Mr Eks Camden Players is a new website that aims to offer a quirky and unconventional way to find a night out in Camden, London this summer. The site asks you to make a series of choices between cards (such as Mountain, City or Waves; or Cactus, Black Tree or Venus Flytrap) . This is then used to 'divine your personality' -- which is represented by a selection of character cards from The Adventurer to The Bohemian -- and the site suggests an event to match your tastes. It has been given a beautiful handmade feel courtesy of agency Coney, and is based around the series of character-filled playing cards.
The site was created for the Borough of Camden, so includes events from a much wider area than most people associate with the name -- from the British Library between St Pancras and Euston (and the Digital Arts office) to Little Italy.
We caught up with Coney co-director Annette Mees to find out more. Annette describes Coney as "an artist-driven agency of adventure and play, founded on principles of loveliness, adventure and curiosity."
Coney is one of the Arts Council's National portfolio organisations. Annette describes it as more of a collective than a traditional agency, calling it "a network of artists, makers and players."
For this project, Coney wanted to create a site very much to Camden's history and assocation with counter-culture. All of the Coney's creations are responses to space in which they take place, and for them it was Camden's reputation as place of unexpected, unusual pleasures that underpinned their concepts.
"The borough has always been a cultural centre," says Annette. "It has attracted new ideas, new music, innovation and art throughout the centuries. We felt that the heart of Camden is a place where different aesthetics and ideas collide to create new and exciting things.
"Talking to our peers, the overarching memories were of nights-to-remember, nights of unexpected events, surprising company and underground culture. We combined the ideas of serendipitously stumbling on events, with an mash-up aesthetic of many different forms of historical counter culture, outsider art, the underground and the mysterious with an overall aesthetic of DIY, the physical, the touchable."
The final character cards were each based on a subcultureor archetype associated with current or historical Camden.
When asked about how you make a website seem handmade, Annette points out that "the website is handmade. The paper theatre, all its elements and the elements on the personality cards have all been handmade by our amazing digital creative designer Suzie Webb. They were subsequently cut out, lit and photographed before they were digitised to populate the website.
"We wanted to achieve the feeling that Mr Eks' method of cultural fortunetelling exists outside of the digital realm. This incarnation you are looking at just happens to be on your screen but yet it feels visceral and like it has incarnations elsewhere too."
Coney's next projects include a new version of its 'pervasive experience' The Loveliness Principle at the Latitude, Edinburgh and Shoreham festivals; developing a new show with the National Theatre of Wales called Early Days (of a better nation); and the Cat Escapes learning project for year 3 school children.