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A lone cyclist traveling down a city street at night: while it might be a common sight, it’s anything but the usual descriptor for a documentary audience member. But that’s precisely what Blast Theory has engineered in this part-theater, part-game, part-documentary project that integrates high and low tech to offer an immersive story experience.
Participants in Rider Spoke arrive at a kiosk and receive in-person instructions and a mobile device that houses the locative project interface. Affixing the device to their own bike or one rented from the project team, audience members are sent out alone to choose their own unique route through the city, guided by the Rider Spoke app as it prompts them to choose a place to “hide” and record a story or to seek out the locations where others shared a story. When they find one, the location-based app unlocks that person’s documented story and plays it back.
As a participant’s bicycle ride is enriched and affected by technology-driven actions, events and interfaces, an emotionally resonant layer of anonymity, intimacy, and memory makes the web of shared stories all the more powerful. With Rider Spoke, Blast Theory achieves a moving journey through personal stories that are at the heart of the documentary impulse to remember and share.