Tomorrow I start my journey to Papua New Guinea where I’m taking part in the Saem Majnep Memorial Symposium on Traditional Environmental Knowledge (TEK), hosted by the University of Goroka (Eastern Highlands Province) and supported by the Christensen Fund. The title and abstract of my talk at the symposium is:
Digital and Physical : simple solutions for documenting and sharing community knowledge
My work is about engaging with people to identify things which they value – for instance knowledge, experiences, skills – and how they can share them with others in ways that are safe, appropriate and inspiring. As an artist and designer I have helped devise simple tools and techniques that can be adopted and adapted by people on their own terms – such as uses of everyday paper, cameras and printers alongside digital technologies such as the internet, archives and databases. I will demonstrate some examples of how these simple physical and digital tools can be used to share community knowledge in freely and easily accessible ways, so that they can also be re-worked and circulated in both paper and digital formats. I hope to offer some examples of how TEK in PNG might be widely documented and circulated as part of commonly available resources.
I wrote a piece about my initial thoughts on what I’ll be presenting and doing whilst I’m there on the bookleteer blog last month. My invitation to this event has been through James Leach, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen who will be there presenting his collaborative publication, Reite Plants, with Porer Nombo in whose village James has been doing fieldwork for 20 years. I first met Porer three years ago when he visited the UK to assist the British Museum’s Melanesia Project in identifying artefacts from the region where he lives in the Ethnographic Collection. At the time James had asked me to help him devise some new ways to document this kind of Traditional Knowledge Exchange that would capture something of the experience of all sharing knowledge that more institutional methods might miss. Consequently we used some Diffusion eNotebooks to capture and record our interactions as much as the stories and information that Porer and Pinbin shared about the artefacts. Alice and I also had the privilege of spending time with Porer and his fellow villager, Pinbin Sisau, inviting them to our home for an evening with James and his family and sharing with them some of the simple delights of central London life that people who don’t live here wouldn’t experience.
After the symposium James, Porer and myself will travel back to Porer’s village of Reite on the Rai Coast in Madang Province where we’ll stay for a week or so. There we’ll attempt to put some of our ideas into practice – I’ve designed some simple notebooks for us to use out in the bush, some printed on waterproof paper, others printed on standard papers. I’m very excited to have this unique opportunity to test out ideas I’ve had for using the Diffusion eBook format and bookleteer in the field for over 10 years now – harking back to conversations I had with anthropologist Genevieve Bell of Intel in 2003. I’m also very excited to have the privilege of visiting Porer and Pinbin in their home and meeting their families and community – joining the loop of one smaller circle of friendship and exchange and hopefully spiralling out into some larger ones that will continue into the future.
Inspired by the underground 80s hip hop scene, Graffito pays homage to guerilla street art and turns it into a celebration of pop culture on a massive scale. Graffito hands over the VJs canvas to the hips, fingers, hands and creative minds of the audience.
Graffito is an experiment in massive crowd-made graffiti. Anyone in a festival crowd can join in to paint on a giant canvas with digital paint using their iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Crowds of people can paint at the same time, on the same canvas by using their screen like a spraycan.
Graffito is a collaborative effort between several UK partners who are experimenting with next gen digital live art. Graffito is supported by Horizon Digital Economy Research (Research Councils UK grant EP/G065802/1).
The first live test of the system as a collaborative drawing/ VJ tool will be in the Warehouse Tent at the Vintage at Goodwood Festival, August 13-15 2010.
In February 2008 Proboscis were resident with ICE (Information and Cultural Exchange) in Western Sydney, Australia. We collaborated with ICE and the British Council Australia to run a workshop and exchange labs over 3 weeks with a group of 15 creative practitioners from local communities. The project grew out of connections we made with ICE during the Coding Cultures project by d/Lux/MediaArts in Australia in 2007.
