The art and technology of haptic storytelling

Bit long between drinks, but we're back for July

You’ve probably read stories about the Brisbane River, but have you ever *felt* a story about the Brown Snake?

During the Curiocity festival back in March, you might have experienced the Trace, Touch, Feel The Brisbane River installation. If you missed it, we’re excited to let you know it will be returning for a one-off reboot.

The exhibit combines haptic technology that allows you to feel ultrasonic pressure against your hands as you travel along the Brisbane River. Haptics combine with satellite imagery and geospatial data to create both aerial and on-the-ground viewpoints that immerse you within the local geography.

The work was created by Grania Kelly, a visual artist and documentary film-maker. She partnered with QUT's VISER team to create the immersive experience at The Cube @ QUT Gardens Point.

The VISER team, led by Gavin Winter, are rebooting the exhibit for one night only and along with Grania will be on hand for a brief Q&A.

If you’d like to come along, you must RSVP via our Meet-up page (and remember to stick to Covid guidelines, including wearing a mask.)

Event details

  • Date: Thursday, July 22

  • Where: The Cube @ QUT Gardens Point

  • When: From 5.30pm


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About our last meet-up

Back in May, we got together to talk about alternative forms of storytelling. Big thanks again to Joseph Burgess, who spoke about his carpet-making, and Skye Doherty, who explained her tangible energy project, VIM. Here are the key bits:

  • With a background in visual arts, Joseph got interested in carpet-making and the tool used to do this – the tufting gun

  • He thought: “I'm gonna try and use this thing like a paintbrush.”

  • But he wanted to link the tufting gun to something more official, so established the NRA – the National Rug Association

  • “What we do is make rugs and talk about things, and try to unpack complex issues, reflecting on the nature of gun rights and the trifecta of values that are tacit”

  • If you're pro-guns, you might be pro-life, and you're probably pro-war – and there's a lot of stories that come back to that

  • Recent carpets he has created were an exploration of those values

  • There were some confronting images coming out of the US in 2020 after the death of George Floyd and the Capitol riots. What could disarm these confronting images? “When you render some of these protest images as carpet, it changes the meaning a little bit – what's going on here? Can we hit pause for one second and think about our actions?”

  • The image of the carpet above depicts a man who became trapped between police and rioters at the Capitol

  • The carpets are on the borderline of painting and sculpture, but they're soft – and it’s a different way to explore these stories

  • Skye said she was interested in exploring tangible interactions to create journalistic things. That’s where VIM, pictured above, came from

  • VIM is a prototype of a tangible story about energy futures

  • The question prompting its creation: “how might a story about energy policy be designed for interaction and participation?”

  • How VIM works is, you make a number of selections by interacting with it – there’s buttons and switches, and you get a story "brief" based on past, present and future news

  • But you are also asked a question and you put your reply back into the story machine

  • VIM is also solar-powered, and users can donate energy by cranking it

  • The point is to interact or participate; it’s different to passively reading a story

  • The project prompts us to think about what are some of the alternative spaces of news interaction – VIM is in a public space, it's different to individuals being on their mobile

Other bits

Don't forget we have a website where you can find out about speaking at, or pitching ideas for, a Hacks/Hackers Brisbane event.

About us

Hacks/Hackers is an international grassroots journalism organisation with dozens of chapters and thousands of members across four continents. Our mission is to create a network of journalists (“hacks”) and technologists (“hackers”) who rethink the future of news and information.

Hacks/Hackers Brisbane is run by Quants & Quills.