Our installation on Hive Beach in Dorset, Storyweir, finishes on Sunday 9th September. Here are some photos taken by photographer Pete Millson. From October 13th we will also be participating in an exhibition about the ExLab commissions in Bridport Arts Centre’s Allsop Gallery.
We’ve just published our latest entry in the City As Material series: ‘Professor Starling’s Thetford-London-Oxford Expedition’ – three books documenting the investigative excursions of Professor William Starling and his research team (Lisa Hirmer and Andrew Hunter of DodoLab, Josephine Mills of the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Lethbridge artist Leila Armstrong, and Giles Lane and Hazem Tagiuri of Proboscis) during his trip to the United Kingdom in Feburary, where he sought to examine the rapid disappearance of the European Starling in contrast to the continued expansion of its North American cousin.
The first volume, Perquisitions, contains descriptions of the various participants’ thoughts on the expedition and its rationale. Congeries showcases selected items and ideas collected during their travels, and the final volume, Speculations, offers reflections and fantastical musings on the material gathered and testimonies heard.
Purchase a limited edition copy complete with specially printed ribbon here.
Since November we have been doing a lot of background research for Storyweir our commission to explore the relationship between the human story and physical geology at Hive Beach on the Jurassic Coast, working with local people, geologists, Human geographers at the University of Exeter the Hive Beach Cafe and the National Trust.
It is a place of many intersecting narratives of sea, land, farming, fishing, industry (the area was a flax, rope and net producer for several hundred years) and geology; which are all woven together amongst narratives of time. A walk on Hive beach takes you from the deep unimaginable time of geology to human time and through many cycles of tides, seasons, and patterns of life.
This month I head back to local village Burton Bradstock to spend a bit of time out and about again talking to people involved in geology and fossil hunting as well as people living and working in the area. I’m really interested in how the human ‘data’ that forms the aura of the place (stories, experiences, local knowledge) sits next to or can merge with scientific data and analysis.
We will be there from the 22 – 24 March and weather permitting will be on Hive Beach from 11.30am to 2.30pm on the 24th March offering a cup of tea in exchange for peoples experiences of the area so if you are in the area please come and join us.
Image: Strata in the Burton Sandstone Cliffs – an example of the distinctive layered geology of the cliffs which contain many fossils of the Jurassic era.
Once again we have been collaborating with our esteemed colleagues Andrew Hunter and Lisa Hirmer at DodoLab on a discursive exploration of place and knowledge as part of our ongoing investigations and collaborative publishing project, City As Material. This time we have been undertaking a research expedition with Professor William Starling into the decline of the European Starling in Britain, seeking stories and evidence to explain their rapid disappearance in three towns : Thetford (in Norfolk), London and Oxford. Alongside Proboscis and DodoLab, we were accompanied by expedition members Dr Josie Mills, Curator of the Art Gallery at the University of Lethbridge, Canada and artist Leila Armstrong.
Haz has posted reports for each of the journeys and visitations which we undertook in Thetford, London and Oxford over on our bookleteer blog and we are now collaborating to produce a series of eBooks charting the expedition’s activities and findings – blending together questions, observations, musings, photos, drawings, rubbings and other things collected. As before, we’ll print up a limited edition of the books as well as placing downloadable PDFs in the online Diffusion Library for handmade versions and enabling bookreader versions for reading online.
We recently had a chance to meet everybody in the Exploratory Laboratory 2 project on the Jurassic Coast when we all got together at the main briefing event down in Bridport. We caught up with our partners, Julie Penfold of pva MediaLab, Polly Gifford of Bridport Arts Centre, Graham Waffen of Hive Beach Cafe and Caroline of the National Trust, and got to meet our science collaborators, fellow artists and hosting organisations.
The Exlab commissioned artists got together with the Exlab earth scientists, human geographers, production teams and hosts to have a round-robin set of presentations which all got us clued up about themes, the teams and how they were linking with individual commissions. It was exciting to make new connections outside and across our disciplines and see very different points of view and approaches in our various practices.
On the second day of our trip we kicked off our local research for our own Storyweir exploring the relationship between people and the geology.
