Category Archives: MA/MFA Computational Art

Push, Pop, Repeat – Pop-up exhibition

Written by Clémence Debaig, student in MA Computational Arts. Find out more about the students work on The MA/MFA Computational Arts Blog.


One night, 350+ visitors, 80+ students, 130+ pieces

Push, Pop, Repeat is the first pop-up exhibition of this year’s cohort – presenting works from the MA in Computational Arts and the MA in Independent Games and Playable Experience Design. On Wednesday the 22nd of January 2020, more than 350 visitors have had the opportunity to discover more than 130 artworks. 

Most students in the programme had no, or very little, programming experience when they joined in October. After only 10 weeks on the course they are already producing high quality interactive pieces, adding computing to their art practice. The exhibition hosted an incredible variety of works produced at the end of the first term, from generative projection-mapped pieces to physical computing installations. 

Selected works

Selecting works amongst more than 130 pieces is an almost impossible task, but the following pieces particularly grabbed the attention of the visitors. This selection also aims at showcasing the diversity of the projects presented during the pop-up.


Amor Serrano by Alesandra Miro Quesada

Interactive installation – Physical Computing 1

https://vimeo.com/387408452

Amor Serrano tells the story of domestic violence in the Andes. Two testimonies of survivors have been recorded and translated from Spanish to English and Quechua (native Andean language). This piece pushes the audience to face the epidemic of feminicide happening in Peru and create discourse on this topic.

Technical details:  The circuit includes 6 capacitive sensors, each soldered onto a long copper wire braided inside 6 foot long hair extensions. When touching the hair, it triggers different audio tracks. Each of them narrating a testimony of a domestic abuse survivor.


A cartography of the inside out by Jakob Jennerholm Hammar

Poster – Programming for artists and designers


The program draws structures in time, continually growing over a scarce landscape. A fictional world filled with fictional habitats for fictional inhabitants is created. The work tries out ideas of mapping an interiority and turning it inside out to see what it says about it’s exteriority, or the other way around. Some important influences where gathered from cartography and architectural plans and drawings as a way of understanding and visualizing relationality. Others where graphical notation or visual scoring as a way of working with duration and events in time.

Technical details: The artwork is generated by a program written in Processing. Noise functions and pseudo randomness as well as recursion and fractals are some of the techniques used in the generative process. Printed on A2 sized wallpaper material.


Blurred Democracy by Camila Colussi

Interactive Installation – Physical Computing 1

Blurring boundaries. Blurred democracy. Two vibrating motors are connected to the word “democracy” written in copper wire. The motors react to sound. Light is reactive to distance. As you walk away, lights turn chaotic. As you get closer, lights turn on completely. The piece was created in reference to the current Chilean revolution (October 2019-present), which main massage of fight is “Until dignity becomes habit” (“Hasta que la dignidad se haga costumbre”). Until today, serious human rights violations had taken place. Sound recording: “No son 30 pesos, son 46 años”, A las Cacerolas, Colectiva 22bits. 

Technical details: The piece is a sound-light interactive sculpture, using 2 vibrating motors, a proximity sensor and led strip lights.


_chreeb.dampGrass by Keir Clyne

Interactive system and performance – Physical Computing 1 + Programming for artists and designers

_chreeb.dampGrass is a choreographic collaboration between a human user and a virtual dancer. Through the use of a specialist controller and a virtual avatar named “_chreeb”, the creative control of the improvised choreography switches between the human and non-human participants.

Technical details: The system for this performance has been made using a Processing sketch connected to an Arduino controller. The controller itself is made of several arcade buttons, LED’s and toggle switches all housed in a cardboard casing


Tantum Duck by Mattia Spagnuolo

Audiovisual performance – Advanced Audio-Visual Processing

Tantum Duck is a Hand-controlled Audio-Visual Synthesizer. By mixing computer vision, sound synthesis and mathematical visual shapes the goal was to create an instrument that allows the performer to control both audio and visual parameters at the same time. A constant correlation between the audio and visual outputs is implemented to allow the performer to focus on the sonic and visual details of his/her performance without worrying about keeping them harmonic, as they will always be. 

