<2019>

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What a busy year! I think compared to previous years 2018 was filled with more (Algorave) performances and projects and less exhibitions and gifs. 2018 was also the year that Vivid Projects became one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations, which basically means that the gallery has funding for the next four years. Because of this my workload there increased and so, unlike previous year-in-review blog posts I’ll be including an overview of my work there 🙂

January

This month started off really busy with the opening of two exhibitions in London. The first was Basquiat’s Brain at Barbican. The exhibition in the foyer (near the exit of the curve gallery) was the culmination of the work I’d been doing with the Barbican’s youth group and imagines what Basquiat’s take on art could’ve been if he were alive today and working digitally.

Basquiat's Brain

Basquiat's Brain

It was only supposed to be on display for a weekend but went on to be exhibited for a few months!

Only a week later Transformative Use had another showing at the Granular exhibition at the University of Greenwich (which, btw, is liek really far from many things).

Granular: The Material Properties of Noise

My first Algorave performance of the year took place at the National Video Game Arcade’s All Your Bass Algorave event.

Elsewhere I started an Instagram account just for my art. I always felt a bit weird forcing my friends to see promotional posts about my art and exhibitions alongside personal family/friends stuff, so this kinda solves that.

February

For February I was mostly ill and preparing for the launch of Black Hole Club in March. Elsewhere stills from Basquiat’s Brain went on display on the Shoreditch Digital Canvas. Cue lots of friends sending messages asking if my big face is on a billboard!

Basquiat's Brain on Shoreditch Digital Canvas

March

At the beginning of the year I started doing workshops with the Barber Collective, which is Barber Institute of Fine Arts youth group. Over a few sessions we made animations by remixing images from the Barber’s collection. For University of Birmingham’s Arts and Science Festival we projected the finished animations on the Old Joe clock tower for one night.

Re-Animation

I then did a day of LiveCodeLab workshops for the Imagine If event at Tate Britain.

Imagine If

Black Hole Club was supposed to have its launch exhibition on 2nd March but the snow, cold weather, and the absence of insulation and heating in warehouse spaces that art galleries tend to occupy forced us to reschedule. On 30th March the cohort finally had their first exhibition.

Black Hole Club 2018 launch

Black Hole Club 2018 launch

April

A few days later couple of my videos were on display at Late at Tate Britain: Echoes.

Later in the month my commission for Spon Spun’s 2017 Art Trail was on show in the CET Building.

Spon Spun 2017: Commissions and Prize Winners

The dark industrial building was certainly a much more effective venue for the LED infinity mirrors.

I spent a little over 48 hours in Karlsruhe for an Algorave at ZKM.

Algorave Karlsruhe

I got back on a plane this time to Seveille, Spain, to deliver a presentation about No Copyright Infringement Intended at Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM). I’d previously presented about glitch at at LGM in Toronto in 2015, so it was good to be back around my peers and see how the libre graphics community has developed over the years. Y’all can watch my presentation below.

Being in the room with like-minded people allowed me to go into more of the nuances of the exhibition’s theme and spend less time on educating people about what copyright is. You can hear some of the questions at the end of that video.

To round off this busy month Black Hole Club their second exhibition, Stellar. This exhibition, co-curated with Lumen, featured works that responded to celestial events. It was also lit af 🔥🤘😩🤘🔥.

Stellar

Stellar

May

I presented an overview of my Curating the Machine research at Phoenix’s Art-AI Festival.

It’s a good video to watch if you’re curious about my still ongoing research.

The biggest event of this month saw me in Stockholm, Sweden to perform a new piece, Digital Domestic, which was commissioned by Aly Grimes (she previously commissioned me for Short Circuit Project).

The Digital Domestic

The Digital Domestic

June

I was back at Tate Britain, this time IRL to do a workshop inspired by stained glass for their Late at Tate Britain: Spire event. I, of course, reworked Glass 😉

Late at Tate Britain: Spire

Late at Tate Britain: Spire

Cheltenham Science Festival invited myself, Joanne Armitage, Alex McLean, and Joseph Wilk to do a mini Algorave. Having a team of technicians at hand who could install projectors and move screens at a moment’s notice was a welcome change to the usual DIY warehouse events.

Cheltenham Science Festival Algorave

Still in June myself and Aly Grimes teamed up to bring Living Room Light Exchange (LRLX) to Birmingham. I had first come across it when I was invited to talk at one in Paris by Benjamin Gaulon in 2016. I really liked the relaxed and personal nature of it and so, with their permission, worked with Aly to bring it to Birmingham. For the first LRLX we had presentations from Duncan Poulton and Emily Roderick.

LRLX Birmingham #1

The biggest event of June was Assembly Birmingham. The Assembly events, organised by the (impossible to Google) a-n aim to “support artists to lead debate on and open up discussion about the things they need for a sustainable career”. I organised the Birmingham evnt in the newly reopened Eastside Projects which invited loads of new(ish) organisations to talk about their experiences of being based in Birmingham and the West Midlands and what their hopes and fears were for the future.

Assembly Birmingham

Assembly Birmingham

Pete Ashton did a darn good writeup of the day for a-n. a-n have also started uploading videos of the presentations.