We got a better grasp the lay of the physical geology and land around the Hive Beach cafe area at Burton Bradstock, explored stretches of the landscape and the beach between Burton Bradstock and Bridport and started with a ‘deep dive’ into the local archives discovering many nuggets of local history and relations to this site that is rich in both the geological history of the mid Jurassic (with rich deposits of fossils in parts of the cliffs) and the social history, myths, folklore, industry (rope and net making), farming and mackerel fishing.
After reading about the Jurassic Coast several years ago I’m really excited that we now have the chance to work there on a new commission at Hive Beach and Burton Bradstock, for our project Storyweir. Its been commissioned by PVA medialab and Bridport Arts Centre working with Hive Beach Cafe and the National Trust as part of ExLab 2012.
The commission will be developed over the next few months as we research and collaborate with geographers, earth scientists, the cafe and communities on the coast at Hive Beach and around the village of Burton Bradstock. We’ll be exploring how the human story of the Jurassic coast and the physical geography influence each other. The final works will be staged on the coast during the 2012 Olympic/Paralympic sailing events.
We will be popping up on Hive Beach with a temporary lab to work with local communities recording stories of amateur geology, scientific fact, folklore and tall tales alongside looking at scientific data and mapping of erosion, gathering local sounds and working with geologists and cultural geographers.
Hive Beach runs along the other-wordly Bridport Sands cliffs where it is possible to see Jurassic Strata and where there is a thin upper layer of limestone, the Inferior Oolite which is rich in fossils such as ammonites, belemnites, shells and sponges. Its a place both steeped in ancient geological time and is a rich mix of more recent physical and social history, folklore, scientific knowledge (amateur and professional) and contemporary stories.
Last month I went up to Coventry Market to spend the day talking to traders and shoppers about set of works on paper I made last year as part of an ongoing series about markets, food and the informal spaces that draw communities together. The Coventry Market Traders found the works online, contacted me and bought them to hang permanently in the market hall. It was a honour to have the traders buy the work and bring it back home where it was created. You can get a sense of Coventry Market from this film made by the traders. The drawings will be on permanent display later this year but for now you can see images of the 10 works on flickr here. They grew out of a commission from Dan Thompson of the Empty Shops Network to record some of the places the ESN Tour was going to. I was inspired by the vibrancy of Coventry Market and the care traders take over arranging and decorating their stalls as well as the range of produce; from pet food to ribbon, cards to cucumbers, roasting tins to yams, fishing tackle to carpets, cakes and cranberries, you name it, someone will have it. You can find out more on the market website.
I want to say a big thanks to Bill and Sophie for looking after me so well last month and to Brian and all the Coventry Market traders for making me so welcome.
Next week I’m travelling to Sydney to participate, as a ‘provocateur’ in the Hot Science, Global Citizens Symposium, held at the Powerhouse Museum. I’m taking part in a session called Creative Agency and Programming in Museums and Science Centres with Seb Chan, Wayne LaBar, Tara Morelos & Declan Kuch. I’m also hoping to do one or more City As Material/Anarchaeology events whilst I’m there – more on that soon.
My talk is called Oblique Devices :
In Proboscis’ work we rarely address problems like ‘Climate Change’ head-on. As artists we feel empowered to raise questions but cannot claim to have definitive answers or solutions. Our practice is to entice, provoke, humour and challenge, not to preach or claim authority. However, change is a constant feature of history and how humans respond to it reflects our social and cultural adaptability, the dynamism and resilience of our cultures and civilisations. By creating projects that provoke dialogue within and across communities we hope to challenge some of the powerful, and often misleading, nostrums of our age; to pause and reflect before we commit ourselves to unequivocal outcomes. What we offer is critical dissent; what we hope is that people are inspired and empowered to shape their own responses, to weave their own patterns within the changes that surround them.
About the session :
Panelists will address key aspects of creative thinking and creative practices about climate change, discussing their own projects and visions on climate change in response to some of the key themes being addresses by the HSGC ARC Research Linkage Project in order to stimulate debate around climate change. Possible themes may include: climate change and citizen engagement; artist-led projects on creative mitigation and environmental education; creative strategies for audience engagement and civic participation; developing awareness campaigns and critical consciousness on climate change action; the role of interactive and pervasive technologies for collaborative initiatives and local community engagement on climate change, such as sensor technologies, alternate reality games, social media, smart phone apps, GIS mapping, etc. Speakers are invited to present ideas for museums/science centres creative programming design and to offer their views on opportunities of transdisciplinary and collaborative research.