Technical details: The system has been realised in openFrameworks, using computer vision and color tracking to identify the controls and using frequency and amplitude modulation (FM and AM) for the sound synthesis. To follow the chaotic nature of the sounds, the visuals are based on the chaotic map Aizawa Attractor. A chaotic map is a system of differential equations whose apparently-random states of disorder and irregularities are governed by deterministic laws that are highly sensitive to initial conditions, meaning that a small change to any of its coefficients, will result in a substantial change in its output.


Automata by Clémence Debaig

Interactive wearable and performance – Physical Computing 1

AUTOMATA is a performance device allowing the dancer to move elements of the outfit by his/her movements.⁠ This piece explores the relationship between puppeteer and object, and the transfer of agency between the two. Is the dancer moving to manipulate the objects or is the movement of the objects influencing the dancer. Who is controlling who?⁠

Technical details: The dancer is wearing an accelerometer on the right arm and another one the left leg. The values received on the accelerometers control the movement of 7 servos placed on the outfit, moving mechanical parts. 3 “flowers” and the left shoulder pad are controlled by the right arm. 2 other “flowers” are controlled by the left leg.⁠⁠ Particular attention has been put on the analysis of the acceleration values on each axis (X, Y, Z) to determine with one to use and set different thresholds for each servo.⁠


X Y Plotter Drawing Machine by Chia Yang Chang

Installation – Physical Computing 1

Drawing machines have been explored for a while but it is still a recurring theme to observe the differences in drawing between Robot and Human. Drawing is a way to express one’s humanity. However, would it be possible for robots to express the essence of being a robot through drawing? This project is presented more as an experiment than an artwork, aiming at reflecting on the meaning of what the essence of a robot is and observing the similarities between human and robot.

Technical details: The drawing machine is using an Arduino and a Processing sketch, connected via serial. The Processing sketch extracts vector points from an SVG file and then sends it to the Arduino to define the position of the pen.


The Chicken of Tomorrow by Annina Huhtala

Projection mapping – Workshops in creative coding

The Chicken of Tomorrow is a projection mapping work devoted to chicken. Combining archive video material and the latest research, it tells the brief story of a bird turned into a commodity. The visuals plays with naïve form and bright colours, yolk yellow, egg white and wattle red. They represent our simple attitude towards chicken. The piece begins with a nostalgic clip of children playing with fluffy chicks. According to studies, we now struggle to consider chicken as animals.

Technical details: The work was created in openFrameworks, mixing generative graphics, typography and videos.

MA/MFA Computational Arts Degree Show 2019

We warmly invite you to Goldsmiths’ 2019 MA/MFA Computational Arts degree show exhibition, So how is that working for you?

It’s our biggest exhibition to date with more than 60+ computational artists. There will be interactive installations, performances, workshops, panel discussions, drinks and nibbles.

Private view + party: 5-10pm Thursday 5 September 2019
Where: St. James Hatcham (‘The Church’), Goldsmiths. Google map
Exhibition continues: Friday 6 September (11am-8pm), Saturday 7 September (11am-8pm) and Sunday 8 September (11am-5pm).

ARTISTS’ STATEMENT

Working through the ever evolving tensions around technology and art, we feel the responsibility to explore and reflect on some critical questions surrounding the past, present and future of technologies that permeate our everyday lives.

How do we situate and consolidate our artistic agency within a world where technologies are seemingly integrated into the very fabric of society on the one hand and weaponised and used against us on the other?

What is the role of computational art in the Anthropocene’s era where technology is simultaneously part of the problem and part of the solution?

So how is that working for you? is a speculative response to these questions and tensions. Comprising current work from our practice, the show traces a route through seven conceptual threads: intelligence, phenomenon, narration, network, matter, embodiment, surveillance.

List of performances and events

Instagram feed

Sign language glove wins Santander award

A smart glove designed by a Goldsmiths, University of London student has received a top prize at Santander’s annual ceremony for student entrepreneurs.

BrightSign Glove, which translates hand gestures into speech and text, won the People’s Choice audience vote at the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards.

Hadeel Ayoub, PhD candidate in the Department of Computing, began developing the glove four years ago during her MA Computational Arts at Goldsmiths, and has since attracted international media attention and a raft of technology awards.

The glove is equipped with multiple sensors and machine learning software to enable individuals who use sign language as their primary language to communicate through text or digital voice directly, without the need for a translator.

