Archive for ‘process’

23 December 2008

David says “Hello”

This post is to introduce myself, I’m David Muth, a musician, programmer and artist who lives and works in London.

I joined the Neural Animat team a couple of months ago, and have been working on algorithmic visualisations of neural activity. This project is of particular interest to me, as it touches on philosophical questions about consciousness and decision making.

The method of writing computer code in order to generate imagery in real time has been of relevance to quite a few of my projects. If you’d like to find out a little bit more, please have a look at my website.

04 November 2008

Crossing over: fusing science and art

This was an evening event at the Royal Institution of Great Britain providing a conversation between participants of the Crossing Over exhibition and members of the public.

Initiated by facilitator Mark Lythgoe, a start point was the separation of science and humanities, as argued by C. P. Snow in his Two Cultures lecture of 1959. A discussion of collaborations that tried to cross Snow’s fences, moved on to some thoughtful attendee comments about the requirements and expectations of role and institution, rather than essentialist differences between practitioner types.

In this light I was reminded that the potential value of sci-art is not to do with the inspiring effect of art’s lens upon science methods, nor the nourishment of art practice by science outcomes, but rather the value of collaborative practice as it provides the resources and the time for people to do things that they might not ordinarily do, with people they might not usually meet.

Additionally, if these collaborations are transparent, and performed amongst the public, they start to work upon divisions between specialists and non-specialists, which is perhaps a more relevant division within contemporary society than Snow’s two cultures.

Bonsai Cells
Above: the Bansai Cells project lets researchers discuss their work with different audiences

04 November 2008

The Role of the Arts in Democratic Policy Making

Material Beliefs showed three posters at the Arts & Technology symposium on October 14th at the National Theatre, organised by BioCentre. Here’s a quote from the BioCentre event page:

How can the arts conversation shape and develop public policy? Do the arts add to the hype or do they really help to inform the public of the truth about these issues? Can the arts and public policy arenas work more closely to further enrich the dialogue? If so, how? What can policy makers learn from the arts in this area?

Material Beliefs has been funded by a Partnerships for Public Engagement award, and is trying to do events that encourage a dialogue between biomedical researchers and members of the public. A key aim is to make labs permeable, to help researchers take their interests out into cultural contexts, and to use creative engagement to provide routes into labs for members of the publics.

The introductory poster shown at the BioCentre event talks about this aim in more detail. While attendees explored an exhibition at the National Theatre event, the poster contextualised two projects that have come out of the Material Beliefs collaborations, Vital Signs and Neuroscope.

Above: Matt James from BioCentre welcomes attendees to the National Theatre

Above: Material Beliefs posters

09 September 2008

Natural History at Selfridges

Natural History is showing at Selfridges Wonder Wall exhibition space. It features the work of Kelly McCallum, Melanie Georgacopoulos, Eric Klarenbeek and also Biojewellery.

As a speculative project, rather than a realised product, it’s great that Biojewellery has been invited into a retail environment like Selfridges, and I accompanied Steve Jackman to film conversations with shoppers.

We spoke with anyone who was brave enough to chat to camera, about the work on show in the exhibition, and more generally about collaborations between designers and engineers, impressions of biotechnology, and the relationship between science and the public.

We’ll shortly be posting a short film with excerpts of these conversations, thanks for those who stopped and gave their consent! Thanks also to Dominique and her colleagues at Selfridges, and Jane and Lucinda who organised the exhibition.

Natural History: Wonder Wall
Natural History: Wonder Wall
Thanks to Dezeen who went to see the show at Selfridges and took these images…

09 September 2008

ThinkTank: the Future Object

This Friday, the Victoria and Albert Museum is hosting “ThinkTank: the Future Object”, at the Hochhauser Auditorium, part of the new Sackler Centre for Arts Education. Zoe Whitley from the V&A writes:

Debate. Discuss. Disagree. Decide? With no ‘right answers’ only great ideas, weigh in on the future of museum objects with leading designers and critics.

This event will be the culmination of a year-long programme of ‘design futures’ ThinkTanks to engage critically and proactively with contemporary design issues – from design’s role in relation to climate change and global citizenship to technological innovation and the changing nature of design practice.

Material Beliefs will join Future of Sound, innovationRCA and the Helen Storey Foundation from 19:30 on the 12th September, it’s a free event, with advanced booking available by telephone on +44 (0)20 7942 2211, or online here.

This event is part of an ongoing series of discussions about future directions for the museum, you can also find out about previous sessions.

Material Beliefs will be discussing two collaborative projects, Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots and Vital Signs, with a session where you can find out more about the biotechnologies behind these prototype systems, and design your own! Come and meet James Auger, Amir Eftekhar, Tobie Kerridge, Jimmy Loizeau, Olive Murphy, Nick Oliver and Alex Zivanovic…

Think Tank

07 August 2008

Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots

One of the projects coming out of collaborations within Material Beliefs is Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots. Jimmy, James and Alex have been designing and building these, and images and film of the final objects will follow soon. They say:

In the context of the home, definitions of what a robot is and could be are open for interpretation. These robots are devices for utility, drama and entertainment.

For now here’s a page describing the project in some more detail, including drawings and renders. See more projects from Jimmy and James at the Auger Loizeau site.


02 August 2008

“A vision for Science and Society”

The DIUS have a widget on their Science and Society site that allows you to build your own questionnaire, here’s one for Material Beliefs:

Science and Society: your views

Please visit the Science and Society consultation site to join the debate.

I came across this at Wired’s blog where the author comments:

Although their website is disorganized and bloated with clips of elite people saying uninteresting things, the effort is noble, and it looks like they really do need a lot of help

This makes me think that the Material Beliefs site could do with a bit of pruning and rationalisation itself, stand by for some changes.


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