More information about the symposium :
HOT SCIENCE, GLOBAL CITIZENS: the agency of the museum and science centre sector in climate change interventions Symposium,
Sydney, Australia, 5-6 May 2011
Climate change is an environmental, cultural and political phenomenon that is reshaping the way we think about ourselves, our societies and humanity’s place on Earth. This symposium presents the research findings of the Australian Research Council international Linkage project, Hot Science, Global Citizens: the agency of the museum sector in climate change interventions along with other leading research to develop new knowledge about what constitutes effective action around climate change, the critical roles that institutions can play and visions for the future of museums and science centres. The second day will feature an ‘unconference’ session to tease out innovative programming ideas and engage participants in discussions.
Professor Mike Hulme School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, UK
Elaine Heumann Gurian International Museum Consultant
Dr Emlyn Koster CEO Liberty Science Center, USA
Professor David Karoly Climate scientist and public commentator
Dr Saffron O’Neill Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Melbourne
Giles Lane Director, Proboscis, London, UK
Dr Dawn Casey Director, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Frank Howarth Director, Australian Museum, Sydney
Professor Graham Durant Director, Questacon, Canberra
Tara Morelos d/Lux/MediaArts
Wayne LaBar Vice President, Exhibitions and Programs, Liberty Science Center, USA
Seb Chan Head of Digital, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Declan Kuch Australian Youth Climate Change Coalition
Project researchers Academic team: Dr Fiona Cameron (Lead Chief Investigator); Professor Robert Hodge; Associate Professor Brett Neilson and Dr Juan Salazar from the Centre for Cultural Research, with Professor Jann Conroy from the Centre for Plant and Food Science and Professor David Karoly from the University of Melbourne, Dr Ben Dibley, Dr Anne Newstead, Dr Ann Deslandes, Dr Carol Farbotko
Partner organisations and researchers: Museum Victoria, Melbourne; Powerhouse Museum, Sydney; Australian Museum, Sydney; Questacon, Canberra; Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, US with the University of Melbourne, Earth Sciences and the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK.
This year we will begin a major new programme of projects exploring the intangible things we value most about the people, places and communities we live in : Public Goods. Through a series of projects over a 5 year period we’ll be making artworks, films, events, exhibitions and publications in places across the nation (and hopefully abroad too) working in collaboration with both other creative practitioners and local people.
In this first year we’re planning a series of smaller research projects to help us meet and engage with collaborators, identify places and communities, themes and activities. We’ll be using our City As Material format for collaborative urban exploration and zine-making as a method of investigating new places with local people, and also focused projects, like Alice’s As It Comes, in both urban and rural settings exploring other knowledges and experiences that are often overlooked or are being swept away by the fast pace of social change. We also plan to continue our research collaborations into new technologies for public authoring, play and sensing the world around us (such as Urban Tapestries, bookleteer and Sensory Threads).
Our aim is to build up an archive, or archives, of the intangible goods that people most value and want to share – transmitting hope and belief through artistic practice to others in the present and for the future. In the teeth of a radical onslaught against the tangible public assets we are familiar with (libraries, forests, education etc), Public Goods seeks to celebrate and champion a re-valuation of those public assets which don’t readily fit within the budget lines of an accountant’s spreadsheet.
We’d love to hear from communities, practitioners or organisations who’d like us to work with them around this theme – do get in touch.
Proboscis is collaborating in a series of labs, artworks and interventions with artist/curator Andrew Hunter of DodoLab. So far, DodoLabs have been run at the World Environmental Education Congress in Montreal (May 09); Confederation Centre, Prince Edward Island (Aug 09) the Guelph Jazz Festival (Sept 09), Rijeka, Croatia (June 2010). More labs and workshops are planned for 2010, including in the UK. DodoLab is supported by the Musagetes Foundation and the School of Architecture, University of Waterloo, Canada.
