Sunday, 27 May 2012


Yesterday I stumbled upon a cloud of Tadpoles in a pond.  The video below is a short clip that I took:

I went back today to do some more filming but they had nearly all gone, so I felt quite lucky that I got to see them all when I did.

I decided to give myself from now until the end of June to gather a selection of more clips for the video. I may not use everything that I collect, but at the end of June I will decide which scenes I will use. So far I want there to be a selection of video /audio clips to be played randomly. I want this to be done in such a way that it doesn't matter at what point the viewer enters the AI.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Invisible Flock - Sea of Voices

Sea of voices by Invisible Flock is an interactive digital art piece which is based on a physical journey through Brighton. First you download either an app for your phone or mp3 and then your journey begins.

I actually didn't go on the physical journey as I chose to close my eyes, lay down and envisage this journey by listening to the mp3. I know that I missed out on aspects of the interaction from the physical journey, but I loved imagining that I was there, and since I live in Brighton and know the area really well I found this to be a fantastic meditative experience.

While I didn't do the walk, I think it would be fun to go along and do too.

The video below shows the preparation of Sea of Voices:

Monday, 14 May 2012

Powers of Ten

This is a really fascinating short film that takes you on a journey, by exploring the universe based on the mathematical  multiplications of powers of ten. The film was made in 1968 by Ray & Charles Eames and was rereleased in 1977.  It is an adaptation of the 1957 book by Kees Boeke titled: Cosmic View.

I found this to be really interesting, and is excellent for my both my subject, and contextual research as it relates in similar ways to the question of my project proposal - Existence: Individualism or Mechanism?

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Reflections on my studio practise

While I have spoken about some of this before in earlier posts. I will quickly run through to recap and explain how I have reached where I am now within my studio practise.

While beginning Unit 2, I started experimenting projecting through clear balloons. I had hoped that the projection would go through the clear balloons, but it left dark shadows on the wall. I don't know why I didn't realise that it would do this, since this is what normally happens when shining light onto objects,  but for some reason I thought the video would pass through since the  balloons were clear, but it didn't!

I wanted to project a video based on natural generative elements of nature passing through balloons which people had previously blown air into, along with a soundtrack of their breathing sounds played randomly, merging the natural world with the individual's air,which could be seen to be merging individuality with the natural environment within a system. Since  the projection wouldn't flow through the balloons I started thinking on slightly different lines. Even though I found this really interesting at the time, it meant I wouldn't be able to do this. I then started looking for other ways to convey this idea.

 At first I thought of making a geodesic dome, since geodesic domes are well known as an artificial environment for growing plants, for instance in the Eden Project here in the UK.  I started pondering on ideas of having actual plants growing in the dome with the balloons of people's air in the construction of the dome, along with a video inside of natural generative elements of nature, that would also show a video of the dome being at the beach and in woodlands etc.

I thought this may work but something was bugging me. There was something that I had left out of this equation. I decided to take a break as I felt that I just couldn't continue, and then it dawned on me. It was so obvious, what was I mainly fascinated by, and what had I previously been exploring while doing my degree previously - artificial life forms!  Things then started to fall into place.

The artificial dome environment was in essence an artificial entity which would not be questioning itself, but would question you the visitor a biological life form, and so the person entering the dome would be the focus of the installation, well from the point of view taken from the artificial life form :-) I envisioned the dome made using clingfilm and balloons with wire, but since having a crit this gave me the idea to add glowing blue wire in vein like patterns which would connect to the monitor inside. This also solved the problem of having a monitor inside as this entity would be made of a combination of organic and non-organic materials. The balloons would now be part of the hybrid artificial entity and the only true organic form would be the visitor (viewer). Upon entering  there would be a sign on the floor saying - 'Enter alone'.  When inside you would view a video which would ask you questions in text format, along with showing you a combination of  random video clips of natural generative elements of nature with quiet breathing sounds. My intention is for the dome  entity is to be an explorer, since the tent structure has both a protective and exploratory nature.  In the case of the entity  a protective skin/structure which wishes to learn more about the natural world and its inhabitants :-)

Group discussion

This week I had a group discussion on my work. It was really useful with lots of interesting comments and suggestions. The focal point of this discussion was on the dome, which was based on the links that I had sent out for everyone to read beforehand. While I had talked about the construction of the dome in these posts I hadn't talked about my latest ideas regarding my project. I wanted to see how everyone would react to the dome first.

