Category Archives: Art

The Free Range summer degree shows kicked off last week showcasing a ton of great work from students around the UK. This week is the first Design week, exhibiting the work of budding designers across multiple disciplines.

I managed to get to the opening night on Thursday, mainly to see ScreenGrab09, the degree show of Bournemouth Uni’s Interactive Media Production course, that I graduated from two years ago.

One of the great things about the course is the diversity of work that the students regularly produce.

At ScreenGrab you can see Web apps, games, interactions and interactive experiences, quite unlike the rest of the work under the ‘design’ banner of the week,stood out from the rest of the work I saw from other universities on the night.

Vic Bishop’s OIC, photo by Will Goldstone

Corin Wilkins’ MyFace, photo by Will Goldstone

Today is actually the last day that ScreenGrab will be in London, so if you have the chance to get down to Brick Lane, it’s highly recommended.

Otherwise, the show moves to back down Bournemouth exhibiting on the Talbot Campus on the 4th and 5th of June (more details here).

You can follow the #screengrab09 tag on Twitter to see what people thought about the show, and photos of the event are collecting on Flickr, tagged screengrab09.

As part of our agency rebranding, we’ve all been tasked with finding a suitable image for the reverse side of our business cards. Apparently it should represent our image and personality, be quirky, but important to us.

Avoiding copyright infringement means I can’t use any bad-ass images of Superman, we can’t have any people we ‘know’ – assuming this includes famous people scratches out using Kirk, Kara Thrace or Tim Berners-Lee etc – even his Semantic Web stack is too square to use as well. (Put this on a t-shirt for me and I’ll be your friend forever).

Anyway, after trawling Flickr for anything half decent under a Creative Commons license I’ve narrowed it down to five images – bit geeky, quite unimaginative, cliché retro.

TAC-2 controller

TAC-2 controller

"Yeah" by Sameli

The background is as good as the joystick itself, TMNT ftw.

Atari 2600 games

Atari 2600 games

"Day 323/366" by Great Beyond

Brilliant. We could use patterns instead of photos if we like – this is almost both.

Commodore CBM

Commodore CBM

"Cutting Edge Technology, 1981" by Superbomba

Could I pass this off as me?

Girl coder!

Girl coder!

Original by Dave & Bry

Older still, maybe a bit obvious.

Then I started looking for trash – I love photography of pretty much anything abandoned or broken. Flickr has a great pool of Abandoned Swimming pools.

Mac and Toaster

Mac and Toaster

"Macintosh Plus + Toaster" by Eric__I_E

They belong together!

Abandoned Monitors

Abandoned Monitors

"Four Toxic Computer Monitors" by Tonx

Possibly the strongest contender. Looks like they’re their holding cables ready to cross the road. Not too overly techy either?

What do you think?

Suggestions/recommendations/votes welcome – need to decide before Friday!

Anybody out doing their washing on Sunday may have been as lucky I to catch the Coin Laundry Orchestra in Hoxton this weekend.

It was a installation project of a friend of mine, Gareth Foote, as part of his MA Interactive Media at Goldsmiths.

Hijacking a coin laundry, his team created a live data jam recording and mashing together environmental sounds of the laundrette and vox-pop interviews with various noises, synths and electronic tracks, controlled and remixed by an array of footpads, infrared sensors and home-made electronics.

Speaking to Gareth before and reading his comments after, I really should have made more of a point of telling how impressed I was.

Looking at the span of posts on his blog, the project came around really quickly. Having taken the same BA course at Bournemouth University, we’d never touched any non-digital interactive projects, so it was great to read and see the switches and controls come together in theory and eventually play with them on the day.

Then the actual music was great. I was slightly sceptical at first as to whether the mixing would work, I imagined abrupt stop-starting of incoherent sound bytes – especially if, obviously being outside of their control, the reluctant end users would be only stumbled-upon average laundrette customers and/or people with either no outright musical understanding or intention of creating a cohesive soundtrack. But the overall effect was far from it – very well composed and really effectively arranged for the purpose.

