the city talking: liverpool — issue 03Back
The City Talking
Issue three of The City Talking: Liverpool is out now.
This week, Amazon released a promotional video for a cashier-free grocery store called Amazon Go.
By our account, it’s main advantages are:
1. a thrilling illusion of thievery
2. zero human interaction: all bagels, no talking
At first, advantage number 1 seems like a whole lot of fun, like back in the day when paying for taxis with cold hard cash was still a thing. And advantage 2; well, that’s the one thing Amazon is hoping we really need, so that all their advanced sensors and algorithms and cameras in supermarkets seem worthwhile.
‘You can keep going!’ The voiceover announces in the video, as automatic doors open to an actor with a shopping bag. In the future according to Amazon, there are no queues, no scanning, no needless conversation. You can just go, to wherever you’re going next. Which got us thinking about some of the ways tech is becoming a patron for the impersonal. And also, some of the ways it can bring us closer, together.
In this issue of The City Talking in Liverpool, we spoke to some of the people that are using tech for closeness; the ones carrying our conversations through tiny wires across space and time; into space, in no time at all.
We began in offices above the Baltic Social; the offices of vTime, where the distance between our realities is being assuaged by the virtual. There, we spoke to Clemens Wangerin about video game company Psygnosis, Liverpool’s evolving games industry and the advanced tech that vTime develops to make our virtual more like reality.
“It grounds you in that virtual world, and gives you that sense of presence,” says Clemens. “You believe you’re somewhere else, and you believe you’re there together.”
Dawn Paine also worked at Psygnosis, back when they were publishing games like Lemmings and Wipeout. She’s worked for Sony, Atari, Infogrames and Nintendo. These days, she’s helping bring games — as well as films, television series and tech — to the world, through the support of Creative England.
“We’re all about trying to support innovative, interesting businesses that have got creative ideas, about how through telling their story and generating investment and support we can help some of those businesses scale up,” says Dawn.
When we saw Hannah Cassidy’s photographs on Instagram, we felt something that felt like creativity coming right through the screen. One morning, we called her to talk about it.
“I just like to capture moments,” she says. “To really capture a moment in real life.”
We’ve included several of her photographs so you can feel a bit of creativity too.
We visited Reason Digital’s offices on Lever Street on Manchester to see how digital is being used in other cities to make a difference.
“We’re all very passionate about what we do,” says Rebecca Rae, head of strategy & insight. “We wouldn’t work for Reason if we weren’t.”
We talk to Rebecca about building an app that’s saved lives; about their podcast, Tech For Good Live; and how it feels to say you love your job and mean it.
And then we went to Leeds to talk to Lins Wilson, producer at Lord Whitney and musician, to learn about being in a Leeds of not-so-long ago; a Leeds where connection was found between friends at places like The Vine, The Packhorse and the Brudenell Social Club.
“I feel nostalgic about it now,” says Lins, when we ask her to tell us the story in Lord Whitney’s studio. “It’s a good memory.”
The City Talking: Liverpool, issue three is out now across the city. You can find it in some of the places you go to connect with people around the world and, also, across counters and tabletops.