Bcc:

I have been commissioned by Decoy Magazine to produce a new artwork for Bcc: their subscription programme for unique digital art:

Bcc: is a monthly digital art subscription curated by Decoy Magazine.

By subscribing to Bcc: you will receive a newly commissioned artwork to your inbox each month, in the form of a small digital file. These digital artworks are released exclusively to subscribers. The works have never been exhibited before, will only be released once, and will not be presented anywhere else for one year.

Each month’s subscription fee goes towards commissioning a new artwork from prominent and emerging digital artists working in such forms as sound, video, jpgs, gifs, code, ASCII, interactive media, text art. This project is more than a mailing list, it is an act of collective patronage and support for a generation of digital artists.

If you want to see some new work from me be sure to sign up the programme before 27th June!

Assembly Birmingham, 15th June

Over the last few months I’ve been working with a-n to organise Assembly Birmingham, which will be taking place on 15th June at the newly reopened Eastside Projects.

The second a-n Assembly event for 2018 will take place at Eastside Projects in Birmingham, an artist-led gallery space established in 2008. Working in collaboration with artist and curator Antonio Roberts, Assembly Birmingham will address the increasing amount of development taking place across the city and the Midlands as a whole, exploring both the opportunities and the challenges this presents for the visual arts community in the region.

In 2017 Arts Council England invested £90 million in Birmingham-based National Portfolio Organisations, while the government’s multi-billion-pound investment in high-speed railway HS2, which is due to open in December 2026, will reshape the city’s landscape. Numerous artist-led galleries and commercial creative industries, including Eastside Projects, have established a presence in the Digbeth area of Birmingham in recent years, taking advantage of low rents, large spaces and close proximity to the city centre. While an ongoing redevelopment scheme for Digbeth and the wider city reflects the city’s ambition to grow and regenerate, what impact will these changes have for artist residents?

Through a mix of presentations, discussions, artist film and a specially commissioned soundwalk through Digbeth, Assembly Birmingham will explore these competing tensions, reflecting on the opportunities artists have already built for themselves, and consider what investment and change could mean in the future.

The event will feature artists and galleries from across the West Midlands discussing how +why they made the West Midlands their home and what they think of the challenges ahead. Get your tickets now!

Blender School, 12th – 29th May 2018

On 12th, 26th and 29th May I’m going to be running a three-part workshops series focusing on how to use Blender.

Blender is a popular free and open source 3D modeling program used by professionals and amateurs for 2D/3D animation, making assets for games, video editing, motion graphics, compositing and more.

Blender school will be a three-part workshop series that will act as an introduction to the software and its features. In these workshops you will be introduced to basic concepts of animation and navigating 3D space, eventually progressing to more advanced concepts and techniques such as particle generators, sculpting and compositing.

In the workshops we will cover:

  • Compositing
  • Interpolation
  • Video Editing
  • Sculpting
  • Modifiers
  • Particles – emitters and hair
  • Navigating Blender’s interface
  • Manipulating and editing objects
  • Using keyframes for animation

Participants will need the following for the workshops:

  • Blender, which can be downloaded here: https://www.blender.org/
  • A laptop. Blender is capable of running on almost all computers. However, as a 3D modeling program it requires more resources than most programs and, preferably, a dedicated graphics card. More details of laptop specification can be found here https://www.blender.org/download/requirements/
  • A three button mouse. Many of the commands in blender require the use of left, right and middle mouse buttons.

Tickets are £20 per workshop. Tickets for the workshops can be purchased here:
12th May, 13:00 – 17:00 – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/blender-school-1-tickets-45729838177
26th May, 13:00 – 17:00 – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/blender-school-2-tickets-45730042789
29th May, 18:00 – 21:00 – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/blender-school-3-tickets-45730155125

Datamoshing using Avidemux 2.7.0

Ever since I came across datamoshing in around 2010 via Bob Weisz‘s infamous datamoshing tutorials I have only successfully created a few datamoshed videos “by hand”.

Most times the video I created would be completely broken and not in a good way! And so since them I have used semi-automated datamosh scripts for my needs, like Autodatamosh from grampajoe.

Recently as part of my lecturing role at Staffordshire University I was asked to do a workshop on datamoshing. “This will be easy” I thought as I would just dig up Weisz’s tutorials and teach that. Sure, I couldn’t datamosh back in 2010, but since then I have become way more competent in creating glitch art, learning how software works and programming in general, so learning this widely practiced process didn’t seem impossible.

Of course I was wrong.