A continuing element of the collaboration centers on using bookleteer to create artists books, documentation, workbooks, storycubes and other publications about DodoLab and its activities which you can see and download them here. DodoLab was the founding member of the bookleteer alpha club.
DodoLab is a dynamic and experimental project exploring issues of resilience in places undergoing change and urban regeneration. The lab creates performances, artworks, interventions, events and education projects through an engagement with sites and communities. They use communication and social tools (such as posters, tagging, personal media devices, puppet figures and outdoor cafes) that are ubiquitous in the city.
DodoLab Montreal, Canada
The first DodoLab was held in Montréal in May 2009 at the 5th World Environmental Education Congress – a creative intervention in the exhibition hall and out and about in Montréal itself. Proboscis and the DodoLab team created a series of projects engaging the congress delegates in questioning concepts of sustainability. Giles Lane devised and a facilitated a social mapping and StoryCube activity engaging several hundred delegates in exploring their interconnections and ideas on sustainability and resilience.
DodoLab PEI, Charlottetown, Canada
DodoLab PEI is was hosted by the Confederation Centre Art Gallery and explored green space in the city, notably the Experimental Farm which is due to be redeveloped. Proboscis took part in creating and distributed seedbombs at the local Farmer’s Market, designing books, and undertaking research into the Experimental Farm Station for our new work, In Good Heart, (by Alice Angus), which considered the shift from rural to urban and the perception of ‘farm’. In Good Heart was exhibited as part of the show Dig Up My Heart: Artistic Practice in the Field curated by Shauna McCabe at the Confederation Centre Gallery in summer 2010.
DodoLab Riejka, Croatia
Alice Angus joined DodoLab in Reijka in June 2010 to research a new video installation and series of works on paper about Rijeka Market and its many traders. Dodolab are working in Rijeka in 2010 with the city and local groups to explore perceptions of Rijeka, collaboratively examining ideas about the city and its future with a particular emphasis on the role of young people.
Proboscis collaboration with Dodolab grows our work with RENDER, Andrew Hunters previous project. Our past collaborative projects have included At the Water’s Edge, a new work specifically for the atrium of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Cambridge exploring the social, cultural and natural histories of the Grand River; Anarchaeology and The Accidental Menagerie.
There are no fences here … when you go out of town there are no fences, but I wouldn’t call this a wilderness because peoples homes are here, people live here.
This week I’ve been packing up a set of drawings to send out to the Canadian arctic town of Inuvik for the first leg of a touring show during the the 25 year anniversary of Ivvavik National Park in Canada which was created by a historic Aboriginal land claim settlement The Inuvialuit Final Agreement, signed in 1984. In it the Inuvialuit agreed to give up exclusive use of their ancestral lands in exchange for guaranteed rights from the Government of Canada. The rights came in three forms: land, wildlife management and money. (read more on the Inuvaliuit Regional Corporation). As a result Parks Canada and the Inuvialuit co-operatively manage Ivvavik National Park with the Inuvaluit Wisdom that the “The land will protect the people who support the protect the land“. Parks Canada has organised a touring exhibition of work from their Artist in The Park programme which I was invited to be part of by artist Joyce Majiski, in 2003 with whom Ive been working with since them on projects such as Topographies and Tales.
Middle of Nowhere?
Bordered on the north by the Beaufort Sea and Alaska on the West, Ivvavik sits at the north western tip of Canada. A highly biodiverse region of the Western Arctic, its Inuvaluktun name ‘Ivvavik’ means nursery or place of giving birth. It is a portion of the calving grounds and migration route of the Porcupine caribou herd and forms a part of the Beringia Refugium; an area untouched by the last glaciation where an ice-free bridge allowed humans and animals to migrate from Asia into North America over twenty thousand years ago.
In summer 2003 I met up with artists Joyce Majiski Ron Felix, Audrea Wulf and James Ruben, guide Mervyn Joe and elder Sarah Dillon and flew out of Inuvik, across the Mackenzie Delta towards Sheep Creek. From the air (and in the imaginations of the temperate zone) the arctic taiga and tundra, is a frozen desert. But landing at the junction of Sheep Creek and the Firth River we saw tussocks of wild flowers, embroidered cushions with succulent jewel like plants, luminescent mosses and ferns; miniature gardens of Babylon. Out on the land there were larger traces of life and stories of trappers, miners, hunters and travelers. The language of the north I grew up with paints an image of bleakness, but there the myths of desolation fell away.
