15TH FEB - 28TH MAR
Sensing Systems is a multidisciplinary exhibition and event series celebrating the beauty of system dynamics in nature.
Commissioned by Bonington Gallery, Matt Woodham’s debut exhibition will run from 15th February – 28th March. An accompanying event-series will take place across Nottingham with partner organisations Nottingham Contemporary, Near Now and Metronome.
In the Sensing Systems exhibition, Bonington gallery will be filled with a composition of connected installations, positioning visitors within a system of light, sound and motion. Visual and kinetic events will be sequenced by a central processing unit which distributes signals around the room. The audience can interact with the system, which alongside random data sources and a sensitivity to initial conditions, will create a unique experience for each viewer.
Matt Woodham is an artist, designer and technologist. After specialising in visual neuroscience during his degree, he channelled his skills and interests into generating auditory and visual experiences. In recent years, Woodham’s research into the complex systems of the brain has evolved into a broader interdisciplinary practice. Inspired by the emergent, irreducible states of perception, he utilises experimental techniques such as feedback loops, generative algorithms and randomness. He employs code and electronic circuits to exploit the liminal space between order and disorder, reflecting the common non-linear dynamics prevalent throughout nature.
SATURDAY 29TH FEBRUARY
‘Of Clouds and Clocks’ is an afternoon of talks and discussions with leading artists and academics crossing the boundaries of arts, science, and computing. Art and science share a common goal: to challenge aspects of our reality. They are both human attempts to understand this complex world we live in and the role we play within it. The symposium will address how lessons from research and experimental practice can be applied to our lives.
A panel of artists and scientists will share their intersectional research. Experts in systems across scales – from galaxy evolution to molecular nanotechnology – will discuss the common dynamics in nature. Practitioners from ArtScience will share their experience of navigating scientific concepts in an artistic context, and the possibilities of utilising emerging technology for cross-boundary research.
Philip Moriarty is a professor of physics in the School of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Nottingham. His research interests lie in a field sometimes referred to as extreme nanotechnology; he and his colleagues prod, poke, push, and pull individual atoms and molecules with scanning probe microscopes. He has published 140 papers to date, given over 100 invited talks. Moriarty also has a keen interest in public engagement, outreach, and the arts-sciences interface having regularly collaborated on the award-winning Sixty Symbols YouTube channel. Philip will provide insight into chaos, quantum mechanics, surface physics and the emergence of patterns.
Meghan is an observational extragalactic astronomer with interests in galaxy evolution and large-scale structure. She employs tools such as gravitational lensing to trace distributions of dark matter on large scales, and uses multiwavelength observations to examine the luminous properties of galaxies. These observations are often compared against supercomputer simulations to understand how galaxies are influenced by their environments. Meghan will provide insight into large-scale structures and simulating the universe.
Andy Lomas is a computational artist, mathematician and Emmy award winning supervisor of computer generated effects. His art work explores how complex sculptural forms can be created emergently by simulating growth processes. Inspired by the work of Alan Turing, D’Arcy Thompson and Ernst Haeckel, it exists at the boundary between art and science. Andy will provide insight into simulating nature, emergent phenomena, artificial life and art.
Ulrike Kuchner is an extragalactic astronomer as well as a visual artist based in the UK. In her research, Ulrike studies how mass is assembled in the universe and how galaxies form and evolve over their lifetime – which is just short of the age of the universe itself. As an artist and curator, she challenges the frontiers between art and science, translating between the fields without imposing a hierarchy. Ulrike’s art often deals with the themes of humanity and imperfections in data, something we tend to strip away from science. Ulrike will provide insight into art and science, and chair the panel discussions.
Becky Lyon is an artist/researcher examining how humans are impacting evolution. Her practice combines scientific research, thinking-through-making, fiction and participatory research to imagine a spectrum of new hybrid species, materialities, systems and ways of relating. Explorations include exploring future environments through scent; contemplating the entanglement of our matter through sculpture and sound and modelling lively forms at Fieldnotes from a Technobiocology. She runs ‘Elastic Nature’, an interdisciplinary art research club exploring the future of nature.
Studio Above&Below was founded by media artists Daria Jelonek and Perry-James Sugden in 2017, after graduating from the Royal College of Art. Currently based in South London, their collaboratively practice focuses on interactive and speculative projects, based on hands-on research at the intersection of art, technology and our environment. The artists aim to wire unseen connections together to create new experiences which they believe can change human behaviours for better interactions with our environment.
Dr. Joanna Boehnert is an environmental communicator, designer and educator. She is a lecturer in Design at the Loughborough University. She has worked as a Research Fellow (2015-2017) in Design at CREAM (the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media) at the University of Westminster. In 2013-2014 she was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR) in CIRES (Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences) at the University of Colorado. She is founding director of EcoLabs – a studio visualising complex environmental issues.
