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Connected Art at EVA16 and HCI16

Fri, 19 Aug 2016

Connected Art at EVA16 and HCI16

In mid-July at the Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA) conference in London and the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) conference in Bournemouth I exhibited a collection of my new Arts Council England supported "connected" interactive artworks. This was the first time that I have exhibited this particular set of pieces and it was a great opportunity to try out some of the ideas that will be behind my Arts Council supported exhibition in December.

The collection consisted of nine separate pieces. Three screen-based, three LED-based and three high quality prints. They were all framed in the same style frame. The screen-based pieces were powered by PC sticks and connect to the internet in order to exchange information and the LED pieces used internet-connectable Photon microcontrollers.

For the exhibition I placed a screen-based piece, two LED-based pieces and a print in London and a screen-based piece, an LED-based pieced and two prints in Bournemouth. The remaining screen-based piece remained at my studio in Leicester. The internet was used to exchange colours and movement triggers between the artworks. This meant that, despite their geographic distance, all three locations were connected via the artworks.

All nine pieces used common organisational rules, be they dynamic patterns for the digital pieces or static ones for the the prints. Within each piece there were also multiple layers of organisation. For example, the prints were composed of three or four patterns each. The result was a complex, but understandable, multi-system artwork.

My aim in exhibiting these works was to explore both the practicalities and conceptual issues involved in showing work of this kind. It worked well. Firstly, I was happy that the artworks functioned as intended - although I did encounter some connectivity problems that I will now be aware of in the future. Next, I was very pleased that people seemed to get the "connectedness" idea and were fascinated when they saw interactions in the artworks triggered by people in remote locations. Finally, people's aesthetic response to the work was very positive - in other works they thought they looked good!

This bodes well for my "A Cybernetic Ecology" exhibition in Leicester in December where I will be showing an expanded collection of twenty or more such artworks, including sound and large-scale light pieces. Pictures from both locations in the EVA/HCI exhibition can be seen here on Flickr.

Author: Sean Clark