“Have good time miles from nowhere!” someone had said before I set off. In the world’s ‘wildernesses’ like Ivvavik it is easy for a visitor to be lost in such a reverie of wonder at landscape that you miss the lives and culture that are part of it. There is a disjuncture between the notion of wilderness as barren, by definition disconnected from the social, and the view of land as homeland, a social place of culture, food and everyday life. To many outside the north the Arctic is still shrouded in an aura of romanticism portrayed, as it has been through the history of polar exploration, as a landscape of sublime desolation. To some, I expect, it’s not a place but an imaginary landscape far away from their everyday lives. I wonder what is the global consequence of this enduring vision of the land?
One day we see five caribou. Pregnant cows lead the herd from Ivvavik into the calving grounds in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR); an area rich in oil reserves. So important are the grounds the Gwitchin people refer to them as the “sacred place where life begins”. If the ANWR is opened for drilling many people believe it will result in untold damage to the herd and the people whose lives and traditions depend on it.
Over the past few months we have been developing new wearables and improvements to the Rumbler for Sensory Threads, which we successfully tested working together last week. The new wearables are based on Arduino and use XBee for communication, and the Rumbler now has multiple map selection, replay and printing (on the Rumbler’s attached micro-printer) of specific expeditions.
In the coming months we are planning to conduct a series of experimental expeditions through London to test the platform and build up a repertoire of expeditions for the Rumbler to replay. We will also be exploring building more portable versions of the Rumbler to make it easier to present at conferences and festivals.
Carnival is a time when everyday life is suspended – a time when the fool becomes king for a day, when social hierarchies are inverted and the pavement becomes the stage, a time when everyone is equal. There is no audience at a carnival, only carnival-goers.
A single screen video work, by Proboscis, drawing together line animation, visualisation of sensor data and video footage of a live event featuring European carnival characters Mr Punch and The Plague Doctor as they cavort around London in costumes instrumented with environmental sensors.
Orlagh and I are just finishing a short video, inspired by our Snout project, which will have its first outing at the upcoming Mobilefest Festival in Sao Paulo Brazil. A single screen video work – it draws together line animation, visualisation of sensor data and video footage of a live event featuring European carnival characters Mr Punch and The Plague Doctor as they cavort around London in costumes instrumented with environmental sensors. It reminded me that Snout was featured in 2008 in Zona 2; signs in the city, a supplement to the Italian architecture and design magazine Abitaire. So to accompany the video here is the short essay and my drawings from Zona about the project:
A theatre of the everyday
Carnival is a time when everyday life is suspended – a time when the fool becomes king for a day, when social hierarchies are inverted and the pavement becomes the stage, a time when everyone is equal. There is no audience at a carnival, only carnival-goers.
On 10 April 2007 the Snout ‘carnival’ performance and public forum (featuring Mr Punch and The Plague Doctor instrumented with environmental sensors) drew together artists, producers, performers and computer programmers to explore how wearable technologies with environmental sensors can combine with Internet sharing technologies to map the invisible gases in our everyday environment. The project by Proboscis, inIVA and researchers from Birkbeck College also explored how communities can use this evidence to initiate local action.
For Proboscis public space is a focus for convening conversation and dialogue. It gives context to shared issues such as pollution, the environment, and our personal and communal relationships to them. In Snout, we sought to meld the problem of measuring pollution in public space with ways to begin a conversation between local people that can inspire a path to change; not just frighten people with statistics.
Our world is increasingly affected by human behaviour and industry – there is awareness of pollution in public spaces but we rarely have access to actual data. What is the local air quality of our street like? What ground toxins are present? The participatory sensing concept seeks to put the science and technologies of environmental sensing into the hands of local people to gather and visualise evidence about their environment.