Anyway, here’s nicely put together video of the days efforts:

Definitely have a read of Gareth’s blog, there’s a good bit of detail on the whole set-up here.

Photography by Tim Crook.

I may have missed out on Adam Neate’s artwork giveaway last month, but I managed to grab one of the 5,000 downloadable original prints from Turner prize winner Keith Tyson offered on his website at noon today:

History Painting (December, Kettering, Northamptonshire) by Keith Tyson

Each work consisted of a unique randomly generated sequence of vertical stripes in red, black and green, each with its own title based on the geographical location submitted by the user.

“The server will generate a sequence of the numbers one to 32 which relates to the roulette wheel,” he said. “Each number has an assigned colour. If you hit the jackpot, you’ll come away with an entirely green work. But the chances of that happening are 1 in 37 x 37 x 37, 49 times.”

The limited-edition prints relate to a body of work called the History Paintings, a group of paintings also in stripes of red, black and green, with the arrangement of the colours dictated by spins of the roulette wheel. Tyson’s artistic preoccupations include mathematical models, gambling, the operations of chance, and the systems, random or otherwise, governing human history.

Full Guardian write-up here.

I was lucky enough to be of the 100 attendees for This Happened #6 at London’s BFI Southbank last night, as part of the Onedotzero Adventures in Motion.

Started last year, This Happened is a series of events focusing on the stories behind interaction design. Hosted by Chris O’Shea (Pixelsumo), Joel Gethin Lewis and Andreas Muller (Nanika), the evening showcased four recent works of interactive design, inviting speakers discus and present their creative process from conceptual brief through to installation.

First up was Markus Kison, Berlin based artist and creator of Touched Echo. He installed suspended speakers in to the structure of a railing at Brühl’s Terrace, Dresden, a popular tourist spot and a location most severely effected by the Dresden bombings of World War II.

Touched Echo

A discreet, minimalist installation, Touched Echo invites visitors to assume the position of the victims of the bombings on February 13th 1945, transforming them to performers as they cover their ears, creating a conductive connection from speaker, through railings and their bones to the inner ear, allowing them to hear the sounds of aeroplanes, the falling of bombs and sounds of explosions.

He noticed that although the location received many visitors, the visual landscape lacks a focus. So profound the difference but for the bombings, the gesture and immersive audio stimuli transports the visitor back in time but also acts as a modern, respectable memorial.

Next up was rAndom International, a London-based experimental design collective founded in 2005 by Hannes Koch, Stuart Wood and Flo Ortkrass. Their installation, Audience, recently at the Royal Opera House consisted of 64 head-size mirrors ‘objects’, motorised – and equally characterised – to interact with visitors and passers-by. Subverting the role of the opera goer from that of intending to watch, to be being (quite inescapably) watched themselves by an array of inquisitive and responsive objects.

It was only on for three days at the Opera House, I would have loved to have visited. As they said too, catching up via blog after-the-event can’t compare to the interactive experience:

Troika is a multi-disciplinary art and design practice, exhibiting their Cloud, a five meter long digital sculpture at the British Airways lounges at Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

An interesting organic form but mechanical mass, the Cloud is a 3D shape with a surface of over 4000 ‘flip-dots’, those traditionally used for non-digital signage in train stations and airports. Controlled by bespoke ‘animation’ software able to address each dot individually, the end result is almost as memorising as it is calming, looping on 24-hour evolving cycles accompanied by the rippling sounds of each flip-dot ticking over.

Finally we had UnitedVisualArtists, presenting ‘Constellation’, a light-based sculptural intervention designed for the indoors of Covent Garden Market Halls.

A very grand architectural installation, it is made up of 264 LED-strip lights hung from the cavernous space, cycling sequences of lights and patterns across the ceiling for the Christmas season. There’s also a touch screen interactive surface, allowing visitors to control individual lights or affect sweeping gestures across the structure.

It opens tomorrow night, hopefully I should be able to attend and give it a go.

When it comes to luck you make your own.