I will talk about my new ideas in the next post by looking at some of my previous thoughts from earlier posts to try and explain how I reached this point.  Hopefully this will answer some of these questions, plus adding in some ideas gained from these comments :-)

Below are the comments/questions that I got asked:

Jess: Are you thinking to have projections inside the dome as well as the monitor Kay?

Mariana: Kay... I agree with you on the Drift Line sand Pattern video... it is BEAUTIFUL

Moira: I really like the fabric moving outside.

Olivia: the fabric video is amazing.

Moira: it looks almost like it was computer generated.

Moira: the dome is looking good too.

Mariana: I like the balloons being wrapped inside the dome surface.  I bet that if there are more balloons and different sizes placed close together all wrapped with the film wrap it would make an interesting organic surface.

 Mariana: But I don't understand... are you planning to project your videos on to the dome's surface?

 Moira: yeah i was also wondering about how the videos will be projected.

 Mariana: or are people watching them on the screen you are going to camouflage inside the dome?

Olivia: it would be fantastic if the projections were changing due to the mass of the dome.

Olivia: real 3d :)

Mariana: oh ok... because I saw some experiments you did projecting on to balloons... you are not using that?

Jess: You would have to think a lot about where the projections were going if you were to project on transparent material as it would obviously "leak out"

 Mariana: I see Kay... I like a lot the idea of projecting your videos (that are like patterns) on to textures, you might end up finding a great look.

Jonathan Kearney: one of the full time students has been experimenting with making projection screens with bubble liquid - which of course has the same issues the image just travels right through it, a screen needs some 'thickness' by that I mean something for the projected image to hold onto.

Louis: Brightness and distortion from projecting should be considered. How important are the images as seen on the screen, you can gain impact with projection but lose clarity.

Jess: It's interesting you're filming elements of nature, and have created a cocoon like dome but actually it is made out of very inorganic materials.

Osiris: Kay: should the Dome be sound prove ? or is it not important for the experience to be isolated from your exterior ?

Jonathan Kearney: Louis - good point - projection can be big but it is hard to get very high quality.

Moira: but is clarity important? Maybe the distortion will enhance the visuals.

Osiris: Kay: your video is super:

Mariana: it could also be nice to have one of those small projectors that projects on to some texture inside the dome so that the image follows the concave structure of the dome?

Jess: Projecting onto shaped surfaces also gives a very different effect to the work.

Olivia: yes that would be great because the structure would shift changing the "rhythm" of the projectio.

Osiris: Kay: It reminds me of the Allegory of the Cave from Plato.

Jess: Also if people go into the tent they may get in the way of the projected image unless it's done from outside.


 Mariana: My main concern about the flat screen is that it will break from the circular aspect of the dome - which I really like- (if you use a small projector it will work fine, I have one of them).

Jonathan Kearney: but maybe projecting from inside upwards could be very interesting - not sure how someone would get inside but the layers of transparent material you have should mean some image would 'stick' to the surface and some would carry on out of the dome onto the ceiling.

 Jonathan Kearney: Mariana - you mean the very small pico projectors?

Mariana: yes the pocket projectors.

Madeline Churchill: recycled light - Pipilotti Rist used it in her Hayward show.

Moira: yeah I agree with Mariana, unless the contrast between the organic dome and the monitor plays a part in your concept.

Jonathan Kearney: Madeline - yes - I love the term 'recycled light' - seems an oxymoron but actually very useful idea.

Madeline: Pipilotti was always conscious of how each of her pieces would bleed into each other - maybe the light outside of the dome is just as important.

Mariana: or unless you find a way to blend the monitor to the dome... as you wrote on your blog about finding a way to camouflage it... it may end up working well.

Louis: at what point does the display environment trump the visual expression of the video, a fine balance is needed.

