Nybble at the V&A Museum

This weekend (20-21 September 2013) the garden of V&A Museum will be transformed into a large computing device by Ollie Palmer – and a troupe of “human-computers”.

In 1948 Alan Turing designed the first chess computer programme.

The only problem was that he didn’t have a computer to play it on.

He wrote all of the instructions onto pieces of paper, and played a game of chess as if he were the computer himself. Each move took over half an hour. What’s more, his human-powered computer programme didn’t win the game.

Nybble takes Turing’s human computer and combines it with a sense of theatricality in an immersive architectural-scale installation. Four performers, each representing a different part of a computing CPU, will be parsing a message into the V&A’s John Madjeski Garden. The display is playful, silly and fun – and possibly the most analogue computer to have graced the V&A’s Digital Design Weekend.

Nybble_tests

Where

John Madjeski Garden, V&A Museum
21-22 September 2013
12.00, 14.00 and 16.00 daily (performances last 45 minutes)
Admission free

Part of the V&A Digital Design Weekend.

Funded by Design with Heritage, an AHRC Creative Economy Knowledge Exchange between V&A and UCL. www.designwithheritage.org

Universal Tea Machine

I have been helping my friends at Westby Jones and Smout Allen to design and fabricate the Universal Tea Machine in time for the London Olympics.

Universal Tea Machine. Video © copyright Smouth Allen.

Installed in Victoria Park for the duration of the Olympics, the Universal Tea Machine is a computer that relies on teamwork and calculation to produce the perfect cup of tea. The Heath-Robinson-esque machine enables the audience to make their ‘perfect’ cup of tea by solving binary calculation maths problems. If their calculation is too high, they might get too many teabags; not high enough, and they may not get a teabag at all.

I designed and fabricated the mechanisms and electronics that enable tea to get made: the ‘kitchen’ unit. Here’s a short video showing the mechanisms in action:

The Universal Tea Machine is a collaboration based at the Bartlett School of Architecture between Smout Allen and You+Pea with Iain Borden. The UTM is fabricated by Westby and Jones and Ollie Palmer. It was commissioned by the Mayor of London for the Cultural Olympiad.

Photos

The Universal Tea Machine

Press

Please note: originally posted on the Smout Allen site). All images © copyright Smout Allen / You & Pea