Y’see, in the 8 years since I came across datamoshng there have been a lot of changes. Specifically, Avidemux 2.5.4, which was released in 2010 and is the version referenced in Weisz’s tutorial, has been superseded many times and is currently at version 2.7.0. From reading different community pages it was my understanding that the changes in this new version (apparently) “fixed” or “corrected” features that allowed it to be (mis)used to make datamoshed videos. For the unaware, Avidemux is free and open source software that can be used for editing video files. It’s not an NLE, but if you need to make a quick edit to a video it can be useful. It’s also the gold standard for datamoshing.

As a workaround various people have suggested ways to use the 2.5.4 version of Avidemux, even to go as far as running an old OS on a virtual machine or not updating ever. Whilst this might work for now it’s not a recommended or sustainable. In time your OS will outgrow the software which will make it or impossible to install, and old software can introduce security bugs (yes, even buggy video editors can compromise your system). So I set about trying to provide a fix and datamosh a video using Avidemux 2.7.0. Below are my results.

After downloading Avidemux 2.7.0 you will need to do convert your video to the right format for datamoshing. Grab your input video and drag it into Avidemux. For my example I’m using this clip of a person getting hit with a balloon in slow motion.

Under the Video Output change Copy to Mpeg 4 AVC (x264). Click on Configure. In this window click on the on the Frames tab and under B-frames change “Maximum Consecutive B-frames to 0”, and under I-frames change GOP- Size Minimum to 0 and Maximum to 999.

Press OK when done.

In the main window leave Audio Output as Copy and Output Format as Mkv Muxer. With the settings now specified, go to File > Save and give your reencoded file a new name (file_reencoded.mkv).

We now need to open this new file to actually datamosh it! Go to File > Close and then File > Open and select your reencoded video. If you’ve ever followed Weisz’s tutorial, especially the 2nd and 3rd part (or the many copies that have since been made) you’ll already know the process of datamoshing. You can do exactly the same at this point, but for completeness in this tutorial I will go through how to manipulate P-Frames to make the “bloom” style of datamoshing. One of my favourite videos showing this style is Monster Movie by Takeshi Murata.

Using the playhead on the Navigation toolbar, or Left and Right on your keyboard, seek to a part in the video that you want to datamosh that is also a P-Frame. I recommend finding a part of the video that has lots of movement immediately before or after that point. You can tell that you have a P-Frame as the Frame type marker in the Navigation toolbar will tell you. Once there you need to select a P-Frame and copy/paste it over and over again. To do this press the Start Marker button (a red “A” button) (or press Ctrl + PgUP). Then move one frame forward and set press the End Marker button (a white “B” button) (or press Ctrl + PgDn). With the P-Frame highlighted copy it (Ctrl + C) and then paste it (Ctrl + V). And then paste it again. And again. Many times.

The more that you paste the P-Frame the more movement you will get in the bloom effect. Now, be careful and patient when pasting your P-Frames. There is a temptation to paste it hundreds of times but this will definitely slow down Avidemux whilst it catches up. You may also crash it but I haven’t had this happen yet. Perhaps 2.7.0 is a bit more stable than previous versions!

With your P-Frame(s) now repeated set the Start and End markers to be the whole video instead of just the P-Frames you originally selected. When you do this the blue highlight box might not cover the whole area of the timeline. It’s a UI error but it didn’t negatively affect anything. Leave all the Video and Audio options as they are (set to Copy) and then save your video (File > Save). You will get a warning about cut points not being keyframes.

Ignore this and press Yes. Open the finished file in VLC (other players might not like the video).

Voila!

As many others before me have suggested, you may want to resave, or “bake” your glitched file so that your datamoshed file, which is technically a “broken” file, will play well with other video editors and viewers.

As with all things concerning glitch art when you make it you’re doing something unconventional to a file in order to corrupt it in such a way that is aesthetically pleasing. As such, sometimes things just don’t work. Perhaps your video didn’t bloom as much, or maybe removing I-Frames made the file corrupt. I’ve tested this process on Ubuntu 17.10, Windows 10 and Mac OSX and whilst I feel confident that the process will work, the results will be unpredictable. If your result doesn’t turn out as you expect on a particular file then try a different file! Maybe try copy/pasting three P-Frames at a time, or remove some I-Frames. Experiment!

My thanks go to Bob Weisz for originally writing the tutorial and to the community over at the Avidemux forums for clarifying a few things with the new version of the software.

Curating the Machine

Since May 2017, alongside everything else, I been undertaking a fellowship with Near Now in Nottingham. The Fellowship, now in its third iteration, is for anyone interested in developing a project that uses technology in a creative way.

For my fellowship I have been conducting research into the relationship been copyright, curating and automation. There are no concrete outputs yet but do take a look at the blog, Curating the Machine, which collates all of my research to date.