We chose Mr Punch as an allegory of Western consumer culture. Punch is the fool, the trickster, an anti-authoritarian figure – challenging social structures, yet never taking responsibility for his actions. In the traditional Punch story – The Tragical Comedy, Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch, he defeats authority, but at the same time kills all the people close and dear to him. Ultimately he is left alone. We also chose the Plague Doctor because of his ambiguous relationship to technology. The doctor’s outfit is a kind of seventeenth century HazMat suit, but is he a real doctor or is he a quack hiding behind the cultural and hygienic prophylactic of the costume? With both the characters we are questioning the social and cultural role not only of technologies but also of those who use them, and why.
The data collected by the sensors in the Snout costumes are the ingredients for a feast of conversation; a recipe that includes various ingredients (sensor data, statistics culled from official websites and local knowledge shared by the community) to cook up local feasts of conversation. In addition to the data picked up by the sensors on the Snout costumes (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, noise, solvent vapours etc), other sources were aggregated such as local health statistics, local education and the ‘deprivation’ index.
Consumerism drives a headlong scramble of production, underpinned our concept of individual freedom and choice. Our desire to have technologies which ‘free’ us, enable greater communication and ability to travel are also ones which contribute to accelerating ecological damage. The technologies we manipulate to help us make sense of these issues are also part of the problem. The question then becomes, how do we take responsibility for the impact of our desires upon the environments we live in, and their effects on the environments of others? How can we shift our perceptions of what can happen on the street, in public space, to create the context to begin conversations?
NOW & UPCOMING
Our new web app for creating Diffusion eBooks and StoryCubes was deployed at the end of September and is now in an ‘alpha’ testing phase. A number of people have been invited to help us test the fledgling service and put it through its paces in preparation for a wider public ‘beta’ test next year. Follow our progress on twitter and on the bookleteer blog, or alternatively take part in one of our ‘Pitch Up & Publish’ sessions where you’ll get a free bookleteer test account and help to learn how to make eBooks and StoryCubes.
http://bookleteer.com | http://bookleteer.com/blog | http://twitter.com/bookleteer
bookleter alpha club
Proboscis has launched a supporters’ club offering advance access during the ‘alpha’ phase (up to 5 user accounts, access to APIs, pitch up & publish workshops & a Proboscis artists’ bookwork). Funds raised will go towards development of the bookleteer public beta which we hope to launch in Spring 2010. Alpha Club members will be honoured on the site as founder sponsors, and membership will be exclusive to those who join during the alpha phase. We’re excited that our first two members are DodoLab and Architecture Centre Network.
http://bookleteer.com/blog/2009/10/alpha-club/ | http://bookleteer.com/blog/alpha-club/
arte.mov and Mobilefest, Brazil
Proboscis will be showing a new installation piece as part of the Mobilefest Festival, in Sao Paulo at MIC November 11-17.
Giles Lane will be presenting at the arte.mov festival symposium in Belo Horizonte on November 13th as well as devising a creative project about the city during his stay.
Giles will also be participating in arte.mov’s symposium in Salvador de Bahia on the 17-19th November.
With Our Ears To The Ground
Proboscis has been commissioned by Green Heart Partnership with Hertfordshire County Council to explore peoples ideas about community. The project focuses on four very different types of community in order to get a broad range of opinions across the county: in Watford, Stevenage, rural North Hertfordshire and the commuter areas of Broxbourne. It focuses on finding out the reasons why people get on with each other and feel part of the community and is about developing a better understanding of our communities in order to help Hertfordshire County Council and its partners to plan their work supporting communities over the next few years.
http://withourearstotheground.wordpress.com | http://twitter.com/ears2theground
City As Material Course
Giles Lane is leading a course for students from Vassar College, New York State, USA who are on an international study program in London. It is a co-creative course for students to explore the city, investigate how other artists and creative people have used it as an artistic medium, and devise their own personal creative interventions.
lift @ home’s Hands on Barcelona’s Informational Membrane
Giles was an invited speaker at the Citilab workshop in Barcelona, Spain, October 24:
At the Water’s Edge: Grand River Sketches
Alice Angus’ large format work of drawings and video was installed in Render’s main exhibition space in Waterloo, Canada September 23rd to October 30th. It was accompanied by screenings of Alice’s film Topographies & Tales, made with Joyce Majiski.
