and support. And I want to support it.

Over the past two years my relationship to how I discover and pay for new music has been revolutionised. I may not pay much more on average, but I know that it’s going directly to an artist, and I also know that I’m buying an awful lot more. Plus, more awesome music! WINNING.

In the checkout area, how often do we see theatres linking to similar work in other venues?

And while we’re at it, when have you ever used an e-checkout system on a venue’s site that was even slightly bearable?

How often have non-theatre going friends expressed a general interest, but just not known a) where to start or b) if it wasn’t just a bit too expensive?

How often have you carried a piece with you for weeks, months afterwards? How much do you think that’s worth?

I think that there is a bandcamp for theatre. Not bandcamp exactly. Not Spotify, or Amazon, not twitter, not just a recommendation site, a place to buy stuff, not a review site. Though it may look a little like all these things, it may not necessarily be just an online or web based system, it could borrow a lot from physical things like Oyster cards or loyalty systems. But a way of regulating, sharing, exchanging, standardising, offering, equalising, and making easy the act of finding, going to, and paying for theatre.

Seth Honnor and I are going to r+d this. We want to look at the data generated from ticket sales – the sharing of that data in a way that the theatre-goer is completely in control of, and benefits from (rather than just the ‘untick mailing list’ box). We want to look at changing the experience of paying for theatre, work on a scalable model that could be used by any size venue, that had room for recommendations, sharing, simple video or audio trails, and that are used by many venues. Imagine only needing to remember one password for every theatre checkout system in the UK. Imagine syncing tickets with your smartphone, so you don’t need to have it delivered, or pick it up. Imagine subscribing to the arts events calendars of friends, or certain venues. Imagine a system that allows you to put a deposit on a ticket, but doesn’t take the money until after you pay, after which you are able to pay what you think it was worth. Throw your money in the hat; that’s why ‘digital hat’.

That’s where we want to start thinking. digitalhat.co.uk/ Let us know if you want in, what you would want from it, or if you think it already exists. We’ll let you know soonish about our next steps. Early days, but exciting ones, I hope.

Dun Manifestin’

Colony prototyping #1Image from Nikki Pugh’s CC images of her Colony testing…

The title’s a Pratchett joke. It’s the name of the mountain where all the gods hang out in his sort-of-comedy-fantasy Discworld. Not that I’m casting myself as a god in this reference, you understand. More I needed a title, and this kind of worked, whilst hopefully making those of you out there of equal dork status feel a warm ‘one-of-us’ glow in your collective bellies. Mmm. Glowy.

Manifest(o)in’ am I? Well, yes, collectively, with that there Nikki Pugh (and provoked by Paul Conneally); who I had the great pleasure to finally meet in the flesh last Tuesday. I’m rushing around like a very busy person at the moment – heading off to Belfast this weekend is knocking out a lot of my ‘doing stuff’ time – so I haven’t had time to talk about the Fierce evening of testing new work/ideas that I attended. It was really brilliant, though; I particularly spent the night with a vibrating gps creature, you can read more on that here. Anyway, as Nikki highlights over on her blog post, we were both struck, whilst being in each other’s physical presence, how lonely our practice can sometimes make us feel. Naturally our response was to write a SPLACIST/TECHNOSPLACIST MANIFESTO over googledocs a couple of nights later. Now all we need is to pretend that the next big revolution is all our doing, spend the rest of our days spilling wine over our faces, and we’ll already have outdone the Situationists by dint of actually having done some stuff.*   **

Anyway, head on over to Nikki’s piece and read her context to the manifesto. Or look a whole paragraph down to read the thing itself. Also: JOIN US.

In other news, you can see my face on this website, and I’ve been reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves in a vain effort to, as my supervisor put it, ‘learn how to punctuate’. Look! I put semi colons in this! I’ve moved into the over-confident sprinkle-it-liberally-and-some-will-hit-the-mark phase, I’m sure it can’t be long before I start actually writing Proper English.



We will own this city.
We will take it back.
We will link and shift.
We will affect and be affected.
We will look, and be seen.
We will expose and re-see.
We will glory in the moment, the collage, the marking and then passing on.
We reject the beginning, middle and end.
We reject your shopping centre, your pavement, your cultural quarter.
We will build our own constructs.
We will build our own bridges.
We will find the edges and push them.
We will fail spectacularly, vitally, elegantly.
We will span.
We will look up, down, under and behind.
We will leap.
We will invite others to do these things too.
We will make exchanges.
We will make adventures.
We will make beautiful moments.
We will reveal the ugly.
We will hold your hand.
We will whisper in your ear ‘let go’.
We will run, skip and jump.
We will be motionless.
We might dance.
We will dream.
We will be generous, but we may subtle about it, too.
We will reclaim the city, not for you, but with you.
We are you.


We will learn how to use the tools that make the things we want to happen happen.
We will help others learn wherever we can.
We will construct our manifesto – collaboratively – online, because the Internet is also a space :)
We will shift between space, online and off, taking on the form and the arena that suits us best.
We will bodily augment the layers of virtual space, story, marketing, capitalism, that exist in the city, with our own stories.
We will hold the data-harvesting done in the city in the name of ‘games’ (foursquare, loyalty cards) accountable.
We will find our own energy sources.
We will learn how to flex the central nervous system of the city – the data streams in its weather detectors, CCTV, red light cameras – for our own aims.
We will release all that we can via creative commons, so that they can be reclaimed, remixed, re-purposed.
We will cut, and we will paste.
“Plagiarism is necessary, progress demands it.”
We will pervade.
We will not be technosplacist when being splacist will suffice.
We will never underestimate the power of gaffa/electrical/masking tape
We will be artful. We will be skillful. We will fail usefully.


*and having females involved.

**I’m taking the piss, lots of my PhD is on the SI, please don’t come out of the woodwork now, Situationist sticklers.