BSc Digital Arts Computing degree show

Exit Strategy from Goldsmiths Computing on Vimeo.

The degree show for BSc Digital Arts Computing launches on Thursday 3 May.

Titled EXIT STRATEGY, the exhibition features over 30 computational artists, using digital technologies to create works on surveillance, artificial intelligence, art theory and the end of humanity.

Artworks include cliquey robots, a VR gallery, life stories from the Soviet era, haptic devices simulating human touch, sonified data, and a toddler exposed to the internet.

The exhibition launches with the ever-popular opening night party, 5.30pm-9.30pm Thursday 3 May 2018, with guests from across the world of art, curating and digital practice. Get free tickets for the party

EXIT STRATEGY continues from Friday 4 until Monday 7 May, 12noon – 5pm each day.


EVENT: Digital Art’s Exit Strategies
3pm – 4.30pm Saturday 5 May
We invite artists, theorists and curators Suhail Malik, Ami Clarke and Bob Bicknell-Knight to respond to the exhibition and propose art and curatorial strategies for exits. Open to all.


Indie Developer Showcase: Matthew Deline’s SHAPE ARCADE

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Any Button Gaming journalist Darren Colley recently met up with Matthew Deline, a student on our MA Indie Games & Playable Experience Design. We republish his article here.

This week we are showcasing the creator of retro tabletop arcade cabinet Shape Arcade, Matthew Deline.

m0ULgOqk_400x400Hi! My name is Matthew, and it’s very nice to meet you. I’m an aspiring independent game designer and travel blogger from California who is currently based in London. I love to travel and make cool things, and I am a passionate believer in the importance of storytelling and the power of creative expression through play.

Building on lessons learned throughout my professional and academic history, from a focus in world literature (I was named the 2009 Outstanding Graduate in English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University), to high-level Technical support for global teams at Apple in Cupertino, to my experiences filming, writing about, and sharing our world as a travel blogger with The Radical Dreamer, I’m currently studying to build transformative game experiences at one of the United Kingdom’s top universities for digital humanities with the MA Independent Games & Playable Experience Design program at Goldsmiths, University of London.

My key interests of study include interactive fiction, virtual reality, physical computing, and creative coding which gives me a unique interdisciplinary skill set from using Unity, GameMaker and C# to create digital games, to Twine for exploring branching and reactive narratives, to using Processing and Open Frameworks to make tools for creating generative artwork, and the use of microcontrollers and electronics for building playable (and playful) experiences.

And with a core focus on learning fundamental game design concepts, I now have a skill set that includes rapid prototyping and iteration on paper and in Unity for a broad range of both physical and digital experiences. And I’m incredibly excited for the opportunity to create with these new skills to explore the sociological and identity issues that are relative to interactive entertainment and the unique narrative and expressive qualities that the medium contains.

About The Game, Shape Arcade
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Shape Arcade is an arcade game where players compete to reach the highest score possible by using two dials to match their player’s shape to different colored shapes falling down the screen. Designed to be simple and intuitive to engage with, and challenging at higher levels of play.

Players match shapes by moving their player using the left dial, and increase or decrease the number of sides to their shape by turning the right dial. As players reach higher levels, their scores become even higher, and so do the stakes! Shapes move faster, rotate, and sway. Once they have missed three shapes in a row, the game is over.

The original concept for the game is inspired by early arcade-era games in which the goal is to reach the highest score possible. Games like Defender, Space Invaders, Asteroids, as well as more recent re-interpretations of the frenetic action in games like Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved and Pac Man Championship Edition DX were instrumental in defining the gameplay characteristics of flow and compelling interaction and colorful and simple aesthetics that I wanted to achieve with this game.

img_27001972’s Pong was a major influence on the arcade design that uses two dials for interaction. Early versions of Shape Arcade had three dials, and a remote controller over bluetooth, but it was feedback from players that pushed me in the direction of building an arcade cabinet that is heavily influenced by this design. The actual concept for the game itself (where you are matching falling shapes) comes from a more unlikely source, the game show Nokabe, which has been described as a sort of human Tetris where players must contort their bodies into awkward positions to fit through holes in walls that are coming towards them. The natural tension of having to match a particular shape or face disaster I
found very compelling, although the falling shapes in the final version of Shape Arcade are more akin to Tetris than the game show itself

The final art style of the game (including the font) was heavily inspired by the works of Josef Albers, László Moholy-Nagy, and other members of the Bauhaus school of art that utilized geometry and everyday patterns to create incredible things.

