Uncanny Valley

From 7-10th September I was invited to take part in the Uncanny Valley event in Burbage Valley, Derbyshire. It’s a lovely place! The event was described as:

A two day hack in the rugged Burbage Valley in the Peak District, hacking in nature, exploring the role of sensors and data in responding to the environment. In collaboration with Lovebytes.

Responding to the environment was probably the biggest hack of the event! Aside om the midges, the gargantuan hills, the cold and the lack of wifi, the biggest challenge that faced us was the lack of electricity. Jon Harisson of Lovebytes was smart enough to bring a battery pack, but with a running time of two hours this placed restraints of what was achievable.

Uncanny Valley

I can’t speak for the other participants but I felt this restriction affected me greatly. As a mostly visual and projection artist my usual setup consists of a laptop and a projector. Software for manipulating visuals (Pure Data, Processing etc) usually consumes more power than running audio software. In addition to this the biggest power drain of them all was the projector. Really inexpensive projectors and battery powered projectors exist but these would never have enough lumens to fill a space as big as the Burbage Valley. Rather than accept defeat I worked to respond to the environment. My situation – 2 hour battery, small projector, working in daylight daylight – meant I could only get any noticeable effects if I scaled down. And scale down is what I did!

Uncanny Valley

Uncanny Valley

Uncanny Valley

Uncanny Valley

The above pictures were made by simply pointing the Glass video piece onto small rocks and twigs. This was all during daylight, so I was quite surprised by how vibrant the colours were. Jon Harrison quite handily shot a video (edited by me)

Additional shaky footage and more photos are available in my Flickr stream.

This kind of experimentation piqued my interest. I could go down the route of projection mapping but I’ll resist for now. I’m less interested in mapping flat video footage to uneven surfaces and more interested in seeing how uneven surfaces affects both the surface and the video.

Look out for more work in this style in the future.

Edit 11.03.16

Edgar Gómez Cruz uploaded a nice video of our time in the valley

BYOB Birmingham Thanks

BYOB Birmingham happened on Friday 16th March and it was a great success! For those who like statistics, in the end the event had 18 artists (plus videos from VIVID’s archives), 22 beamers, and nearly 200 people attend.

My thanks for making the night awesome go to:

  • Flatpack Festival, which has been going for six years, for putting on a great festival and allowing BYOB to be part of it
  • VIVID, whose amazing gallery space was perfectly suited for this event. There were worries about there being too many cables and causing a power outage due to too many beamers, but the excellent VIVID staff were on hand to make sure it all went swimmingly
  • Bobby Bird from Modulate and Gary Judge (aka Arcade) for providing awesome music throughout the night. Many times I received comments about how well the music matched the event. Also, Cylob FTW!
  • Shelly Knotts, for being helping me on the day, taking photos, keeping me sane, and for buying me lunch 😉
  • Rafaël Rozendaal, for coming up with the BYOB idea and allowing anyone to do as they wish with it
  • The people of Birmingham and West Midlands, for coming out in your hundreds to support the event
  • And last, but not least, my thanks go to all of the artists that traveled from all over the country to be part of BYOB Birmingham!

Be sure to check out the artwork from all of the exhibiting artists:
Alan Brooker, Ewa Mos, Daisy Hogan, Antonio Roberts, Chris Plant, Modulate, James Warrier, Sarah Rose Allen, Paul Harrison, Kate Spence, Elizabeth Howell, Soraya Fatha, Leon Trimble, Michael Lightborne, Matt Murtagh, Pete Ashton, AAS

If any of my readers took any gifs, photos or videos (even phone quality is great) upload them to Flickr/Youtube/Vimeo and tag them “BYOB Birmingham” or send them to byobbirmingham@gmail.com and, with your permission, they’ll be used in a video documenting the event.

In the meantime here’s some photos from the event


Photo by Modulate


BYOB Birmingham

BYOB Birmingham

BYOB Birmingham Flatpack Festival 2012

Photo by minuek


Keep an eye on byobbirmingham.tumblr.com for more future events