Through a series of intensive workshops, Proboscis explored approaches to creatively transforming cities and shared techniques with the Western Sydney artists, who in turn had the opportunity to develop projects. Members of the wider arts community participated in half-day Exchange Labs and a public symposium. Lattice addressed the ways culturally diverse communities engage with their environment and considered; what happens when people come to a city? What knowledge is lost, or gained? What are the impacts of emerging new identities on cities?
- The Lattice::Sydney film was made by participants in the workshop and features a playful model city built from any materials that came to hand, to manifest the ideas about ‘Creative City’ generated in the workshop.
- We also made Drawing Conclusions a short film of artists Matt Huynh and Tina Tran of Popperbox drawing conclusions from the Lattice forum.
- Lattice::Sydney project blog
- Lattice::Sydney Sketchbook Diffusion eBook by Tak Tran
- Lattice::Sydney Sketchbook Diffusion eBook by Tina Tran
- Lattice::Sydney Sketchbook Diffusion eBook by Matt Huynh
- Lattice::Sydney Sketchbook Diffusion eBook by David Capra
- Lattice::Sydney Unwrapped Diffusion eBook by Proboscis, ICE and Lattice Participants
- How to Find out What they Want Diffusion eBook by Matt Huynh, Todd Williams, Kasama Yamtree
Team: Alice Angus, Giles Lane & Orlagh Woods
Participants: David Capra, Ali Kadhim, Sanez Fatouhi and Amin Palagni, Ben Hoh, Tiffany Lee-Shoy, Fatima Mawas, Ben Nitiva, Matt Huynh, Tak Tran and Tina Tran of Popperbox, Denis Asif Sado, Trey Thomas, Maria Tran, Todd Williams and Kasama Yamtree.
Partners: ICE (Information & Communication Exchange)
Funded by the British Council as part of the Council’s Creative Cities East Asia initiative
with additional support from Foundation for Young Australians (Youth Digital Cultures Project) and support from the AMWU.
Urban Tapestries (2002-04) was a ground-breaking project that investigated how the combination of geographic information systems (GIS) and mobile technologies (including ad-hoc WiFi) could enable people to map and share their knowledge and experience, stories and information – public authoring. The transdisciplinary team developing it wove together an action research process bridging programming, ethnography, visual arts, filmmaking, animation, product design, information architecture, concept design, rapid & paper prototyping and creative writing.
The project resulted in numerous events, publications, technologies as well as two public trials of the Urban Tapestries mobile platform for public authoring in December 2003 and June-July 2004.
Team: Alice Angus, Daniel Angus, John Paul Bichard, Katrina Jungnickel, Giles Lane, Rachel Murphy, Roger Silverstone, Zoe Sujon and Nick West.
Partners & Collaborators: London School of Economics, Hewlett-Packard Research Laboratories, Orange, Ordnance Survey, France Telecom R&D UK.
Funded by Department of Trade & Industry, Arts Council England, Fondation Daniel Langlois
Indigenous Public Authoring
A collaboration with Professor James Leach (UWA/CNRS) working with local people in Reite village, Rai Coast Papua New Guinea to co-design new shareable ways to record and share their local environmental and cultural knowledge.
Begun 2012 | Ongoing
A collaboration with ISG at Royal Holloway University of London, Freya Stang, NEPACS and Action for Prisoners Families to document and share the experiences of families visiting relatives in prison.
Begun 2012 | Completed 2013
An Art + Industry commission as part of Anglia Ruskin University’s Visualise programme to work with Philips Research UK exploring new ways to engage people with biosensor data to promote wellbeing and healthy life choices.
Begun & Completed 2012
Pallion Ideas Exchange
A collaborative community co-design project in partnership with the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway University of London and Pallion Action Group in Sunderland to assist in creating a grassroots knowledge network.
Begun & Completed 2012
A commission to create a site-specific artwork on Hive Beach, Dorset (on the “Jurassic Coast”) as part of the Cultural Olympiad connecting human time with geological time.
Begun 2011 | Completed 2012
Experiments with drawing and digital printing of fabrics.