Olivia: maybe a use of a reflector would be interesting.

Jess: It depends if you want it all to be contained within the dome.

Madeline: I wrote about it a bit on my blog after seeing her show -

Jess: The viewing environment can be equally as important as the video displayed if that is the concept of an installation.

Jonathan Kearney: screens can be flexible in shape sometimes - not easy but here is a great example

Jess: Yes an immersive experience with the done.

Louis: yes viewing environment is important but there needs to be a focus on the art or a purposeful intention to meld the two.

Jonathan Kearney: good point Louis.
Jonathan: Mariana - yes I think it would be!

Jonathan Kearney: Kay - you can think of your dome in 2 ways -
1. the experience inside and
Jonathan : 2. the experience from outside looking at it while one person is inside.

Osiris: I Am not sure I agree Louis, why does it need a focus on the art ? Maybe the objects purpose is only support.

Madeline: I love the idea of a glowing dome! Like a digital igloo.

Mariana: yes, Kay, I agree it is also very important to consider what are other people seeing while one person is inside the dome, how does the dome look from the outside - great idea the digital igloo-!
Jonathan Kearney: Osiris - fair point about the focus on the art but what about Louis' point about the idea of a 'purposeful intention to meld the two'?

Jess: Yes I don't see why the viewing environment can't be part of the concept going back to pipilotti's work the girl who doesn't miss much - you have to view with your head stuck up through a hole!

Louis: then the concept has expanded beyond the video art and now is combined with the environment of display. I have no problem with looking at  either way.

Jonathan Kearney: Kay - I think that is important - no one will experience the work from inside first - everyone will see it from outside and be drawn into it, or put off by it.

Olivia: I think art and functionality do merge, pythagoras' sacred geometry is definitely a verification of this.

Madeline:  iI it's an immersive experience then the display and the dome should be equally important.

 Louis: That is working with advertisement, to draw a viewer into the isolated experience.

 Madeline : Think of Tracey Emin's tent - it's a normal tent to start with then inside it becomes a chamber of names and experiences.

Jess: I am also thinking of Nam June paik's laser dome we saw at fact - the content was hidden from the outside and only revealed when they went in.

Louis : A dome to me is an interior experience the outside should be enticing also.

Jess: It will look interesting to see the monitor inside from the outside though.

Jess: The image may not be clear etc
Jess: So people will want to go in and see what it is.

 Jess: How big is the dome?

Osiris: 200cm x 200cm, height:140cm

Jess: Oh yes Kay had put the dimensions - I was thinking in terms of is it a 2 or 3 man tent!! :)

Mariana: I think that the materials on the surface (balloons and film wrap) can be intriguing enough to attract people to go into the dome... and besides, the fact there is a dome will make people want to see what there is inside.

Mariana: I think it's natural!

Moira: I think so too.

Louis:  Maybe we are all reacting to the word dome, perhaps we could refer to it as a booth.

Jonathan: there are many examples of immersive experiences that intrigue or repulse from outside - I think an artist should think through how people might react to it -

Louis: domes were invented to provide large interior spaces without visual obstructions.

Jonatha: the artist should make the decision about what it will look like based on tests and experiments -- just abdicating the decision and letting other factors decide for you is not the best situation, where possible should the artist at least attempt to control the material, the environment, the content, the experience?

 Jess: Yes and what they want that reaction to be.

 Moira: is the fabric of the dome the same fabric shown in the video?

Jess: I'm getting an image of people squeezing in with loads of balloons :)

Moira: ah ok that sounds interesting.

Jess: That sounds good on the beach.

Mariana: Great idea Kay, but the final dome will be placed in the show right?

Mariana: nice!!!
Mariana: the dome within the dome!

Moira: domeception

Jonathan: when Kay first described the dome idea to me in a tutorial I was concerned that it might look too much like a normal tent (this can be ok as Madeline pointed out earlier in reference to Tracey Emin's tent --- but I think the way Kay has made the dome - using the structure of a small dome tent - but covering it with clear plastic and using a white base sheet it does now feel like a specifically constructed piece -- do anyone else agree or do you feel it is too much like a tent still?