You can find out more about Shape Arcade and its development process in Matthew’s developer blog.

We cannot wait to see what Matthew works on next and you can keep up to date with where you can play Shape Arcade by following him on Twitter or checking out his website for more of what you have seen here.


Many thanks to Darren Colley for giving us permission to post his article here. Read more of Darren’s work here.

live.codecircle music projects

In August 2017, we challenged teams of students from our Creative Computing Summer School to programme and perform with a mobile or laptop-based instrument.

We only gave them four hours to create something from scratch, using live.codecircle.com. And the results are mind-blowing.

Team 1

Team 2

Team 3

Team 4

Team 5

Team 6

Team 7

Team 8


Mick Grierson becomes a professor

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Goldsmiths academic Mick Grierson has recently been honoured with a professorship in the Department of Computing. Here’s what he said…


Goldsmiths’ commitment to interdisciplinarity has made it the perfect place for me to develop as an academic. In the late 1990s, my obsession with experimental film and video led me to undertake a PhD across two departments, analysing and producing work through computation, in an attempt to progress the sci-art fusion that inspired the earliest computer art.

The idea of programming computers to analyse and create art was considered unfashionable by many at the time. But thanks to academics such as Janis Jefferies, Robert Zimmer, Michael Casey and later, Mark d’Inverno, this wasn’t the case at Goldsmiths. So I came.

I joined Goldsmiths from Kent University’s Film Studies Department in 2006, bringing with me an interdisciplinary AHRC Creative Fellowship in interactive filmmaking, computation and cognitive science. Although I was originally in Music, I soon found myself taking a permanent job in the relatively embryonic Computing department, as the director of the newly launched Creative Computing BSc programme.

Over the past decade, it’s been immensely satisfying to see the department develop into one that is as successful as it is interdisciplinary. I’ve been fortunate to be able to continue my funded research in Creative Technologies throughout this period, whilst helping to launch and maintain a number of academic programmes, including Creative Computing, MA/MFA in Computational Arts, Music Computing (with the Music Department), Digital Arts Computing (with the Art Department), and the PhD in Arts and Computational Technology.

Goldsmiths is now one of the UK’s leading institutions for creative code, attracting the finest academics in the field, whilst producing world-renowned research in interaction, creativity and machine learning. I’d like to think I’ve played a part in that transformation, and hope I can continue to do so.​

Mick Grierson and Matthew Yee-King ask how computer science can benefit from art school approaches to learning.

Mick Grierson’s website


This article was first published on the Goldsmiths staff intranet.

Find your way to Computing labs at Goldsmiths

Newcomers sometimes find it difficult to find their way around the Goldsmiths campus, so here’s a video guide to locating our Computing labs:

  • RHB 306, Richard Hoggart Building
  • RHB 306a, Richard Hoggart Building
  • St James Block 3 ground floor
  • Hatchlab, G11 Hatcham St James Building
  • WB 219 and Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, Whitehead Building

NB: All of these labs are wheelchair accessible, but the directions below sometimes assume an ability to climb stairs. Please contact us if you need accessible directions.


RHB 306, Richard Hoggart Building
The big computing lab on the second floor of the Richard Hoggart Building (the main, old red brick building). From reception, turn left and go up the red corridor. Take Staircase B to the second floor. Then take the 4-5 steps in front of you, and head left into RHB 306.


RHB 306a, Richard Hoggart Building
You’d think that this would be right next to RHB 306, wouldn’t you? It is, but you access it from the other side of the building. From the Richard Hoggart Building reception, turn right and go up the white corridor. Take Staircase F to the second floor. Go straight ahead into RHB 306.