To round off the month Black Hole Club launch the Another Dimension exhibition, which looked at optical illusions.

Another Dimension

July

This month opened with the second LRLX event which featured Edie Jo Murray and Dinosaur Kilby.

LRLX Birmingham #2

If you needed a condensed version of my New Now research an “Insight Film” was uploaded this month.

August

This month was really quiet for my own work. I did a few small events and workshops for Vivid Projects and then went to Green Man Festival to talk about my artwork. This is the closest I have been to having a month off!

September

I organised the Visualists Meetup for the Livecode festival. We had a couple of visuals workshops but what was most important was the discussion around the role of visuals at Algoraves. A feeling that is shared amongst people doing visuals across all music genres is the feeling of being an afterthought or second best to the the musicians. We all shared our experiences but also how we can move forward to a more collaborative environment. There will be a fuller discussion at ICLC in Madrid in 2019.

Later that night I performed a huuuge Algorave at DINA.

Livecode Festival #2 Algorave

Livecode Festival #2 Algorave

A few days later Black Hole Club had its first online exhibition.
blackholeclub.com

In my experience of working with artists and institutions many of them see the internet as a promotional tool. Through this exhibition I wanted to see how the cohort’s practice could be translated to the internet where many of the IRL restrictions of space and time either don’t exist or are transformed. For example, in IRL land there’s a logical way to navigate a space and work can be viewed without distractions. On the internet we’re often fighting for attention from ads, 100 other tabs and, well, each other. This was Black Hole Club’s first online exhibition, so not all these issues were explored but I think we made a good start! View the exhibition here: https://blackholeclub.hotglue.me/

Over in Finland the “Glitch Art” exhibition opened at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art. It features my work What is your glitch? 1bitgifavibmpbmpcmykbmprgbjpgmpgpcxpixpngppmsgisvgtgawebp and Unstable Mediums alongside works by Rosa Menkman and JODI . Go see it before it closes on 13th January 2019 (or pay for my flight and I’ll come with you 😉 ).

Glitch Art - Kunsti Museum of Modern Art

October

I was in planes for what like felt like forever to play at an Algorave in Odense, Denmark.
Algorave Odense

I did a public discussion with Eyal Gruss at Near Now in Nottingham. He was one of the folks who heavily influenced my Curating the Machine project. Video will be online soon I hope.

To close the month I organised the Birmingham Algorave at Vivid Projects to close their/our Mediafest programme.

Algorave Birmingham

Algorave Birmingham

November

More performances this month, the first being at databit.me in Arles, France. I first performed at databit.me back in 2012 as artist in residence, and then again in 2013. There’s so many things I like about this festival, but above everything I love the people (and the food) and the sense of community (and the food).

For databit.me I did my first ever live coded music performance! This took place in a barn in Tarascon on a horse-drawn carriage:

databit.me 2018

I went on to do another two performances in the festival in similarly weird places. Y’all can listen to a bit here.

databit.me

In a surprise to many, including myself, the next week I took all the flights to perform at the opening event of Piksel in Bergen, Norway. Can I just state the obvious and say that Norway is dope af. Everything’s just so clean and tidy. It’s also cold and, like, there are lots of hills everywhere but whatever idc. I wish I as there for more than two days.

I think I’m now going to make it a requirement that when I perform it needs to be in as unconventional a space as possible. For my Piksel performance I did visuals in a band stand in the city centre.

Piksel 2018

I also had an updated version of Copyrgiht Atrophy on display as part of their Pikselsavers programme.

Piksel 2018

December

It’s supposed to be a month to wind down but instead in December I was doing lots of preparatory work for things happening in 2019. The only public event was the last Black Hole Club exhibition of the year and the launch of their publication.

End of Year Show

End of Year Show


2018 was certainly one of my favourite years for Black Hole Club. Part of this was due to having funding which allowed me to focus more on building and delivering the programme but also the cohort was 🔥. Y’all can still apply to be part of Black Hole Club in 2019.

And so, 2018 is now over. A big thanks to all those who have helped make things possible 🙂 I feel like I’m at a turning point in my career and so next year I will be exploring some other things. Not a massive depature from my usual artwork or curatorial stuff but perhaps more narrowly focused. Until then, happy new year!

Livecode Festival #2 – Visualists Meetup – 1st September 2018

On Saturday 1st September I’m organising a meetup for visualists as part of Livecode Festival #2 at Access Space in Sheffield:

A session for live coding visualists (at any level) lead by Antonio Roberts (aka hellocatfood), to talk about their tools and how they perform, with focus on Algorave visuals.

A core part of the session will be discussion around key questions for live code visualists; how do you pace yourself in a performance? Should we aim to build up slowly or go straight in with loud visuals? How much can you truly respond to the music? Is it important to show the code, and how does it fit with the musician’s projection?

The session will run from 11:00 – 16:00 and will include workshops in Pure Data/GEM (led by me), Hydra (led by Will Humphries) and Livecodelab (led by Guy John).

Get your tickets here! And whilst you’re in the area get a ticket for the Algorave on the same night at 20:00 😉

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 🙂