I’ve just been digging around some old hard drives and came across this screenshot from a project I did for Krieder O’Leary back in 2012. It was an experimental camera that moved back and forth along an aluminium track, writing small changes in the space over the top of its existing images. Unfortunately the prototype suffered an electrical malfunction when I installed it in the Tate Britain (entirely my fault) and so it never got a change to take slow pictures of people moving around space.
It’s funny how ideas ricochet around inside one’s own head, morphing over time and through practice – nine years later, I’m mid-way through a project that collates audio in a similar way, with an almost identical tendency to fail at the critical moment.
I decided to participate in NaNoGenMo (National Novel Generation Month) this year with a project called Directory Directory – an online directory of fictional companies, all located within the Alphaville-Zulutown region. It’s organised like an old phone book, by service type, and each company has a name, slogan, address, and phone number.
Some day in the future I’ll update the directory to have more information, and use more advanced grammar, and maybe even be printable. But the project was a nice excuse to learn some new things (the Tracery library for python is fun to play with; it’s also the first time I’ve built a workflow to build a whole generative website).
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.
John Madjeski Garden, V&A Museum 21-22 September 2013 12.00, 14.00 and 16.00 daily (performances last 45 minutes) Admission free
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: