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Tuesday 20 November 2012

Sembl, the game of resemblance #ndf2012

Sembl, the game of resemblance
Catherine Styles, @cathstyles
Sembl is a powerful system for thinking in a playful, dialogic, creative way. Cath will introduce Sembl through its initial manifestation as a real-time group adventure game at the National Museum of Australia, and explore how its play cultivates polyphonic, associative thinking, and new ways of knowing. She will explain where the game comes from and speculate on where it could go, in physical museum space but especially on the web, as an engine of open and linked data, and a game- based social learning network.
This game of resemblance has been gestating a long time, so Cath is stoked to share the story of its emergence.

[ETA: Cath's own images, notes and clips from the presentation.]

Game derives from Charles Cameron's "Hipbone Game" who got the idea from Herman Hesse's "Glass Bead Game".

Started as an iPad game at National Library of Australia. Users make connections between objects (a branding iron and a breastplate "label bodies"; leg irons and a Welsh organ both "involve keys"), which are then rated according to how interesting they are. What makes a resemblance interesting? Makes you think about things in different ways.

Developed on paper, tested with kids, then moved to a digital prototype and tested with same kids. This got them even more interested in getting into the museum itself.

Co-authorship, radical trust, open authority, new epistemology. Meaning not just imposed by museum, created by visitors. Game provides structure for dialogue between museum and visitor and among visitors.

linked data --- linked link data
identy --- similarity
logical --- analogical
prescribed --- freeform
comprehensive --- generative

Those creating network links learn network thinking.

"You kill what you categorise." @ffunch
"Tell all the truth but tell it slant" - Emily Dickinson

Image of an exhibit colocating slave shackles with fine silverware

Open Museum had a game where users posted "this image is similar to that" until the chain of images looped around to the first image again.

"Every move you make is a futher link in the pattern that connects. Every move you make is a creative leap." - Charles Cameron on Sembl