Arteleku’s My Map Is Not Your Map
Giles was an invited speaker at the workshop in Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain, September 23-25:
DodoLab PEI, Charlottetown, Canada
Proboscis took part in another DodoLab in August, this time in the province of Prince Edward Island, in Canada’a Atlantic Maritimes. There we helped create and distribute seedbombs at the local Farmer’s Market, design eBooks for questionnaires, research into the Experimental Farm Station and worked on some large-scale drawings.
New Diffusion Titles
The Postcard Places Project by Lisa Hirmer with Laura Knap http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1602>
In the Shadow of Senate House by Hatherley, McNeile, Downing & Leslie http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1575
The Rustification of Henry Thomas Brown by Andrew Thomas Hunter http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1562
DodoLab Wants to Know: What Are The Signs of a Creative City? http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1352
DodoLab Wants to Know: About Green Space by Lisa Hirmer http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1347
An A-Z of The Ting: Theatre of Mistakes by Marie-Anne Mancio http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1327
Ethnographic Notebooks, British Museum Melanesia Project http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1301
Dodolab Wants To Know http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1295
The Lunar House ‘Re-enactment’ by Tony White http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1292
Estado de presencia por Cristina Luna http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1281
The Octuplet: Story of Our Lives by Babette Wagenvoort http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1245
Le Corbeau / The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe tr. Stéphane Mallarmé http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1238
More Diffusion Shareable Notebooks http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1227
Blakewalking by Tim Wright http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1223
Sutton Grapevine: Youth Group Storyboard by Alice Angus & Orlagh Woods http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1217
This Saturday I’m heading to Barcelona to take part in the lift @ home workshop at CitiLab organised by Fabien Girardin and Nicolas Nova – Hands on Barcelona’s Informational Membrane, part of Urban Lab days. I’ll be there, I understand, as a sort of respondent to the keynotes, Adam Greenfield and Ben Cerveny, offering some of our experiences in working at grassroots level – and I guess at policy level too – with geospatial systems, public authoring, sensor networks and doing general mischief.
Fabien has posted a list and bios of the workshop’s attendees, a very eclectic mix of doers and thinkers, here.
Alice Angus and Giles Lane are currently participating in the latest DodoLab in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada where we are working alongside Andrew Hunter (Chief DodoLabster), Barb Hobot, Laura Knapp and Lisa Hirmer, as well as a group of students from Mount Allison University led by Dr Shauna McCabe.
A film by Alice Angus and Joyce Majiski using music, oral recordings, drawing, animation and storytelling to playfully unearth local and personal stories, memories and myths against a picture of how concepts of space and environment are shaped by ideas of belonging and home. A personal exploration of the intimate way people form relationships with their environments, Topographies and Tales takes a journey through the myths and perceptions the filmmakers encountered on their travels in the west of Scotland and the Yukon.
Topographies and Tales is part of Alice’s long term collaboration with Canadian artist Joyce Majiski. They began a collaboration in 2003 which took them to Ivvavik National Park in the Canadian Arctic, Glenmore Lodge in the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland, the Klondike Institute for Art and Culture in Dawson City, Canada, Joyce’s Tuktu Studio in Whitehorse and the Proboscis Studio in London.
The environment around us is a mass of sensory information, some of it easy to detect, playing on our visual, aural, olfactory, gustatory and tactile senses, while others are less perceptible – electro-magnetic radiation, hi-lo sound frequencies, infra-red light etc – and yet these imperceptible streams interact with us regularly as we go about our everyday lives.
Back in September 2008 Proboscis devised a one day workshop for Dislocate08 in Yokohama, Japan to “engage artists, urbanists, designers, technologists, musicians and dancers in an active investigation into the sensorial patterns and rhythms to be found in our environment”. The workshop was one of our first research activities for Sensory Threads, which we hoped would inspire some critical reflection on the project’s aim to create a playful instrument for exploring imperceptible phenomena in the world around – translating them into sound and touch.