BrightSign Glove was voted by the audience at the Santander awards event as having the greatest social, community, and environmental impact, and won a prize of £7,500.

Goldsmiths MA Social Entrepreneurship student Jack O’Donoghue from the Institute of Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship was a runner up, having reached the Santander finals with his project ‘Of The Ilk’ – an organic cotton-based re-usable food wrapping developed as an alternative to cling-film.

Hadeel and her development team aim to make BrightSign available to everyone who needs it, at an accessible price. The product is still in development, and eagerly awaited by a fast-growing list of schools and parents. With 70 million sign language users globally, and 90% of deaf children being born to hearing parents, the glove has the potential to revolutionise communication across barriers.

Santander Universities Entrepreneurship winners were announced by Nathan Bostock, CEO of Santander UK, and received their awards from Ana Botín, Group Executive Chair, Santander Group.


This post was originally written by Sarah Cox for Goldsmiths News

MA Computational Arts graduate launches jewellery business crowdfunder

hexatope_cover

2017 graduate Charlotte Dann has successfully raised £15,000 on Kickstarter for her new jewellery business, which uses cutting-edge 3D-printing technology.

Hexatope is a system that allows you to design your own unique jewellery using intuitive interaction with a hexagonal grid. Designs are fabricated using 3D-printing technology and cast into sterling silver or 18 carat gold.

Using touch or mouse input you activate hexagons, and curves are drawn between active neighbours on the grid. Curves flow into one another, diverging, converging, and overlapping with seemingly organic grace. When your design is complete you can animate it to visualise the 3D design in your prefered metal, finely tune how the curves overlap one another, and chose the point from which it will hang as a pendant.

hexatope_charlotte_portraitCharlotte Dann is a designer/developer based in London, working across a wide spectrum of disciplines ranging from electronics to fine glasswork. Her interest in coding began as a teenager, and she worked professionally as a web developer while completing a BA in Jewellery Design and Silversmithing at The Cass.

She undertook the MA in Computation Arts at Goldsmiths to explore the intersection of these two disciplines, both in how computation can supplement traditional making techniques, as well as how the process of designing tangible objects can be informed by computational thinking. In September 2017 she founded her own studio to continue working on Hexatope and exploring other design/tech pursuits.

“I started working on Hexatope while undertaking the MA. I was experimenting with using the framework of a hexagonal grid to generate art with code, and soon realised that the project integrated very well with jewellery design, my other vocation. I wanted to leverage programming to design and create tangible objects, and using 3D-printing technology and traditional metalwork I’ve been able to bring Hexatope designs to life”

“I think the most exciting thing about Hexatope is that it gives everyone the opportunity to be a designer and make beautiful, personal pieces of jewellery that they can wear every day.”


Artist Memo Akten inspires Computational Arts students

Blogpost by Theo Papatheodorou, programme leader of MA/MFA in Computational Arts.

MA/MFA in Computational Arts students got a real treat on 23 January when renowned computational artist Memo Akten visited the MA to run a crit session and discuss his work and process.

When Memo first came in, he discussed his role in the openFrameworks community. The students in the Workshops in Creative Coding class on the MA are using openFrameworks to make interactive audiovisual applications using computer vision, machine learning, networking protocols, sensors and a lot more. Memo’s contribution to openFrameworks is great and it was really enjoyable listening him talk about his involvement.

We then went through 15 of the best end-of-term project assignments and Memo gave feedback, ideas and critiqued the work for the benefit of the students.

The highlight of the session came later when Memo gave a talk about his work. It wasn’t a typical talk listing his contributions and achievements (among other things the Golden Nica at Ars Electronica). He hopped between selected projects highlighting a common thread: how ideas are formed, how he picks tools, collaborators and how he (occasionally) pitches ideas to clients.

Some nuggets of wisdom from his talk:

  • On learning new technologies: Give yourself a project and a deadline. Working with tight deadlines enhances the creative process, increases the motivation and facilitates learning.
  • On forming new ideas: He often hacks away on a small thing late at night. This small thing might be just an experiment, a proof-of-concept or a study of a topic that fascinates him. For example, he started investigating and playing with the theme of harmonic motion. The work that started as a humble Processing sketch became an audiovisual installation, a 360-immersive projection, a live performance using 16 percussionists and ultimately a light show outside the Blenheim Palace. See the video below for its manifestation outside the palace.
  • On pitching ideas: Keep a (somewhat) organised file with your ideas. If you do develop something, blog about it, make a how-to video, share your code and your idea with the world. When you’re approached for a commission look over the stack of ideas and scale one up for a project. Don’t get too attached to your ideas. Be ready to throw away one that is not so fresh any more.