St James Block 3 ground floor
This is the most difficult to find! From Goldsmiths College Green, go down the back of the Whitehead Building. Follow the road down the hill until you reach TCIDA (Tungsten Centre for Intelligent Data Analytics). Turn right and walk towards St James Block 3, which looks like a big mobile classroom.


Hatchlab, G11 Hatcham St James Building
This is the cool maker space in the back of ‘the church’. From Goldsmiths College Green, go though the gate at the top of Laurie Grove. Go down the little alleyway next to the Laban Centre, and you’ll see the church in front of you. Hatchlab (aka G11) is at the back of the ground floor. Wheelchair users can take the side entrance on the left of the building. If you’re coming from New Cross Road, watch this video instead.


WB 219 and the Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, Whitehead Building
The Whitehead Building is the modern yellow building on the College Green. Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre is on the ground floor. WB 219 computing labs are upstairs.


OVERLAP {MA Computational Arts exhibition}

As we hurtle towards the end of 2017, here’s a look back at this September’s Computational Arts exhibition, OVERLAP.

The MA/MFA Computational Arts is a hands-on programme for the next generation of digital artists to develop practical skills in the fields of creative coding, physical computing and computational arts. The annual exhibition is organised by current students and showcases their final projects.

Unlock molecular secrets with BioBlox VR

BioBlox, a VR game which tackles how biological molecules fit together, exhibits at this year’s New Scientist Live.

BioBlox is the result of a collaboration between researchers at Imperial College London and Goldsmiths, University of London. It turns the science of how proteins fit together (or ‘dock’) with smaller molecules, such as medicines and vitamins, into a Tetris-style puzzle game and quiz. Players manipulate and dock molecules into proteins to score points and earn bonus powers in a race against time.

First launched as a 2D mobile game, Bioblox is now available as a 3D desktop game and Virtual Reality experience – which exhibits at New Scientist Live 2017.

Where: New Scientist Live, ExCel Centre, London E16 1XL
When: 28 September – 1 October 2017
Tickets and info


How molecules dock onto proteins is the key to understanding processes in the cell, and in particular to designing new drugs to treat conditions such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. The complex 3D forms of such molecules – resembling the bumpy surface of an asteroid full of pits and craters – make understanding how they fit together extremely challenging.

The researchers designed the game to be fun but also to help players learn about protein research and it could be used in schools to teach chemistry and biology. The quiz asks players to name a biological molecule from its description – for example asking them to name the molecule that is used by our cells to produce energy later identified as glucose.

Professor William Latham, from the Department of Computing at Goldsmiths, and Creative Director of the project, said: “In BioBlox2D we open the world of protein docking to the mass market casual games player, where they have fun playing our puzzle game but at the same time learn about the science.”

Professor Michael Sternberg, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial and one of project leads, said: “We were inspired by a scientific problem to develop a fun-to-play game where players can experience the challenges of matching both shapes and electrical charges, which is central to how life works.”

The researchers say the block-slotting gameplay is given an original twist as players also have to match positively charged blocks with negatively charged ones – a reference to the binding mechanisms of real proteins. Successfully clearing blocks unlocks information and bonuses such as slowing time and automatically completing a level.

The team have also released a 3D version at the same time as the 2D version, and hope to make it possible to crowdsource the protein docking problem through citizen science challenges.

The intention with BioBlox3D and BioBloxVR is to simulate the protein docking problem with far greater realism in 3D and potentially solve real-world problems. At the moment, the pre-set models in the game come from an existing protein database, but players will soon have the ability to upload their own protein data and experiment in 3D and VR.

Frederic Fol Leymarie, Professor of Computing at Goldsmiths and co-lead on the project, said: “It is hoped this will provide the building blocks for people to create citizen science challenges to, for instance, crowdsource the search for new drug molecules.”

The project was supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).


This article was written in June 2017 by Pete Wilton and originally posted in Goldsmiths News. It was updated on 21 September 2017 to include news of Bioblox VR at New Scientist Live.