<2020>

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Back at it again with the Year in Review blog post! As suggested in 2018 this year I have been focusing more on my own independent projects and building my practice. Here’s some of the highlights.

January

Started January with my first visit to ICLC which was held in Madrid. Myself and Olivia Jack led a meetup and discussion for Visualists. I compiled some of the notes from that meetup here. and then I joined Class Compliant Audio Interfaces for a performance.

In January I also publicly announced my departure from Vivid Projects. I had been in this role in one fashion or another since 2010. I enjoyed so much of it and learned a tonne but decided I needed to focus on my own work.

I made some animations for Plasma Bears, which is a “collectible crafting and questing game”.

data.set, which was originally commissioned by Open Data Institute for the Thinking Out Loud exhibition, was part of the Forward exhibition at Ikon Gallery/Medicine Bakery. I did an interview with Ikon Gallery about my thoughts on being on artist in Birmingham

Forward: New Art from Birmingham

I also started mentoring for Random String again. You can read about one of my mentee’s progress here

February

Despite being relatively new to live coding music I took part in the Toplap 15th Anniversary [Live] Stream.

It was scary performing to the whole internet but it was fun!

I started working with Barbican again on a series of workshops as part of their Life Rewired season. To help launch their new season I performed with Emma Winston/Deerful at their launch night.

Life Rewired Launch – Young Barbican Nights

Also in February an Algoave documentary produced by Edited Arts was published on Resident Advisor.

March

The biggest event of March was most definitely going to SXSW in Texas to present Algorave!

Lush Presents Algorave: Live Coding Party

The Algorave featured ALGOBABEZ, Alexandra Cardenas, Belisha Beacon, co34pt, Coral Manton, hellocatfood (that’s meee), Scorpion Mouse and Renick Bell.

Many thanks to Joanne Armitage who took the lead on planning this and to British Underground and Lush for the support.

We did an interview with the SXSW magazine to promote our events there.

Quite soon after landing back in the UK I created new work for the V&A’s Friday Late event Copy / Paste.

Friday Late - Copy / Paste - March 2019

The two video works, called Visually Similar, look at how a false narrative can be created through images found on the internet. I wrote a bit about the process of making this work in June’s Development Update.

I also became an Artist Adviser for Jerwood. I was already familiar with the gallery as I had exhibited with them in 2016 as part of Common Property. It was an honour to be invited back to have a role in shape how they fund the arts.

Also at the beginning of the month I curated the opening of Black Hole Club, which was my final event for Vivid Projects/Black Hole Club.

April

As if SXSW wasn’t exciting enough in April I performed at an Algorave at the British Library.

It was one of the more unconventional places I’ve played but still highly enjoyable.

Later that month I performed at the Afrotech Fest opening party and the artwork I made for Fermynwood’s programme Toggler went online. I was also interviewed by Lynae Cook whilst at SXSW for her podcast BTS. In April the interview went online.

May

In early May the Time Portals exhibition at Furtherfield opened its doors. I collaborated with Studio Hyte to create a billboard which could be scanned to reveal an augmented reality artwork.

Time Portals: Antonio Roberts

There’s an overview video featuring all of the artists including me and Arjun Harrison-Mann from Studio Hyte.

AlgoMech was back for 2019 and I was present to perform with CCAI, do a solo music performance, and also to exhibit in their exhibition Patterns of Movement.

Patterns of Movement

I exhibited a video and print work called A Perfect Circle in which I captured the movement of trying to draw shapes. Quite a departure from my usual work but I liked the performative nature of it. I wrote a bit about the technical challenges of making it here.

Elsewhere two articles about Algorave were published, one in Riffs and another in The Times.

June

One of my biggest exhibitions of the year was the group show Wonder curated by Rachel Marsden

Wonder

Wonder

For my work in this exhibition I continued with my critique of Disney for being a company to negatively impact copyright laws. I also created a slightly sinister wonderland (video will be online some time in 2020). You can take a virtual tour of the exhibition through this youtube video or page on the Google Arts and Culture website.

I was back in Manchester to do a presentation and some mentoring for Manchester International Festival’s Creative Lab programme


(that video features some of my very early live coding music!)

I also returned to regular blogging with a series called Development Updates. Through this series I want to demystify the “magic” of creating digital art and show that there’s still a lot of problem solving, hacking, and messiness that go into creating a “finished” artwork or exhibition. Follow the development-update tag to see all of them.

Elsewhere I revamped the Proxy Pavilions artworks for the Vague but Exciting exhibition at Vivid Projects and was on Matthew Evans’ podcast sharing some of the songs that influence me and talking about being an artist in Birmingham. I also played a huuuuge Algorave at Corsica Studios. To prepare for this I started live streaming my rehearsals.

July

I headed out to the city of Nevers, which is not far from Paris, to take part in NØ SCHOOL NEVERS as one of their teachers. It was definitely a school but kinda like one without textbooks or lesson plans. We all learnt from each other and explored some really experimental stuff, like Daniel Temkin’s esoteric programming languages which use folders as its input!