Begun 2010 | Ongoing
Public Goods Lab
Our in-house R&D creative technology initiative.
Begun 2011 | Ongoing
Our new 5 year programme of projects focusing on making and sharing tangible representations of the intangible things we value most about the places and communities we belong to, such as stories, skills, games, songs, techniques, memories, local lore and experiential knowledge of local environment and ecology.
Begun 2011 | Ongoing
Agencies of Engagement
A collaborative research project with CARET & Crucible at the University of Cambridge investigating groupwork and collaborative practices in the university community to support software development of a collaboration platform.
Begun & Completed 2011
City As Material
A series of one day events in London combining urban exploration and collaborative publishing with bookleteer. 5 collaborative eBooks published and 4 eBooks commissioned from invited guests : Tim Wright, Ben Eastop, Simon Pope & Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino
View the eBooks here
Begun & Completed 2010
A commission to co-design and develop the artistic identity for a major global awareness campaign about Persistent Organic Pollutants for the United Nations Environment Programme.
Begun & Completed 2010
Proboscis is a creative partner in the Graffito project, supported by the Horizons Digital Economy Research Institute, developing a collaborative drawing platform for smartphones and tablets.
Begun & Completed 2010
As It Comes
A commission from the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce to create a series of artistic works by Alice Angus about the independent traders of Lancaster and the culture of local trade.
Begun & Completed 2010
Birmingham Total Place
A commission for the Birmingham Total Place project to document the experiences of families receiving “Early Intervention” from social services and to communicate this in a novel way to policymakers and senior management.
Begun & Completed 2010
Our new free web service for creating Diffusion eBooks and StoryCubes.
Launched 2009 | Ongoing
With Our Ears to the Ground
A commission from Green Heart Partnership to engage with 4 different geographic communities in Hertfordshire and explore people’s ideas about community.
Begun 2009 | Completed 2010
Proboscis is continuing our collaboration with DodoLab (a project supported by University of Waterloo and the Musagetes Foundation) first initiated at the 5th World Environmental Education Congress in Montreal, Canada May 10th-14th 2009.
Begun 2009 | Ongoing
Proboscis is developing a new mobile participatory sensing project with researchers from the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London; Pervasive Computing Lab at Birkbeck College, Mixed Reality Lab at University of Nottingham; and the School of Management at University of Southampton.
Begun 2008 | Ongoing
A commission by ADeC (Arts Development East Cambridgeshire) to create a space where local residents of Sutton-in-the-isle near Ely, new and longstanding, can have the room to explore place and identity through creative activity.
Begun 2008 | Completed 2009
Being In Common
Being in Common invites people to expand and alter their understanding of ‘common space’ and is inspired by the close connection between the histories of enclosure, surveying and gunpowder that coincide in Gunpowder Park. A commission by Haring Woods Associates / Landscape+Arts Network Services at Gunpowder Park as part of the Art of Common Space programme.
Begun 2008 | Completed 2009
Proboscis was commissioned (with strategic consultants Haring Woods Associates) to develop the creative vision for the growth for the City of Peterborough, an ambitious £1bn development plan over the next 15-20 years. Through an anarchaeological investigation of the city, its environment and inhabitants, Proboscis devised and facilitated a series of workshops and distributable works that contributed to a major regeneration strategy.
Begun & Completed 2008
Proboscis was invited by the British Council to design a framework for a series of collaborations and residencies with organisations in East Asia, as part of their Creative Cities programme. Lattice is a framework for Proboscis to work collaboratively with different partners in the region to engage local communities in developing their own tools and techniques for public authoring, anarchaeology and cultures of listening. The initial project Lattice:Sydney is hosted by ICE (Information & Cultural Exchange) in Western Sydney during 2008.
Begun 2007 | Completed 2008
A week long Social Tapestries workshop with Year 4 students at the Jenny Hammond Primary School in Waltham Forest investigating children’s experiences of democracy and democratic behaviour. Developed and delivered with Loren Chasse.
