Biome Collective at London Design Biennale

Congratulations to Biome Collective, one of Scotland’s most pioneering video game designers, ​who represented Dundee at the London Design Biennale 2018 with their interactive game “Shpeel”. Produced by Tilde Arts in partnership with Creative Dundee, Shpeel has been developed following a series of workshops with young people across Dundee asking: “What can video games do to help young people start talking about their mental health?”

“Shpeel” – a play on the word “spiel” meaning to play or to speak, has been designed as a shared, interactive experience giving participants “a sense of ownership of their actions” empowering them “to describe the nuances of how they’re feeling without words” – Malath Abbas and Tom deMajo of Biome Collective.

Set up as a 360° immersive environment, visitors used interactive controls to create and activate an abstract object (an ’emotional avatar’) immediately transforming the space they were in and using it to start a conversation with others.

Laura Cooney, Community Learning and Development Worker for The Corner said: “Though the stigma around mental health is being reduced, people still find it difficult to find the words to talk about it. The young people that come to us often don’t have the language to describe how they feel. This can be really frustrating for them. Working with Biome Collective, we wanted to develop a tool – a conversation starter – that would enable any young person we work with to describe exactly how they’re feeling without words.”

The Corner and Hot Chocolate Trust assisted with the delivery of this project, which was supported by Creative Scotland,​ NEoN Digital Arts Festival,​ University of DundeeAbertay University and UNESCO City of Design Dundee.

Check out Creative Dundee’s website for an instalment of interviews about the process of Shpeel.

London Design Biennale 2018 “Emotional States” was held at Somerset House​ 4 – 23 Sept 2018.