White Noise and Instant Gratification

Creative producer Deborah Dignam talks about the importance of meaningful digital experiences and the grand experiment the 1215.today team has embarked upon this year!

1215 Today
3 min readFeb 15, 2016


We live in a content-dense world. It is a challenge to attract and maintain a meaningful relationship with audiences online, particularly for digital arts projects such as 1215.today. We’re not a product or a brand. So how do we make ourselves visible and connect with people? It can’t just be a case of white noise and instant gratification.

We’re trying out a pretty bold experiment to figure this out. For our current artistic commission we have given our audience a say in the digital artwork right from the beginning. We did this by running an Arts Innovation Lab with artist Kathrin Böhm in January.

As the name suggests, the 1215.today Innovation Lab was a day of experiments. We invited makers, writers, game developers, programmers and hackers to explore serious issues with Kathrin and a team of creative technologists. Our goal was to engage these participants to influence the development of the artistic commission.

The team at the 1215.Today Innovation Lab Photo credit: ‏@mrholly68

As part of the 1215.today curatorial panel, I had many questions of my own. How would the participants influence the artist? What will the final artwork be? The Lab was a promising start on the journey to discover these answers.

Using ‘old-fashioned’ rules of engagement in the Innovation Lab

Every time you read content online it has been filtered by someone from your social network or via an algorithm like the one that controls your Facebook timeline. Over time, these filters create a bubble of people, content and conversations that think like you. There’s a whole lot of sameness.

This is why we wanted to set some old-fashioned rules of engagement for the Lab. Other than the development question set by Kathrin, nothing else was set in stone. The debate was allowed to roam free and everyone was encouraged to make their voices heard. In a real room, face-to-face.

As the day progressed we transformed from individual broadcasters (a state of mind conditioned by the constant exposure to social media) to a group of critical thinkers. We were listening and responding to each other.

There was no abrupt ‘opt-out’ option. So unlike reading an article online or on your social news feed, when you just move on to the next thing if you lose interest, we really couldn’t do that in the Lab. Working in groups we teased out different answers and points of view through conversation and debate, through what people said, didn’t say, body language and eye contact.

By thinking through the questions in such a deliberate manner we hope that the process as well as the end-result will invite you, the audience, to engage with us!

Come, join our experiment!

If you would like to find out more about the current commission please follow us on 1215.today for the latest updates. If you want to take part in our next Innovation Lab, drop us a line at info@1215.today.



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