Download the learning diary eBook (A4); final Group eBook (A4) and project report (A4)
Begun 2007 | Completed 2007
Snout was a Social Tapestries collaboration between inIVA, Proboscis and researchers from Birkbeck College exploring relationships between the body, community and the environment. It built on our previous collaboration on Feral Robots to investigate how data can be collected from environmental sensors as part of popular social and cultural activities. Two carnival costumes instrumented with environmental sensors were created and a mock carnival held in Shoreditch, east London in April 2007.
Begun 2006 | Completed 2007
Conversations and Connections
Proboscis collaborated on an 18 month Social Tapestries project with community development consultancy, Local Level and Havelock Independent Residents Organisation to explore how public authoring concepts and tools could be used by residents of a low income social housing neighbourhood (in Suthall, West London) to map and share local knowledge leading to an improvement in services from the local authority and housing agency. The project was funded through an Innovations grant from the Democratic Engagement branch of the Electoral Policy Division of the Ministry of Justice.
Download the Evaluation Report
Begun 2005 | Completed 2007
A week long Social Tapestries workshop with Year 4 students at the Jenny Hammond Primary School in Waltham Forest exploring the local environment and the children’s relationship to it. Developed and delivered with Loren Chasse.
Download the Activity & Impact Report
Begun 2006 | Completed 2006
Robotic Feral Public Authoring
A Social Tapestries collaboration with Birkbeck College and Natalie Jeremijenko to adapt toy robots with GPS positioning, environmental sensors and wireless data upload to Urban Tapestries. The prototypes were built for and tested in London Fields with the help of local people, and presented publicly at the Science Museum London.
Download the Cultural Snapshot
Begun 2005 | Completed 2006
Topographies and Tales
Topographies & Tales is about the relationship between people, language, identity and place, revealing small local stories against the larger picture of how our concept of space and environment is shaped by “belonging” and “nationhood”, and how boundaries, barriers and borders come to be formed. Proboscis collaborated with and supported residencies in the UK for two artists to create new works with us – Joyce Majiski (Canada) & Loren Chasse (USA).
Begun 2004 | Completed 2007
Social Tapestries was a research programme developing experimental uses of public authoring to demonstrate the social and cultural benefits of local knowledge sharing enabled by new mobile technologies. These playful and challenging experiments built upon the Urban Tapestries framework and software platform developed by Proboscis and its partners. Through collaborations and partnerships with other civil society organisations we addressed education, social housing, community arts and local government. Projects include: Experiencing Democracy, Snout, Conversations and Connections, Everyday Archaeology, St Marks and Robotic Feral Public Authoring.
Begun 2004 | Completed 2008
A collaboration with curator Deborah Smith commissioning 11 artists’ projects in local libraries and local history collections in the South East region of England. This unique project built on the Topologies research and created dynamic new relationships between local people, the artworks and the collections.
Begun 2003 | Completed 2005
Proboscis created and developed this groundbreaking project exploring mobile technologies, mapping and public authoring in partnership with the London School of Economics, Hewlett Packard Research Labs and Orange with Ordnance Survey and France Telecom R&D. The initial prototype (for PDA and WiFi) had a public trial in London in December 2003, the second prototype (for Symbian mbile phone and GPRS) was given a field trial in June 2004.
Download the Report: Public Authoring, Space & Mobility
Begun 2002 | Completed 2004
StoryCubes are a tactile thinking and storytelling tool for exploring relationships and narratives. Each face of the cube can illustrate or describe an idea, a thing or an action, placed together it is possible to build up multiple narratives or explore the relationships between them in a novel three-dimensional way. StoryCubes are part of the Diffusion Shareables concept and can be created using the Diffusion Generator, as well as purchased as packs for creative projects, brainstorming and workshops. Proboscis also offers a personalised StoryCube printing service.