Jess: A tent is a familiar structure at least people will know to go in it and it's a very specialised looking tent!

Olivia: the tent is a wonderful semiotic object - so many rich readings of it

 Olivia: i think the choice of white a tabula rasa is a canvas for those experiences

 Mariana: I agree... I think it also follows the generative aspect of her work.

Louis: I think is will have more of an organic feel than a tent, but dome tents look organic to me.

Moira: I think the balloons and the transparent material make it look like it was constructed for a specific reason.

 Olivia: i think the use of balloon will make a change and make it look more like a morphinc construction, but still resemble a tent /sanctuary /cocoon

Mariana: when I imagine how all the different size balloons will look in the dome, I picture it with that pattern look of what she has been filming.

Jess: You don't often have a transparent tent either, the idea of accent is usually to provide a private space.

Moira: I really like how it's looking actually I would only be concerned about how to display the videos.

Moira: without ruining the flow of the tent.

Olivia: actually saying cocoon maybe if the fabric was woven?

Madeline: I think I would probably try and 'hide' the fact it is tent poles. I think it works but I would really layer up the transparent materials...

Jess: Accent - a tent

Moira: I think that a projection is the way to go.

Moira: but you could experiment and see how it looks like.

Louis: sometimes if one monitor is hard to place but possibly using more than one and different sizes could solve the problem.

 Louis: a safe haven

 Jonathan: Kay - I think Jess made a good point earlier about how a transparent tent questions the very nature of a tent being a private space - this is not a negative thing but certainly important to think through.
Jonathan: also Kay - when Madeline said earlier about trying to 'hide' the tent poles - maybe using layers and layers of plastic might be worth trying - if you used cling film for example it could actually act as a structural element - when you use loads of that it becomes very strong and solid feeling even though it still have a translucency.

 Madeline: It might then come to look like a cocoon.

 Louis:  another of natures safe havens.

Jonathan: yes

Madeline : Hmm protective and inviting - ?

 Louis: a cocoon implies a transformation after the experience
 Louis: or during.

Jess: Do you want it to be claustrophobic inside?

Madeline: (Kay, did you think we'd all get stuck on the tent?!)

Louis: will you need a warning about flash photography.

Jess: Will it get hot inside?

Jonathan: Madeline  - I was just thinking exactly the same thing ;)

Jonathan: and I was thinking what are the qualities of the tent...

Jonathan: you could make a cocoon type structure from woven willow for example and then cover it with transparent plastic but I quite like the idea of the tent being a movable thing, something that can be put up and down in different locations, on a beach, in a field, on a street even.

Louis: that is the major advantage to dome tents.

Jonathan: Kay this line from Olivia is very good 'a trip to the subconscious where you can expose yourself' - I wonder if that starts to resolve the tent as a translucent object - very good Olivia.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Talk by James Bridle at the Lighthouse

In a previous post I wrote about my response to James Bridle's concept of  The New Aesthetic. Last week I also went to a  talk by James, which was at the the Lighthouse in Brighton. Thanks to Jonathan for telling me about it :-)

I haven't been feeling very well lately and my head felt slightly arrghhh when I went to this talk, so I know that I haven't remembered everything, and it probably wasn't in this order either, so I do apologize.

The talk began by showing a projection of different coloured pixels streaming from a Flickr site in America, well I think it was America, which created an abstract colourful rain drop effect. James had made this that morning which was quite impressive.

Another projection was shown of a little story book. James's mum had kept this from when he was very young. I think it was his first ever picture story book that he had made. He also discussed how some people have emotional attachments to books (obviously his mum had). I wasn't exactly sure if he felt this way too, but since he has printed quite a lot of books I assumed so, but I don't actually remember him saying if he did. I know people that feel this way too, they prefer to read an actual book rather than read from an electronic device. To be honest I don't understand this, as for me personally I prefer the content not the form, though perhaps I do prefer the form, only the digital form, with back lit screens, text that I can change to any size, along with having more space for books than I could ever have dreamed possible before the digital age!