NØ SCHOOL NEVERS

After a busy first half of the year is was really nice to spend a week with like-minded people learning about art and tech, eating great food and occasionally relaxing on a beach 🙂 I feeling a strong eight to light nine on this experience.

In July it was also announced that I had joined a-n Artists Council

Click to embiggen. Photo by Joel Chester Fildes

You may remember that I had run one of their Assembly events in June 2018. I’m really happy to be part of this group and hope to bring my perspective of being in the West Midlands and as a digital artist.

August

As part of the Wonder exhibition I organised an Algorave at The Herbert, which also happened to be Coventry’s first Algorave! I invited Lucy aka Heavy Lifting, Innocent, Carol Breen, and newcomer Maria Witek who I collaborated with on music.

Algorave Coventry

It was for sure one of my favourite Algoraves! The staff at The Herbert were lovely and prepared the venue and equipment perfectly, the performers were ace and the crowd brought great energy.

Fellow Visualist Rumblesan released his live coding software Improviz in July. Think of it a bit like LiveCodeLab but it’s on the desktop and you can use your own image and gif textures. For the occasion he commissioned me to make some gifs that would come preloaded with the software.

In August I made the Blender files available to the public for y’all to experiment with. I definitely think you should try Improviz out!

September

September started with me being featured in a BBC Radio 4 documentary about copyright and the relationship between artists and brands/corporations.

Art of Now – Sell Out featured myself and artists including Nan Goldin, and Gary Hume each giving our thoughts on brands and art. It’s still online so go listen.

Also at the beginning of the month the Bcc: exhibition opened at Vivid Projects. I’d previously taken part in the online version of this in 2018 and for the IRL exhibition I acted as Producer. It was a technically challenging exhibition to install which I wrote about in three Development Updates in December.

Bcc:

Bcc:

It made me really happy to see so much digital art being exhibited in Birmingham and was great to meet the Editor of Decoy Magazine, Lauren Marsden, IRL.

Elsewhere I was a judge for the Digital Art category for Koestler Arts’ exhibition Another Me which took place at Southbank. I sadly didn’t get to see the exhibition in person but it was inspiring to see the work coming from people in prisons.

I organised an Algorave for Llawn in Llandudno and then I exhibited a rather odd artwork for the Odds exhibition at TOMA in Southend-on-Sea.

Odds

I exhibited a video showing me attempting to compile Blender, as a way show that sometimes making digital art involves a lot of waiting!

Aaaaaand Ian Davies photographed myself and Emily Jones as part of his Brum Creatives project.

October

October was quiet-ish. I did two Algoraves in two countries in 18 hours! The first was at OHM in Berlin and was organised by Renick Bell. I then made my way to Walthamstow to do an “Algowave“, which was basically a more ambient rave. Radical Art Review did a feature on the event.

I made a rerecording of the performance and put it on Soundcloud:

Following on from the Assembly events in 2018 the organiser myself, Thomas Goddard (organiser of the Cardiff event), and Joanna Helfer (organiser of the Dundee event) embarked on a week-long journey to each of our respective cities to check out the art scene and reflect on how arts organisations were responding to the challenges they faced. It was a tiring but very inspiring week.

a-n bursary - Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow

Also in October I was commissioned to make some work for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. It’s on view in Stratford until October 2020 so go see it!

Will's Kitchen Artistic Commissions - Abundant Antiques

Finally, I was on the selection panel for the Collaborate exhibition at Jerwood Arts and in October the exhibition opened.

November

By far the biggest event of the November was my solo exhibition, We Are Your Friends, which took place at Czurles Nelson Gallery in Buffalo, NY.

We Are Your Friends

We Are Your Friends

We Are Your Friends

It’s my second solo exhibition and the first time I made a multichannel video. I had a really great time, which inluded a trip to Niagara Falls. Many thanks to Brent Patterson for working so hard ot make it happen.

Not even two days after landing back in the UK I was in Berlin to take part in Right the Right at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. The festival explored “Ideas for Music, Copyright and Access”. My video Unauthorised Copy was on show throughout the exhibition, I performed at an Algorave and I was in conversation with Beijing-based musician Howie Lee. You can listen to our conversation below and watch the video recording here.

Also in November I Am Sitting in a Room was exhibited at Gamerz festival in Aix-en-Provence in France. That piece is nearly ten years old!

December

As usual December was very quiet, and it was much needed after being away from home for nearly a month in November. I didn’t exhibit anything but I did use this month to prepare for stuff happening in 2020. It’s been my first year being completely freelance and I think it’s gone really well! My plans for next year are to do much of the same but also look into working with/for a gallery, and maybe even a slight career change. More on that as it happens. 2019 was ace. Thanks to everyone who helped make it great!

<2019>

</2018>

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!