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art, research and play in creative interaction design

Aeolian Light musings

Aeolian Light @garethhacking

Aeolian Light, our latest outdoor public artwork, comes down tomorrow morning. As we head up the M5 and M6 ready to cut cable ties and load 12,000 wet LEDs into the back of a truck, we are pondering the events surrounding the work. The weather was definitely a challenge (it rained throughout the install, though apparently a bit less since), there were various technical issues, the piece seems to have been used very robustly on occasions (a couple of striking breakages have been reported), but the piece survived throughout, and seems to have been a popular attraction for the many thousands of visitors to the installation, just outside the Lowry Theatre in Salford, Greater Manchester.

Putting work on outdoors makes for a very different experience to the controlled environment of the art gallery, or indeed any indoor space. There is less of the hushed awe of the art gallery (i.e. more like a party atmoshphere, raucous laughter, running around etc). But what was most extraordinary was the length of time people spent in the work – upwards of an hour in many cases, in the wet and freezing northern English winter.

Coverage includes The Guardian (in print today, photo highlight of the day on 5 Jan), the Times (arts critic choice ‘top pick’ in print and online), Wired UKLuxurious MagazineCulture 24, interviews on Granada TV and BBC Radio Manchester, and mentions in the Scottish Sun, After Nyne, ArtsHub and many more.

Also some touching and beautiful social media contributions – in particular on Twitter (also search Aeolian Light or #SquidsoupQuays) – thanks everyone for coming to see the work and telling others about it. It’s been a great experience. Thanks also to Quays Culture and University of Salford for commissioning the work.

Some nuggets from the Twittersphere above and below:

Aeolian Light @garethhacking

Blue is the warmest colour Claire Wroe

Aeolian Light at Salford Quays

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Following on from Submergence, our latest piece to use arrays of light in 3D space is a new commission called Aeolian Light. The piece, commissioned by Quays Culture and University of Salford, is a 10m x 10m piece, 5m high and comprising around 12,000 individually addressable points of light suspended in space.

Inspired by the windy location, the piece visualises the wind as an illuminated chaotic force. Virtual debris and imaginary fields of energy pass through the work, carried on the wind in gusts and blasts. The strings and lights also sway physically in the wind, and people add a layer of illumination and turbulence as they walk through the piece.

Video and more information coming soon. More images here.

Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, until 7 January 2015.

#squidsoupquays. Commissioned by Quays Culture and University of Salford.

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Digital Catapult

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We are delighted to be showing Volume 936, a smaller iteration in the Ocean of Light series, as part of Digital Catapult‘s Showcase Exhibits as part of the launch season at their new headquarters at 101 Euston Road. More information on the showcase here. The piece will be on show until 10th December 2014. If you’re in the area, do please come and see the work. Venue details here.

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Volume 936 uses the same technology as Submergence, but configured as a much smaller array of lights.

[Small is beautiful, but look out also for our next piece, which will be over 12 times larger than Volume 936! Announcement coming soon]

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Room – Submergence as interior design

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Phaidon’s just published book ‘ROOM – Inside Contemporary Interiors’ is a massive and fascinating compendium covering a very broad range of interior spaces. It features 100 interiors selected by 10 ‘widely respected interior design critics, practitioners and curators’. Projects were selected for ‘pushing the boundaries of design and constantly revising our understanding of interior space’.

Miles Kemp, author of Interactive Architecture and founder of interactive design agency Variate and product design company Digital Physical, selected Submergence as one of his ten interior spaces.

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Photography playground, Cologne

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Submergence installed at Cologne’s photography playground. Good to see it up and running again. The event is at Jack-in-the-Box, Vogelsanger Str. 231, 50825 Cologne. It runs from 11th September till 5th October, open noon to 8pm and it’s FREE. More information here.

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Submergence at Kunstfrühling, Bremen

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Submergence is on show at Kunstfrühling, Bremen, Germany, May 15-25 2014

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More images HERE
 
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New Submergence exhibition (Holland)

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We are delighted to be returning to the Netherlands. This time CULTUURWERF, in Vlissingen, will be hosting Submergence from 18th January until 2nd March 2014. The gallery is open from 13.00 – 17.00 Thursdays to Sundays. Directions HERE. The opening is on Saturday 18th January at 16:00 – do come!

Click on the image for full poster.

Preview of work-in-progress sketches (updated video)

To say thank you to everyone in Bristol for making our UK premiere of Submergence (see here and here) such an enjoyable and successful event, we will be showing a sneak preview, a few sketches from our latest work-in-progress, on Monday 16th December and Tuesday 17th December, from 4pm to 10pm at The Eye, in Bristol. The sketches work on some of our favourite themes – digital materiality, decay, granularity and virtual movement in physical space. Do please come!

Using the same 3D LED array system as our latest piece Submergence, we have created a few sketches that use an alternative approach to building digital form that occupies physical space.

Imagine if each physical light had a virtual twin, able to move freely in space. These 8,064 virtual points of light can be choreographed to collectively suggest form and movement, resulting in a different aesthetic to our previous work – more fragmented, unpredictable, organic. You see the virtual lights through the filter of their physical equivalents.

This is a work-in-progress, a direction of travel – but definitely not a final, coherent piece.

This preview, and the exhibition of Submergence that preceded it, were made possible thanks to the tireless efforts of Watershed, the Pervasive Media Studio and the PG Group.

More info here.

Bronze at Best Awards NZ!

Our Volume 4,096 project, a permanent install at Royal Society New Zealand, has been awarded BRONZE in the category of spatial design at New Zealand’s BEST AWARDS 2013.

Sweet as…

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UK premiere of Submergence in Bristol

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We are delighted to be showing Submergence again soon, and on home territory.

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The piece is FREE to visit, and open from Friday 13th September until Saturday 12th October It is a two minute walk from Bristol Temple Meads Station, just across the pedestrian bridge from the excellent Creative Common. BS2 0DW will apparently GPS you there. Opening times are 12.00-14.00 and 17.00-21.00 Monday – Friday, and all day at weekends (12.00-21.00).

This, from the press release:

Visitors will experience a virtual world, where pixels on a screen are replaced by thousands of points of light floating in space. Created by award-winning digital artists Squidsoup, Submergence has never been seen before in the UK. With two successful international showings at the Geneva Mapping Festival and in Oslo, the remarkable creation is finally ready to land back in Bristol, for its UK premiere.

This breath-taking installation is designed to be experienced from inside a large black cube (8 metres x 4 metres). Once inside you can walk freely around, creating a three-dimensional immersive experience: you are completely surrounded by light, sound and movement. The installation takes around 20 minutes to unfold, as the lights gradually increase in intensity.

You can find Submergence in The Eye, beautifully placed overlooking the water on Glass Wharf, just over the bridge from the lively Creative Common and Temple Meads Station.

Submergence is part of a series of Bristol Temple Quarter commissions, coordinated by Watershed, Knowle West Media Centre and MAYK, with support from Bristol City Council and Arts Council England. They will pop up, excite and re-invent perceptions and potentials.

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A whole bunch of pictures HERE on the setup and background workings of the project. We’ve also been posting a few bits and bibs on Instagram.