Lasercut contour maps of what's underwater. Gorgeous.
New Work: Spirits Melted Into Air
22 November 2012
I’m excited to be able to share Spirits Melted Into Air with you: a two-week exploration I produced with the Royal Shakespeare Company, as part of their myShakespeare project.
The work is in parts a technology prototype, data visualisation, and artwork. Custom-built, open-source software is used to analyse performance video and generate plots of actors’ positions on stage from a perspective viewpoint. These plots are then used to generate new, secondary artworks: posters, and laser-cut wooden shapes.
The project emerged from an initial workshop and commission by Caper, where we explored various potential ways for technologists to collaborate with the RSC on short projects. From there, I dealt with the RSC direct, meeting key members of their team and understanding a bit more about the various factors influencing performances and productions there.
It was great to be able to take such a fluid, interpretative approach to the work. With hindsight, this was unsurprising: the RSC’s business is interpretation – taking Shakespeare and producing entirely new productions each year, of plays they have often performed countless times. My work was similarly interpretative: initially, building software to explore the data, and then exploring that data as a material – before moving onto the further material exploration of output formats. It’s the sort of structure to work that I’m fond of.
It was also great to have a brief to shape, and ultimately push myself: not just exploring a single technical idea, but seeing it through, end-to-end, to output and display. It was important to me that whatever came out of it – however prototype-y – was both beautiful and accessible. I think the output – especially the lasercuts – has stood up to that internal demand.
Thanks to Rachel and Kat at Caper for setting up the initial commission and the workshops; to Sarah and Ida, for producing the work from the RSC so superbly; and to everyone I met at the RSC who offered insight, ideas, and knowledge.
You can find out more at the Spirits Melted Into Air website.
And, if you’d like to know more about it, or indeed, to work with me on similar work – be it investigative, creative, or artistic – do get in touch.
"Give us dimensions, and we'll generate a PDF you can use to cut a notched box on a laser-cutter." Ooh, nifty.
"Driven by my devotion for vinyls and analog processes (perhaps a bit of Dj wannabe too), and emulating the audio tape cut&paste technique, I tried to make the vinyl sampling a bit more analog – literally cut and paste pieces of vinyl to create samples." Cut & Paste with physical vinyl; bonus points for excellent Delia Derbyshire video.
"I’m not saying that a book that makes you cry is a great book. It would be a wonderful criterion if only it worked, but alas it admits effective sentimentality, the knee-jerk/heart-string stimulus. For instance, a lot of us cry when reading of the death of an animal in a story — which in itself is interesting and significant, as if we give ourselves permission to weep the lesser tears — but that is something else and less. A book that makes me cry the way music can or tragedy can – deep tears, the tears that come of accepting as my own the grief there is in the world — must have something of greatness about it."
"Picking out political buzzwords from 2008 is like shooting moose in a pigpen. The fundamentals were so dizzyingly strong, it could be tough to keep them all straight." Good selection, though, both political and non.
"Waveform Series is the laser-cut shapes of the waveform of the sound in sound editing software environment. I used some human sound such as yawn, atchoum, giggle, wow, and the sound of church bell." Utterly, utterly gorgeous.
"A Mac OS X Leopard developer tool for debugging HTTP services by graphically creating & inspecting complex HTTP messages." Oh, that could come in handy.
Lovely way to generate pages for your github projects – and to do so as a branch of said project. Clever.
Really, Really Big Bad Exploit found in Eve Online… after 4 years – PlayNoEvil Game Security News & Analysis"CCP Games has uncovered an exploit in Eve Online that survived in the game for 4 years and may have had a massive impact on the game and game economy." Read the links for more details; suffice to say, EVE is going through a major economic upheaval right now; exploits that have lasted for four years are no longer viable, and everything's getting very expensive. Sound familiar?
"Semi-jestfully I would talk with my friends about how stupid it would be to get an I <3 Helvetica tattoo… an even stupider idea would be to get it as a tramp stamp. Well, I got good reviews from my posse and impulsively I got it last night…" Oh boy.