Begun 2002 | Ongoing
Landscape and Identity; Language and Territory
Liquid Geography questioned and explored contemporary perceptions of geography, territory and landscape, at a point in time when understandings of place and space are being redefined. The initial strand of this research was Landscape & Identity; Language & Territory, a collaboration between Proboscis, MEDIA@LSE and inIVA. Two Creative Labs will be held on March 22nd and June 14th 2002 exploring how new technologies can be used in innovative ways to transform our knowledge of other societies and cultures and act as enabling tools providing a catalyst for the development of new ideas. A series of DIFFUSION eBooks were commissioned as pilots for future experiments in knowledge creation and dissemination.
Begun 2001 | Completed 2002
Sonic Geographies takes sound as the entry point for excavating and mapping urban experience and invisible infrastructures of the city. A series of experiments and sketches were developed that operated as maps and journeys but also as highly personal renderings of sonic experience – sounds of the personal world in conversation with sounds of the city.
Begun 2002 | Completed 2003
Private Reveries, Public Spaces
Proboscis commissioned 14 proposals from leading artists and designers addressing the theme of converging media technologies (internet, radio, interactive television, wireless telecommunications etc) and their social and cultural impact on the shifting relationship between private and public spaces. Three of the proposals were selected by a panel of judges to be developed into ‘conceptual prototypes’ for presentation to the public, peers, academia and industry as online demonstrations and at an event at the London School of Economics on June 25th 2002.
Begun 2001 | Completed 2002
Peer2Peer was an informal network of people interested in developing collaborations and practical solutions for potential partnerships across the arts, industry and academia. The Network consists of individual artists and designers and people from academia, industry, public funding agencies, private foundations and government. Proboscis initiated the network and hosted a number of meetings and events in partnership with the LSE, RCA, Iniva and others.
Begun 2001 | Completed 2003
SoMa – Social Matrices
In 1999/2000 Proboscis began to re-orient itself as a creative studio with a strong emphasis on research. Over the next 18 months we developed close partnerships with Professor Roger Silverstone at the London School of Economics and the School of Communications at the Royal College of Art. Our collaborative research programme, SoMa was launched in April 2001 as a ‘think tank for culture’ – a think, make and do environment for transdisciplinary collaborations.
Begun 2001 | Ongoing
A collaboration between Giles Lane, curator and producer, Andrew Kötting, the acclaimed director of This Filthy Earth,Gallivant and Smart Alek, and Mark Lythgoe, neurophysiologist at the Institute of Child Health, London.
The project looked at the perceptions of impaired brain function to further understand the mind and body interaction and our relationship with its abnormality. It made visible connections between scientific and artistic explorations of the human condition, probing the thin membrane between the able and the disabled.
Begun 1998 | Completed 2002.
Diffusion is a downloadable hybrid digital/material book format, developed by Proboscis in 1999/2000. Since the publication of the first series of Diffusion eBooks, Performance Notations, in September 2000, Proboscis has continued to use the format for commissioning new creative publications, as well as adapting and developing the format for uses in other fields and projects. The design schematics were first published in 2002, and since 2003 Proboscis has been developing the Diffusion Generator – an online application allowing people without design skills to publish Diffusion eBooks of their own.
Begun 1999 | Ongoing
Topologies was a research and feasibility study to investigate creating an initiative which could challenge existing definitions of public art. By commissioning and disseminating public artworks through the UK Public Library system, and using visual, aural and tactile media to investigate and represent abstract spaces and concepts, the works would form part of a wider attempt to broaden the audience for contemporary conceptual artwork. Topologies aimed to change both the context and the way in which people encounter art, aiming to introduce concepts of process-based art practices (as distinct from object-based works) to diverse and new audiences, and move the experience of encountering public (or conceptual) art away from a ‘viewer’ experience to that of a user.
The Research Report is available to download as a PDF file here.
Begun 1999 | Completed 2000
COIL journal of the moving image
Proboscis’ founding project, COIL was a 10 issue experimental publication that explored the practice of, and commissioned, artists film, moving image and new media works between 1995 and 2000. Over 140 artists, writers and others were published in the journal.
Begun 1994 | Completed 2000