About this event
Tuesday 18 November 2014 – Monday 5 January 2015
enter is Watermans’ annual exhibition showcasing the emerging talent in the field of new media art and design. The exhibiting artists have been handpicked from some of the country’s leading Academic institutions that offer unique opportunities in exploring art, design and technology. The selected artists take different approaches to the use of technologies in their practice in order to address and articulate their responses to contemporary issues.
Participating artists and work displayed:
In Blanket Party and V is for Volition Motha!, the foremost concerns within the work are the aesthetics of disappearance in contemporary warfare,interconnectedness of labour and commodities, repetitive action…as traumatic neurosis, the visible and invisible, the externalization and transformation of memory within the realm of conflict and how these processes affect our notions as political beings in a wider social/virtual spectrum.
Sara Umar (b. December 1978, Karachi, Pakistan) completed her BFA in Graphic Design from Bilkent University, Turkey. After years of working in the advertising sector, she unravelled herself from the corporate fabric and on to completing her MFA in Fine Arts from Goldsmiths University, London. Her practice investigates the complexities of the information illusion, visible political/ historical constructs and hidden violence, traumatic memory and fictitious narrative in contemporary war and conflict. Through her work she reconfigures materials/ objects and their symbolic meanings so that they operate in contradiction to one another whilst forming newer contexts.
Anuradha Reddy & Samantha Miller
On a daily basis, we give away large amounts of personal data to online companies and services. Yet, we rarely think about where our data is located, where does it travel to and where is it stored? Our use of and reliance on ‘the cloud’ can make it seem as though our data is floating and abstract, but there are vast physical centres around the globe that are responsible for the safekeeping of our personal data. The Wired Eye attempts to highlight this and draw our attention to these physical locations of data storage. Using information from our internet browsing history, the device retrieves the IP addresses of recently visited websites. From these IP addresses, it finds the associated data centres used by these companies and pulls an aerial image of the centre using satellite imagery.
The Wired Eye displays a slideshow of these images through a kaleidoscopic lens, inviting play and wonder around visuals that are both strange and beautiful. The optical distortion comments on the blurry nature of our knowledge of our data’s whereabouts at any given moment, as it is constantly moving, shifting between servers and travelling across the world in a span of milliseconds. The Wired Eye aims to provoke curiosity in further exploring the complex relationship between our online data and geographical sites of storage.
Anuradha Reddy is an Interaction Designer with an interest in critically exploring the relationship between people and technology. She is currently investigating the human component in machine learning and intelligent systems, and exploring ways to unravel what such machines are capable of and how we may converse with systems that learn. She currently lives in London where she is pursuing a masters degree in Interaction Research at Goldsmiths. She holds a post-graduate degree in New Media Design from NID, Ahmedabad and a bachelors of engineering degree in Electronics and Instrumentation from BITS, Pilani. She recently interned at Microsoft Research and Superflux Ltd as an Interaction Designer. Her work has been exhibited internationally at the Microsoft Design Expo and the Yahoo! USID Academic Showcase.anuradhareddy.com
Samantha Miller is a designer and researcher, combining design and sociology for meaningful, thought-provoking, and playful projects. Her current work includes material-led design research into graphene and exploring the use of photography as a design research method.
Sam holds a BA in Sociology from New York University, and is currently pursuing an MA in Design: Interaction Research at Goldsmiths, University of London. She recently was a Design Research Intern at STBY, specialising in early-stage design research for service innovation. Her work has been presented at the Microsoft Research Design Expo in Seattle, WA.
Lessons from a machine: A critical look at machines teaching children
This project looks critically at the ethical issues involved if we were to invite machines to teach children. The primary objective is to speculate on a future where machines are already instructing our children and have become part of daily life.
As part of school and home education, the system uses traditional social psychology experiments to understand, evaluate and teach complex human emotions. These include lessons on morals, building character, concepts of gratification and ethics.
The work on display showcases psychological experiments the artist conducted to test out how a child and machine might interact – could the machine engage with and influence childrens’ development? With this work, she wanted to raise concerns over the extent to which we are willing to introduce machines and technological solutions into children’s lives.
Could an algorithmic model that has earned society’s trust through teaching also gain persuasive control over individuals?
Promila Roychoudhury is an interaction designer/ researcher based in London, who specialises in speculating implications of design and technologies in our society. She graduated from the Royal College of Art, studying Design Interactions in 2014. Her recent works are on future of play, which tries to critically assess the concepts of playfulness and games in our society. She is focusing on understanding and speculating how play might evolve in the future with new technologies.
Current smart device platforms increasingly encourage instantaneous cloud based image syncing and sharing. There is certain nonchalance towards the idea of intimate memories residing in remote cloud servers. Meanwhile, Facebook’s new deep face learning algorithm (accurate to 97.7%) is closing the gap to human level performance in identity verification.