Memo is currently completing his PhD in A.I. and machine learning for expressive human-machine interaction at Goldsmiths.


This post was originally published on Goldsmiths’ Computational Arts blog.

 

Aspen Art Award shortlists three Goldsmiths graduates

Three MA/MFA Computational Arts graduates have been shortlisted for the prestigious Aspen Online Arts Award 2016.

Angie Fang, Lior Ben Gai and Matilda Skelton Mace all graduated from Goldsmiths in 2015, following their degree show exhibition EXCEPT/0N.

angieAngie Fang is a UK-based Chinese digital artist who works in digital media, audio visual performance and interactive installations. Her online video work is created entirely in C++, making use of complex 3D OpenGL and digital signal processing techniques entirely of her own devising.

Her work focuses on the tension between sound, space and visual elements, and also the subtle experience between the technology synthesized and the reality. Her works, Nito , L-Pattern, Bud and Organic Flow were exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum; and the immersive installation Under the Water installed in Hotel Elephant gallery. Outside of her academic research, she also gained experience working for Studio XO and United Visual Artists. bongbongsquare.com

liorLior Ben Gai is an Israeli digital artist, working in various digital mediums since 2008. His work explores potential intersections between artificial life and synthetic biology, examining notions of ‘lab aesthetics’ whilst creating experiences that rely on his strong visual sense.

As an independent artist, Lior explores generative strategies and computational creativity to produce expressive software, animation and sound. He is emotionally drawn to computer generated graphics, strongly believes in project based learning and enjoys thinking about things he never thought about before. His commercial works include museum installations and exhibits, mobile games, web applications and custom interactive software. soogbet.net

matildaMatilda Skelton Mace is a London-based artist and designer, working with the building blocks of reality, space, light, and geometric form. She creates her own interactive systems in C, C++, Processing, Java and HTML5.

Her work features strong use of projection and materials to transform physical space, creating sculptural interactive digital artworks. She is interested in the ‘in between’, exploring ideas of implied, imagined and virtual space, the dissonance that can arise between real and virtual and the way we perceive it. This year she was shortlisted for the HIX Award 2015 and has exhibited at galleries, nightclubs and festivals. belikeotherpeople.co.uk


Computational Arts student wins Saudi innovation & entrepreneurship prize

MA Computational Arts student Hadeel Ayoub has won an Innovation & Entrepreneurship Prize for Saudi Students in the UK.

Her prize-winning project, the Sign Language Glove, uses flex sensors to ‘translate’ the hand and finger positions used in sign language into alphabet characters on an LED display.

As well as winning the £1000 bronze medal prize, Hadeel was approached to present her innovation at the Innovation Leaders Conference at Cambridge Judge Business School and the Arab Innovation Network Annual Conference  in Jordan.

She was also approached by Evolvys Venture Builders, a technology network that identifies innovations and helps to bring them to the market. The CEO, Dr. Evolves Oudrhiri (one of the competition judges) offered Hadeel some of their microchips to incorporate into the next prototype of the sign language glove.

“I got the idea for the sign language with arduino project while I was working on a photo editing software which allows the user to control image pixels and has the freedom to input letters as pixels. I thought to substitute the keyboard input with interactive sign language using flex sensors and an arduino. 

“For the flex sensors for the fingers I used an accelerometer to detect hand orientation. For aesthetic reasons, I replaced the microcontroller from arduino uno to the sewable lily pad so I could hide it within the glove fabric. I also got some conductive thread to patch things up without breaking the circuit.

“Finally, instead of the serial monitor (and again for aesthetic purposes), I got an LED 4-digit-numerical display screen to display the letters. I still haven’t decided if my device should be wireless but if so, I will also attach an external battery power supply and a bluetooth module.”

(Text adapted from Hadeel Ayoub’s Sign Language Glove project blog)