PARN – Physical and Alternate Reality Narratives, is an EU funded project, co-ordinated by Times Up, in collaboration with FoAM, Lighthouse and Blast Theory.

Through a series of workshops, conferences, outreach activities and online projects across Europe, PARN took place over two years 2011-2013.

Act Otherwise, PARN

PARN (Physical and Alternate Reality Narratives) took the communication systems that have been developed within cinematic and stage situations, with their assemblies of language and assumptions, semiotics and semantics, structures and norms, and developed comparable structures for storytelling within physical spaces. (Creating contemporary forms of storytelling and developing new ways to express the complex network stories that make up the way that we perceive our time).

Act Otherwise

Act Otherwise was a two-day open forum which brought together a cross section of the most talented artists, scholars, broadcasters and curators working in interactive narratives, games and location based media.

The goal of Act Otherwise was to share key challenges and concerns together in a relaxed setting and engage in conversation which might be practical or theoretical and which may be concerned with the practicalities of now or the possibilities of the future.

The structure of the forum was constructed loosely, so that it would be possible to respond and adapt accordingly to what came up in discussion. The starting point of the 1st day was a presentation by Blast Theory of A Machine To See With to open up some discussion around issues such as:

  • What are the unique design challenges of working in public space?
  • How can we push the language of interaction design?
  • What are the ethics and politics of engaging the public in these ways?
  • How can we reach the multiple audiences for this work: the gamers, the ramblers, the surfers etc.?
  • What are the new ways of working that we are discovering?

From there the forum led onto presentations by Professor Steve Benford, Time’s Up’s Tina Auer & Tim Boykett, Andy Field, José Luis de Vicente and Matt Locke as well as a discussion led by Dan Dixon in which he presented the group with some provocations around the issues open for discussion.

The second day followed a structure of 4 sessions, areas of exploration being ‘The Field’, ‘Audience’, ‘Create’ and ‘Distribution’. Each of these began with an opening array of thoughts by a delegate and were moderated by a Chair with the sessions being very open in their accessibility for people to dip in and out with ideas and points of reference.


Time’s Up, a group of artists who investigate the ways in which people interact with and explore their physical surroundings. Based in Linz, Austria.

Lighthouse is a digital culture agency based in Brighton, supporting, commissioning and exhibiting work by artists and filmmakers.

FoAM – an international network of transdisciplinary labs for speculative cultures. Based in Brussels, Belgium.

PARN as well as Act Otherwise is made possible with the support of the Culture Programme (2007-2013) of the European Union.

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