Staff Research: Interactive Game to BBC Documentary

What lies at the heart of the city? 

Lecturer Danielle Barrios-O'Neill collaborated with BBC Radio producer Conor Garrett last year to produce Invisible Belfasta radio documentary adapted from the Alternate Reality Game she co-designed with Alan Hook in 2011, and a tapestry of other works: among them, the half-fictional, half-real Belfast invented by Belfast author Ciaran Carson in his novel The Star Factory, and Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities.

From the BBC website:

We all like to get lost in a book - but when Danielle, an American visitor to Belfast, stumbles upon a mysterious handwritten note in a 2nd hand copy of Ciaran Carson's novel The Star Factory - she finds herself on a labyrinthine journey through his prose and through the hidden side-roads and alleyways of the city.
As she searches for the elusive Irish author and poet, it soon becomes clear that there's much more to Belfast than meets the eye. This is a city that regenerates itself through layers of history and memory where the main protagonists are want to disappear at any time.
Between the adjuncts and intervening avenues of Belfast and Carson's narrative, Danielle realises she can't read the city like a book as it will always exceed the confines of the pages...

Listen here: Stories in Sound: Invisible Belfast

The Game behind the Radio Drama

[in]visible Belfast was an alternate reality game (ARG) designed and produced by Danielle Barrios-O’Neill and Alan Hook in 2011, with cooperation from the University of Ulster, Queen’s University Belfast, FilmTrip, Ltd., and a variety of local businesses and arts organizations in Belfast.

The original game trailer:

The game ran from May to June 2011, coinciding with the 2011 Belfast Book Festival. You can view a few of the original game documents here, here, and here.

Dr Danielle Barrios-O'Neill is a Senior Lecturer in English and Publishing, who also does research in interdisciplinary literary studies, focusing on games, transmedia storytelling, and sustainable worlds discourses. She has a particular interest in Irish literature and its fascinating technological inventiveness. You can follow her on Twitter @superblued or check out her blog.