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Exploring a local community through immersive art - With Annual 2021 winner Paolo Sulpasso | #AnnualSpotlight

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The Annual 2021 winners have been revealed over summer, with some of the most exciting professionals in the history of Creativepool. Who are these amazing people and why do they represent the best of the best in the realm of creativity?

Among the select entries who won People's Choice in The Annual 2021, Paolo Guglielmo Sulpasso's Save The Green is certainly one of the most ambitious. Blending myth and fiction, fantasy and reality, Paolo was able to use Augmented Reality to help people explore the local community of a much fascinating neighbourhood in Liverpool, while looking for a missing tribe of little whimsical creatures. Needless to say, this wonderfully playful initiative had enough of an impact to impress the Creativepool community as well, who awarded Paolo People's Choice in the Wave category.

In this Annual 2021 Spotlight, we are learning more about Paolo and his award-winning project, defined by the judges as "a cute idea for a local community", to discover the beauties of the little Baltic Green Tribes.

View The Annual 2021 Winners!

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Tell us about your winning submissions! What do you think impressed the judges?

 “Cute idea for a local community”, wrote Jess Lilley, a member of the Jury.  

The project was realized in collaboration with the local community of a culturally vibrant neighbourhood of Liverpool (the Baltic Triangle), which is also home to Creative and Digital Industries (Baltic Creative CIC).

The storyline followed the mystery of the Baltic Green Tribe, urban mythological creatures who had gone missing during the lockdown. The participants were invited to find collective strategies to make these creatures come back. Along the journey (a walk around the neighbourhood) the audience got to know the local community and culture which were brought to life through Augmented Reality in a playful way.

The project turned out to be a choral creation: Tristan (Hobo Kiosk) imagined the existence of the mythological creatures; Ivan (Liverpool Psychedelic Society) advocated the cause of "create your own culture", key to the narrative, and produced a video; Mick (Baltic Triangle Podcast) recorded a special edition of his podcast which drove the people through the event; Peter, "a friend of the Greens", shared his message of "guerrilla planting".

The digital storyline (Mark Shenkin and me) was enriched by stimulating the interaction of the participants with the physical space; for example, after meeting Peter (virtually through AR), the participants were driven to find seeds and pots to continue Peter's guerrilla planting in the neighbourhood. 

So to go back to your question, I think the “community” was definitely an element that won the Jury’s attention. 

Regarding the word "cute" used by Jess in the Annual, I'm sure that the absolute cuteness of the Green Tribe members (designed by Alexandra Ardelean) made a very positive impression too.

What felt unique about taking part in The Annual?

The feeling to be part of a worldwide group of creatives and get to know their work was really nice. I guess this is where the word “community” is striking again...

If you could name one reason that made you choose to enter this year, what would it be?

Mick Ord (Baltic Triangle Podcast) is the reason why! Mick is a journalist, former head of BBC Radio Merseyside and is the one who suggested that I enter the Annual competition.

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How do you plan to display your award?

I look forward to receiving it and putting it on the wall. Furthermore, Docupostcards is now an award-winning company, so this fact will be proudly shown on our website.

Will you enter again in 2022? If so, what are your hopes?

Definitely yes. The hope is that in 2022 it will be possible to physically gather together for the Award Ceremony and, crossing fingers, also to be part of it… 

What advice would you share with other agencies and individuals looking to grab an award?

Just go for it, find that extra time to enter in a competition, the results might be surprising. 

How does winning awards such as The Annual impact your business?

On a personal level, it definitely had an impact in terms of confidence. When doing something creative there is always this feeling of walking on ice; it helps to be appreciated by a professional Jury and to get the People’s Choice award.

Businesswise it is too early to say, I count on the charm of having become an award-winning company...

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This year’s winners are a testament to the power of creativity in hardship. How did Covid restrictions influence your winning projects and how did you approach these new challenges?

The project was at stake till the end. The team was spread across three countries and we needed to coordinate all of that. The use of the WebAR engine (AWE Media) simplified very much the production allowing us to test in real-time the AR content from distance.

Health and Safety was also a big concern. In order to comply with the regulations, we had to rethink the route that the participants should have to follow during the experience. The communication and support of Liverpool's Lightnight Festival organizers (Open Culture) enabled us to understand and tackle the issues. In the end, everything went smooth. 

What are your hopes for the industry in 2022 and beyond?

Immersive arts are undergoing considerable development which is mainly driven by technology. I hope the Creative and Digital Industries to be able to keep up with these technological advances by creating content, formats, languages, narratives that overcome the "gimmicks" and let the magic happen with meaningful and compelling stories.  

What is your most exciting project in the next year?

2022 is very promising. Docupostcards is about to start a new partnership with an experienced Immersive Arts company and this will give us the opportunity to think bigger.  

Talking about projects, for sure "Baltic ARound – Bring your community to life”, which is a container of Augmented Reality experiences all located in the Baltic Triangle (where it was held the winning project). It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to experiment with those new formats I was talking about before in a friendly and culturally vibrant neighbourhood. Furthermore, being the Baltic Triangle also home to Liverpool's Creative and Digital Industries, there will be opportunities for synergies and creative contaminations.

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