If any of this sparks an interest or it you want to know more please do get in touch! I’ll also be at Transmediale on a research trip (thx Near Now) at the end of January if you want to meet IRL 😺

Granular: The Material Properties of Noise, 16th January – 3rd February

From 16th January – 3rd February my 2016 piece Transformative Use will be on show at University of Greenwich as part of Granular: The Material Properties of Noise.

Granular noise is explored as a condition of material transfer in this exhibition. A central concern across the works on display is the material state change that occurs within the processes of mediation. Here, disintegration and/or reintegration of elements at a granular level is encountered as a mode of transference between states, whether physical or digital, and as a phase at which a thing starts or ceases to be.

Exhibiting artists include: Jim Hobbs, Benjamin McDonnell, Antonio Roberts, David Ryan, Audrey Samson and Rob Smith.

The exhibition features my work Transformative Use, which was originally commissioned by Hannah Pierce for the Common Property exhibition in 2016. It’s the first time it’s been exhibited since then. If you want to see some work-in-progress installation shots check out my all new arty Instagram account.

Alongside the exhibition is the Granular Colloquium, taking place on 27th January:

Utilising a range of formats from audio-visual performance to talks, this event is an experiential investigation of noise as a granular entity. State changes are a central theme. Processes of disintegration and/or reintegration of material elements at a granular level are explored, both as the mode of transference between states (whether physical or digital) and the means by which a thing starts or ceases to be.

I’ll be at that, talking a bit about glitch and its relation to copyright, as well as regular ol’ copyright. Tickets are £10.

If you didn’t get the chance to see Transformative Use in 2016 now is a great time to see a new and updated configuration of it.

Basquiat’s Brain, 12th – 28th January 2018

From 12th – 28th January a series of animated portraits, developed in response to the Boom for Real Basquiat exhibition, will be on display at Barbican.

Barbican young creatives, along with artist and curator Antonio Roberts, present a collection of work in response to Basquiat: Boom for Real

Artist and curator Antonio Roberts worked with a group of Barbican young creatives over three months to create artwork in response to the exhibition Basquiat: Boom for Real currently showing in the Barbican Art Gallery.

Over the course of four sessions the group examined artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s explosive creativity and imagined the techniques and methods he might use if he was still creating art today.

The resulting animations combine more traditional methods of creation such as photography and collage, with more experimental practices such as glitch art, digital collages, animated gifs and projections. Each animated selfportrait reflects the identity of the artist who created it.

Artists:

  • Max Baraitser Smith
  • Isabella Barbaro
  • Alex Cole
  • Hector Dyer
  • Antonio Roberts

The animations will be projected near the exit of the curve exhibition space where people are often studying. It’s hard to miss as it has my big face on it.

Many thanks to the Barbican Creative Learning team for inviting me to do this 🙂

CopyCamp 2017 video

The video of my presentation, No Copyright Infringement Intended, from CopyCamp has now been uploaded.

The presentation is largely about the No Copyright Infringement Intended exhibition along with some thoughts about how we can help artists better understand the complex area of copyright.

Photo by Rafał Nowak

Photo by Rafał Nowak

It of course featured sharks 😉 I posted a more detailed writeup of my experience for my Near Now fellowship blog, Curating the Machine.

Copyright as Frame and Prison video

The video from the Copyright as Frame and Prison panel discussion is now online. Many thanks to Michael Clifford for filming it.

Copyright as Frame and Prison

Copyright as Frame and Prison

Copyright as Frame and Prison

It was a very lively discussion, touching on many of the issues from the previous talk in Leicester but also had more viewpoints from within the creative industries. Many thanks to Lisa Beauchamp, Nikolai Nelles, and Francis Clarke for taking part and everyone for attending and having such great questions. If you missed the Leicester talk the video can be seen below.

End of No Copyright Infringement Intended

After a total of 68 days across two venues No Copyright Infringement Intended ended on 23rd September.

No Copyright Infringement Intended

No Copyright Infringement Intended

No Copyright Infringement Intended

No Copyright Infringement Intended

It’s been quite a learning experience and I’ve enjoyed pretty much every step of it! It’s been my biggest exhibition to date and I think it was a great success. I’m having a bit of a rest period so that I can go and teach at University of Westminster and Staffordshire University but I’m already planning thing for 2018.

Thank as always to Nick Briz, Emilie Gervais, Nicolas Maigret, Christopher Meerdo, Jan Nikolai Nelles & Nora Al-Badri, Duncan Poulton, Fernando Sosa, Andrea Wallace & Ronan Deazley for taking part, and to Vivid Projects and Phoenix for being such great hosts. And, lastly, thanks to Arts Council England for supporting yet another one of my projects 🙂