On [Digital Experience]: Write-up

21 June 2011

Last Thursday we launched the first talk of our five part talk series: On [Digital Experience]. We were treated to fascinating insights by all three speakers on the subject of digital experience and the intersection between art, design and technology.

Ross Phillips kicked off the night introducing us to a range of projects that seek to “give the audience a chance to be creative” through interactive elements. Ross stressed that the context and physical environment plays a key factor in how people respond to his work. Videogrid, a 5×5 grid allows you to record 4×1 second videos, offering the viewer an open canvas to do what they want; the work becomes a nice piece of narrative. However, the same project exhibited in different spaces, has produced extremely surprisingly varied behavior and reactions. Projects such as Mirror Mirror installed at Topshop, were provocative in that they examined new contexts for art to be exhibited, and challenged how retail space is perceived and used.

Stewart Smith charmed us with four playful projects that illustrate the interrelationship between art, design and coding (he dubs it the bermuda triangle). In contrast to Ross’ public scale work, Stewart said his work was primarily viewed in a domestic / private context, often as a solitary experience which blurred the boundary about what art is; he commented that digital work and in fact all art is only considered “art” when you present it that way, and use the right language to convince people. His explorations into digital artwork longevity were particularly fascinating, citing a project which merged hi-tech and lo-tech media and demonstrated 30yrs of software compatibility between the Ipad and apple 2 (a million times slower than the Ipad!).

It was fascinating to hear Daniel Brown talk about his projects, and how his background had informed his work. His experience of working in the digital realm was marked by personal experiences; he sustained an injury leaving him disabled but due to the new direction / generation of aesthetics, he is still able to work as he creates imagery through code rather than by hand. Daniel’s work experiments with aesthetics and beauty, offering shifting perceptions / variations of how things appear through manipulation of colour, image and design.

The evening ended with a group discussion where we heard about each of their ideas on open-source technology, and the boundaries between sharing and copying. They all seemed to agree that we’re in a transition period, that younger generations will teach older digital artists a lot, and education will become increasingly reliant on digital experience, learning through play and interaction. We were left to consider that as we become evermore exposed to technology in our day to day lives, this will no doubt change how we consume and behave in physical environments.

Thank you to everyone that came along. The atmosphere was great, the free drinks flowed and we didn’t want it to end.

Tickets for On [Motivation] next Tuesday 28th June have sold out, but we will be launching On [Innovation & Ownership] next week so make sure you don’t miss out!

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Maya Davies

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