The increased societal acceptance towards cloud storage coupled with the recent advances in computer vision technology, affords a vision for a solution for arising identity privacy concerns in public spaces.
‘Pixel Currency’ addresses the issue of identity privacy arising from the rise of public imaging devices in the near-future. It proposes the implementation of a central screening mechanism for all captured image data. This mechanism, governed by rules defined at the state level, would operate at two levels:
That of the individual; Allowing a citizen to define the settings for the viewership rights of his captured form. They may choose to commoditize their form or protect it.
That of the Volumetric Estate owners; Allowing entities to own set XYZ co-ordinates, traded according to value and popularity. The price of image capturing these ‘Volumes’ is dictated by the underlying intent of the image capturer.
The individual settings of a citizen, coupled with the tariff model of the ‘Volume’ would dictate the materialization and the price of the digital image. Images might be free, free (sponsored), with limited licensing, full licensing or silenced.
The project hints at possible ways of commodification of identities and spaces when an image screening mechanism is implemented at the network level. Thus aims to show both the positive and negative implications of a technology, which is created with the intent of addressing the issue of identity privacy in the ubiquitous imaging paradigm.
‘Beyond Blood’ imagines a legal system where algorithms take over the inheritance process during intestacy situations where the deceased has not left a will and the state has to distribute the estates.
In his book Shaping Things, science fiction writer Bruce Sterling predicts that in the near-future every object will be tracked and logged by a computer system. He called these objects SPIMES. This project builds on this theory to suggest that by tracking people and objects over a number of years, computers will be able to infer the significance of an object to a particular individual. It can then designate assets based on different parameters, which can be altered by the policy makers.
The project explores this through an examination of the life and death of Howard Hughes, an American aviator and movie maker who passed in 1976 without leaving a will. Unmarried and without children at the time of his death, Hughes’ US$2.5 billion estate was eventually split in 1983 among 22 cousins whom he had never visited, and never liked.
‘Beyond Blood’ uses the film “Aviator”, which depicts the life of Howard Hughes, to create a fictional computational model for generating a will on Hughes’ behalf. In this alternative history of the life of Howard Hughes, every asset and object is a “spime” that senses human interactions and is tracked and logged by computer systems.
Sures Kumar is a speculative designer interested in the implications of technology in our society. He focuses on algorithms and their applications in sentimental decision-making processes. His prior works falls under the domain of interaction design and digital art. Sures Kumar’s work has been published in Wired, FastCoDesign, Core77, Arduino Blog, CNN, CreativeApplications, Animal Newyork, PSFK, PitaPixels, Complex etc. and also has been exhibited internationally at the ACM Siggraph and Yahoo! USID Academic Showcase.
He currently lives in London and is working for Google. He recently graduated from the Royal College of Art, London and earlier from the National Institute of Design, India. He gives workshops and teaches creative coding and projection mapping techniques at various universities. He has worked for Microsoft Inc and has interned at Local Projects, NYC where his works include developing several interactive solutions for Cleveland Museum of Art, Civil Debate Interactive Wall at the Bob Graham Centre for Public Service, University of Florida and the National September 11th Memorial Museum at Ground Zero.
Loop d’ Loop
A performative co design project
Loop d’ Loop is a DIY kit of parts designed for British-born teenagers aged 13 -18 years old in the recreation hall of the New Choice for Youth Centre, East London. The parts when assembled, results in inflatable seating that twists, customized with visuals. The seating comes in modules, which when attached to one another forms variety permutations and combinations as per functions. The project was focused to intervene in NCY center to collaboratively produce a set of modular seating representing each individual. The aim was to explore the potentials of community space as a place for freedom in expression, informal meeting and a new imagination. Exploring the relation of body, space and time through weekly workshops of two hours per session, the New Choice Centre youth participated in four sets of theatre exercises, brainstorming sessions, reflections and model making workshops using design methods. The methods were categorized into, mapping the space – understanding of space, model making – imagined space, art it out- expressing feeling and motivation on the seating, Matrix – creating connections by attaching the modules to create different layouts. As a result, fifteen teenagers ended up expressing their understanding of tolerance, collaboration and co-creation, by developing a modular seating system based on their new ideas of space, place and people.
