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17 December 2013

Database has been lost

Apologies if you are looking for old Material Beliefs blog posts. The host had a nasty server crash, and the wordpress database was lost. I’m having a look around to see if I can restore what has been lost.

UPDATE: Some data has been put back now, found an old dump of the SQL database used by WordPress


10 October 2009


THE OBJECTS OF DESIGN AND SOCIAL SCIENCE is the title of a series of seminars for this academic years at Goldsmiths. The programme has been put together by the Interaction Research Studio and the Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process. The topic of objects is used as a device to hopefully pull out some intersections within the practices of social scientists and designers. Have a look at the poster for more some detail about the seminars.

Below is a list of presenters and dates for these seminars, which are free and open to all. They take place at 4:00pm-6:00pm, at the Interaction Research Studio, 6th Floor, Ben Pimlott Building, Goldsmiths, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW.

Autumn Term 2009

Seminar 1 – Wednesday October 14th
Introducing the Objects of Design and Social Science
With: Bill Gaver, Tobie Kerridge, Mike Michael & Alex Wilkie, Goldsmiths

Seminar 2 – Wednesday November 4th
Buildings as Things
With: Albena Yaneva, The University of Manchester

Seminar 5 – Wednesday November 18th
Speculative and Critical Objects
With: James Auger, Royal College of Art & Jimmy Loizeau, Goldsmiths

Spring Term 2010

Seminar 4 – Wednesday January 27th
Objects and Services
With: Chris Downs

Seminar 5 – Wednesday February 17th
From Objects to Issues?
With: Noortje Marres, Oxford University

Seminar 6 – Wednesday March 10th
Object Fair
With: Bill Gaver, Tobie Kerridge, Mike Michael & Alex Wilkie, Goldsmiths

seminar poster

10 October 2009


WHAT IF… has opened at the Science Gallery in Dublin and runs until 13th December. Curated by Dunne & Raby with the venue’s director Michael John Gorman, the exhibition features 29 projects from 23 designers.

The exhibition has a speculative focus, taking emerging technologies and new materials as a source for hypothetical and idiosyncratic designs which aim to ask questions rather than provide answers. This ambition is reflected curatorially, with each project framed by a question. These are listed on this Science Gallery web-page, and are also present in the exhibition space, with the texts laser-cut from plastic, and running around the edges of the installations.

There are some projects here that originated in Material Beliefs, including Soares’ Vegitarian Tooth and Auger, Loizeau and Zivanovic’s Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots. Biojewellery is there, which I collaborated on with Nikki Stott and Ian Thompson, as well as Caccavales’ Utility Pets, which are relatively old projects compared to Thomas Thwaites Toaster Project or Zoe Papadopoulou and Cathrine Kramer’s Cloud Project which both featured in the 2009 Royal College of Art graduation show. Indeed WHAT IF… could be seen as a retrospective of speculative design’s association with science, albeit a family of such work, rather than a thematic survey. For – with the exception of Mathieu Lehanneur’s Local River – all these projects are the work of staff and former students of Design Interaction department at the RCA.

The Science Gallery opened in 2008, a glass segment facing outwards on to Pearse Street on the north-eastern edge of Trinity College campus. The transparency and accessibility of the gallery space perhaps relates to it’s role as an “interface between research and the city“, and I was told that as the Trinity campus expanded and grew, it bricked up the windows on its outer edges, turning its back to the life of the city. To me it seemed that the Science Gallery takes its corrective role seriously, and I’ll mention a couple of details. I was struck by Gorman’s insistence at the opening that the exhibitors should stand with their work, and chat about it with attendees, rather than drift to the bar. There was mention that the Gallery’s demonstrators, who following the hubris of the opening are on hand to discuss the exhibits, could do a better job of this than the designers who made the work. And it was one of those designers who said this.

While I’m continuing to try and assemble my PhD thesis, I tend to give myself a fairly hard time about the claims I make about the way my work ‘opens up’ technology. I have also developed a healthy scepticism about the composition and ambition of the field of public engagement of science and technology, in which I consider my work to sit. I’ll continue to wrestle with my own doubts, and in the meantime it is experiences like WHAT IF…, with its enthusiastic and lovely visitors, staff and exhibitors that cut through these academic troubles.

Science Gallery opening
Science Gallery WHAT IF… opening day

Biojewellery archive
Documents and prototypes from the Biojewellery archive

07 July 2009

Tweak festival

So, “Tweak is an interactive art and live electronic music festival taking place in Limerick City between the 21st and 26th of September 2009. Its aim is to promote understanding of the use of technology within our culture and to explore contemporary issues (social, economic, psychological, aesthetic and functional).”

There is a call for participation that closes on July 20th. Proposals are invited from artists and designers within the categories of Exhibition, Workshops, Live Electronic Performance, Cinematic Works and Listening Post.

I’ll be contributing to a workshop on Wednesday 23rd, which is about “Open-Ended Technology Design”. It will be interesting to see how some of the practices from Material Beliefs will fit here. There are some direct links to the Arduino platform that Massimo Banzi is likely to bring to the table – this hardware was used in some of the Material Beliefs Prototypes. I’m also looking forward to hear more about John McCarthy’s research at UCC, and Rob van Kranenburg’s work following his Internet of Things.
Tweak logo

23 May 2009

“Science and the Nation” at E:vent

Science and the Nation is an evening of science by non-scientists, taking place at E:vent on Friday 29 May, 7–11pm,

Speakers: Revital Cohen, Martin Conreen, Emily Dawson, Anna Dumitriu, Ben Johnson, Kira O’Reilly & Janet Smith, Rob La Frenais, Brendan Walker

Guest curated by Tobie Kerridge & Elio Caccavale as a part of Colm Lally’s programme, more details and directions online at E:vent.

Ben Johnson presents his new kitchen

26 February 2009

CDER at Kinetica Art Fair

Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots are at Kinetica Art Fair, opening this Friday 27th February. Here’s a link to the event website, where you can see a full list of exhibitors and more details about the event:

The Kinetica Art Fair will provide collectors, curators, museums and the public with a unique opportunity to view and purchase artworks from leading international galleries, artist’s collectives, curatorial groups and organisations specialising in kinetic, electronic and new media art.

CDER is a group of objects produced as a collaboration between Aleksandar Zivanovic, James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau, you can also read a pdf of the CDER page from the catalogue.

kinetica art fair 2009


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