James talked about how in India they are scanning thousands of paper books to convert into digital, and how by doing this it is making changes to the original text, due to either bad scanning errors, or people  trying to translate these errors, even people may deliberately add in their own text into the digital version! Also in places such as Peru there are also many pirated books which are all slightly different. I found it really amusing when he mentioned that he had found books with some of the characters in Harry Potter to be different :-)

The topic of James's publications arose and James mentioned how he made a book of his Twitter updates titled: My Life in Tweets.  I found this quite amusing, and even more so to find out that some people were disturbed by this, due to these Tweets being in their unnatural environment! He also talked about how he had printed 50 copies of a book based on Charles Dickens’ novel Hard Times, originally subtitled For These Times. The paperback books were identical but contained different text! Furthermore he had  printed a twelve volume set of the history of the Iraq War from Wikipedia along with all the changes to the Iraq war. Click here to view. I found this twist in conversion from the digital to physical world to be quite interesting especially after James had mentioned previously about what was happening with the scanning of paper books to digital. This made me think more about the accuracy of the data on Wiki, and whether this information had originated from a person telling the truth or someone making it up or just difference of opinion, or a bot writing the data, which then James has taken and reproduced in the physical world, thus adding another level to this confusion.

James mentioned that he has a historian friend and how a historian's job is to also muddy the water so to speak. Everyone wants clear cut answers, but in reality there aren't any. I found this quite fascinating that James was working on similar lines to his historian friend, and the fact that this muddiness was also taken place via the scanning of paper to digital conversions, which then seemed inevitable to happen to all sources of data.

Another publication called: Where the F**k Was I?  is a book consisting of maps from various locations of his whereabouts which were recorded on his iphone without no prior knowledge. These iphones caused a slight uproar since some people were not happy being tracked due to privacy, but James appeared very excited! What is quite intriguing is that the phone not only stored James's locations but also the iphones cell towers and wireless networks creating and storing patterns within the digital infrastructure, which I think adds an almost weird sentience to its digital/physical mapping!

While I found this all very captivating I think my favourite part of this talk was finding out about a project called:  A Ship Adrift  which is a ship on the roof of the Southbank Centre in London, where a weather station has been set up. The data plots an imaginary route,  for the ship to embarks on its travels, picking up various data along the way, such as tweets and posts on dating sites, and geotagged wiki articles, and it's trying to make some sort of sense out of this acquired knowledge! I found this quite fascinating due to the randomness of the weather plotting its imaginary journey, along with the gathering of data along the way. I thought this was such a fab idea, merging the physical, virtual and imaged worlds together which all formed its existence. This also made me question if this existence was relevant, and of course it is.

I really enjoyed this talk. It was really good to hear more about James's work which I found to be really inspiring :-)

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The New Aesthetic?

While reading a transcript of Waving at the Machines by James Bridle, I couldn't help but disagree with an aspect of his ideas on the New Aesthetic where he suggests that pixellated images have originated from the digital world and have emerged  into the real world in various forms of Art and Architecture. While in some cases this may be the inspiration behind certain physical manifestations depending on the individual or a group of people behind the work. However I don't think this aesthetic has originated from the digital world!

I grew up playing with Lego, Stickle Bricks and kaleidoscopes and I would argue that this aesthetic originated in the real world, not the digital world! This inspired me to create the artwork below :-)

The New Aesthetic?

Ok I know that my humour is very silly :-)

For James he obviously grew up with seeing pixellated effects originating from the digital world.

Regarding this artwork: New York Street Art  he says:

    This is the natural way that someone who’s grown up with eight-bit video games sees the world.   This is the grain and resolution of it.

So I can see why James thinks this as he grew up with it.

I don't think this is age related either since I have a seven year old niece that loves Lego, and I know that she would think some of these images in James's talk were inspired by Lego too. But, indeed there may be other people out there that may say that this aesthetic originated from something else not Lego either!

I think it really depends on the individual person and what you grew up seeing first, but personally for me I saw these pixellated effects in Lego first, and knowing these toys were around before the digital world - Lego 1930's, Kaleidoscopes 1817,  I would  have to disagree with this aspect in his concept of the New Aesthetic.