The ‘foreigness’ of Japan to the team of 3 who went to run the workshop (Giles Lane, Karen Martin & Frederik Lesage) was an important consideration in deciding its location. We felt that such an unfamiliar place, people, culture and language might present interesting challenges that would mean we would have to be keenly aware of the environment all the time. Once there it reminded us how easily we become de-sensitised to our surroundings through habit and familiarity: the smells of places, air pressure, humidity etc. Those things which pervade us constantly so that we rarely notice them, except when they change or are absent. In Japan we noticed the extraordinary cultural emphasis on paying attention to the details, the small pleasures and experiences of everyday life, which appears to be preserved in mainstream culture and society there through rituals, practice and patience at so many levels, from seasonal food to street decorations.
Returning to London and discussing the event and our experiences in Japan with the rest of the Sensory Threads team it helped shape our conception of the soundscape that the wearables would create – that it would be designed to act as a means of alerting the wearers to subtle changes in ourselves and the environment so that they could experience a sensitivity to their relationship with it. The choice of sensors would be ones that could be tuned just beyond or at the fringes of human perception, giving us a new means of ‘listening’ to the world and how we are part of it – acting with and acted on. The Rumbler too was shaped by these considerations – making imperceptible phenomena tangible through the media of touch, translating sensor data into vibration as well as sound.
Taking the project forward after our prototype demo at the Dana Centre last month, we plan to explore new levels of participatory and collective sensing, richer sonification and making tangible souvenirs for participants more seamless with the experience.
Sensory Threads will get its first public demo at the London Science Museum’s Dana Centre on June 23rd 2009 as part of the Surface Tension event. We will be demonstrating the prototype Wearable Sensors and the Rumbler and inviting participants to test out the system during the day. The event is free and no booking is required.
Below are some photos from a recent test at our studio and in the surrounding streets of Clerkenwell.
Proboscis has recently been invited to join a tender bid to Urban Living and Birmingham City Council for the Sandwell Sense of Place project. The other partners are Rob Annable and Mike Menzies of axis design architects (who are leading the bid); Michael Kohn and Chris of YouCanPlan and Nick Booth of Podnosh. The sense of place project aims to devise a toolkit and archive using a variety of media and techniques for local residents to articulate their sense of place in two areas of Sandwell near Birmingham in the ‘Western Growth Corridor‘. This sense of place and its archive will form a key input into the regeneration masterplanning process.
As part of our interview we created a special Diffusion eBook outlining the team’s approach and illustrating some of our previous work.
DodoLab is a collaboration between Render, Proboscis and the Musagetes Foundation – a dynamic and experimental co-creative lab for engaging participants in events and communities to challenge accepted ideas and develop insights into contexts, processes and situations.
The first DodoLab was held in Montréal in May 2009 at the 5th World Environmental Education Congress – a creative intervention in the exhibition hall and out and about in Montréal itself. Led by Andrew Hunter of Render, the DodoLab team created a series of projects engaging the congress delegates in questioning concepts of sustainability and environmental education with a focus on resilience and adaptability. Giles Lane devised and a facilitated a mapping and StoryCube activity engaging several hundred delegates in annotating a world map with their location and connections to other places, and completing a StoryCube about their ideas on sustainability and resilience.
Paralelo, Sao Paulo, Brasil
Alice, Giles and Orlagh travelled to Sao Paulo in Brasil to take part in the AHRC and British Council sponsored event, Paralelo, hosted by the British Council Brasil, MIS-Museum of Image and Sound and Centro Cultural de Sao Paulo. We helped with the event facilitation, running two social mapping workshops and designing a special Paralelo Diffusion eNotebook, Travelling Through Layers, for participants to capture and share ideas, reflections and information.
As part of our commission, Being in Common, for the Art of Common Space project at Gunpowder Park we created a pack of cards containing our catalogue of ideas. The catalogue is a playful exploration of ‘common space’ drawing together fragments and ideas from across the project, to be played with, read individually or assembled into narratives and stories making unexpected connections and perspectives.
The Catalogue is inspired by the collective nature of playing cards. It includes writing, photographs, imagery and ephemera created and collected during the project, and includes material from the Exploration Packs that Proboscis sent to people around the world to investigate their perspectives on ‘common space’.
The Catalogue of Ideas is one of several works made for Being in Common. Proboscis also created three site specific works in the Park using optics, mirrors and viewmasters, to reveal different perspectives of the site.