Gillian Hipp, Movement Psychotherapy
Luca Pons, Graphic Design
James Corp, Carpentry
Farida Alhusseini, Manasi Pophale; Text
Kristian Bridge (head), Omar, Hassan, Nathan; NCY Trust
Anuj Anjaria, Interior Design & Kinetic Sculpture
Bran Whitwell- Mak, Video
Erwin Bo Yi, Multimedia Design
Marie Durand Yamamoto, Fabric
Kasse wong, Volunteer Help
Soumya Basnet is a Designer from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, UAL, London, in MA Creative Practice for Narrative Environments. Originally from Sikkim, India, her background is in Space Design/ Interior Architecture. She graduated from the School of Interior Design, CEPT University, Gujarat, India. Recently she collaborated with scientists at KAIST, Daejeon, South Korea to develop a product used for detecting and healing mental health. Her keen interest to combine design and theatre focused into highly experiential environments for the public, led to her bachelors thesis on Scenography. Ever since then she has been involved in creating immersive environments based on user experience and a strong body of research work. Exposure to nature right from her childhood helped her develop a very strong sensitivity towards environment, situation and details.
Dreaming in CMYK
This project challenges the way designers normally apply colour to interior and exterior spaces, through a return to a more playful, instinctive and elemental application. Combining two independent process, wood charring as a finish and processed CMYK printing as a means to colour, CMYK pigment is melted on wood to create vibrant finishes. Designers are used to picking colours in a clinical fashion – chemically mixed CMYK, added through a precise mechanical method such as printing, or powder coating. Studying the way Indian culture celebrates colour, Avantika looks at the application of CMYK to colour our architectural environments in a completely unexpected manner. In the ancient Indian tradition of Rangoli, the women of the home would every morning draw patterns using pure colour powders in the entranceway as a welcome and blessing, taking pride in this daily ritual of ornamentation. Inspired by this intuitive and natural application of colour in homes, Avantika started powdering pigments to create patterns on surfaces. Experimentation with solid CMYK toner pigment, lead to her discovery of the toner as a wood finish due to it’s waxy nature. As with Rangoli, a primitive and unpretentious celebration of colour, here colour finds purpose through application. Colour is no longer a cosmetic after thought, it is the central element. Its significance is literally seared into the design.
In collaboration with Louie Rigano (www.louierigano.com )
Building on a previous project, Dreaming in CMYK, the char-colour furniture is coloured through burning CMYK pigment on wood to create vibrant and animated waxed finishes. Just as cyan, magenta, yellow and black are the primary units of the colour spectrum, simple forms are used in various combinations to create a dynamic range of furniture. Two independent processes, wood charring as a finish and processed CMYK printing as a means to colour, are combined in a collection of modular furniture which highlight the analog gradation made possible by this method of manual colour application. The combination of synthetic pigments (which allow the full color spectrum to be procured with utmost ease and consistency) and a bespoke traditional finishing technique (which uses fire as a primal tool to protect wood) is simultaneously recollective and forward-thinking.
Reweave is a project that explores India’s rich history of resist dyed fabrics. Ikat weaving involves resist dying yarn prior to weaving. When hand woven, this produces intricate fabrics with multi-layered abstracted patterns. Due to the time consuming nature of the craft, however, its modern evolution has seen digital reproduction as a means to preserve ikat’s aesthetics, and the role of the craftsmen has diminished. Through collaborating with craftsmen and introducing digital techniques into the process the project creates new and unexpected textile patterns.
While the traditional geometric patterns are beautiful in their own right, Reweave takes the notion of pattern abstraction to the extreme, using digital printers to print photographs on to yarn as a means of dying the thread. The photos are then unravelled and hand-woven, creating new abstracted textiles.
This technique introduces a new way for us to perceive images and colour by using digital methods capture exact visuals and then using a very handcrafted method to pixelate them.
Avantika chose photographs of urban Indian landscapes as her source material as she saw a unique chance to celebrate the unbridled appearance of colour in India through richly abstracted colour studies. The idea of India as colourful is a case of truth exceeding cliché, but people generally don’t realize the extent of it. Freed from the straitjacket of figurative representation, the colours, when abstracted through the weaving process, are allowed to take on a life if their own, merging in the textiles to form new colour landscapes.
Avantika Agarwal is a (product) designer currently based in London and India. She grew up in India, then flew across the ocean to California to pursue a degree in product design at Stanford (’12), and finally moved to London to complete an MA at the RCA (’14).
She enjoys working with craft, and exploring its evolution, finding ways to blend eastern and western cultures. She blames the Bay Area for her interest in business and strategy. She is a synesthete and so is pretty obsessed with colour. As a synesthete Avantika is particularly sensitive to colour and so has always had a tendency to be very bold in her choices – and she is beginning to realise that this tendency comes largely from her Indian upbringing. Colour and decoration spill everywhere in an unapologetic, unbridled exuberance that’s chaotic and all encompassing yet, somewhere, there’s an underlying logic. Bringing this attitude towards colour and ornamentation to a western environment, she started questioning the application of what is usually considered a final cosmetic skin. Her work uses CMYK, but in a completely unexpected manner to create products and experiences that are centrally focussed upon the choice and application of colour.
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