Her research focuses on how images work to help audiences understand complex systems. She wrote the book Design, Ecology, Politics under contract with Bloomsbury Academic.
SATURDAY 7TH & 14TH MARCH
In partnership with Near Now, we present a series of six creative, DIY workshops over two days, led by expert artists and toolmakers. Participants will learn a cross-section of cutting-edge techniques to create generative and computational artworks.
You will learn to use specially designed software and hardware systems to create live, real-time video, interactive installations and generative art – utilising technologies such as virtual reality, machine learning and analogue devices.
All of our workshops have been designed to welcome beginner to intermediate skill level, however a general awareness of digital technologies is recommended.
WORKSHOP DAY 1
SATURDAY 7TH MARCH
With the support of Above&Below, this workshop introduces Touchdesigner to beginners. Through DIY learning, participants will be introduced to the process of creating projection artworks in public spaces, which use different tools deriving from Touch Designer.
Collaboratively we will explore real-time visual systems through a variety of inputs including tracking, depth mapping and IR cameras. This will be introduced through using tools such as Microsoft’s Kinect and Leap Motion controller. The outcome will be an interactive projection artwork.
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Artist Matt Woodham will guide you through an introduction to Runway, a platform which allows you to bring the power of artificial intelligence to your creative projects.
You will utilise a variety of machine learning models to synthesise new imagery. You will also learn how to chain together multiple models, for example:
- Synthesising non-existent photo-realistic faces, then converting the image into the visual style of Picasso or other classic artists.
- Synthesising an image from a crude hand drawing, analysing the semantic description of that image and synthesising a further image from the description – somewhat like a machine learning game of Chinese whispers or exquisite corpse.
You will also learn how to train your own generative image model using public datasets, which opens up an entirely new realm of possibilities.
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Learn how to create visuals for live music and performance. In this workshop you will learn about the creation of visuals alongside music; from the culture of visual performance, to creating video loops and audio reactivity.
You will be introduced to VDMX, a powerful real-time video application for OSX – the same software which is running the Sensing Systems exhibition. You will learn to mix, blend and cut imagery, utilise FX, automation and create generative video.
This workshop will be facilitated by the prominent artist Dan Tombs, who has performed visuals and regularly collaborated with musicians such as Jon Hopkins, James Holden, Gold Panda and Blanck Mass.
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WORKSHOP DAY 2
SATURDAY 14TH MARCH
Generate ’emergent’, organic visuals using reaction-diffusion systems with Fragment:Flow by Paul Fennell, an audio-reactive software system created in Max (Cycling ’74).
Get an exclusive walkthrough this yet to be released software from the creator himself. Paul will guide you through the inner workings of Fragment:Flow, with a specially created Max patch which unravels the processing chain behind the standalone audio-visual software he has been building for the past two years. You will learn how Max can be utilised for signal processing and how to use shaders for audio-reactive, organic imagery.
Learn how to harness computational models of emergence to generate live, real-time video which produces diverse textures and surprising, unique results. Discover the possibilities of both Max and GLSL, guided by an artist and toolmaker at the forefront of development in this field.
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Learn how a procedural, generative workflow can be employed for virtual reality platforms.
Prefix studios will guide you through using the Unity game engine to create a unique visual experience for virtual reality headsets.
An algorithmic 3D model made in Houdini, especially for the workshop will be used in the virtual reality scene. Each participant will then learn how to implement procedural techniques to generate their own visual experience.
You will also learn how to introduce audio-reactive elements, further exploiting the real-time power of generative artwork on an immersive platform.
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Learn how to uncover the hidden patterns within audio frequencies through the medium of non-newtonian fluids, powder and water.
Play with different sound sources and witness how the visual dynamics change with synthesisers, tone generators or your voice in a microphone.
You will also have an opportunity to build your own DIY cymatics device with an amp module, 8 inch speaker driver and custom-laser cut enclosure produced especially for this workshop.
Zach Walker is a multi-disciplinary artist whose collection of visual and audio work has been commissioned for galleries, museums, large-scale corporate events and bespoke private clients, all over the world.
His multi-sensory and interactive installations transform venues, and encourage people to explore and play with one another in a totally unique way.
Zach has worked with artists such as Moby, DJ Shadow, Flying Lotus, The Light Surgeons and twice UK Beatbox Champion Reeps One.
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FRIDAY 20TH MARCH
Multimodal presents a one-off audio-visual journey, from ambient tones, through rhythmical melodies, to an expansive crescendo.
From the sold-out four-wall projection in the One Thoresby Street Attic to the AV quadraphonic dome with Wigflex & Craig Richards, Multimodal creates bespoke, conceptual and visually immersive experiences.
For this event, a hand-picked selection of artists will be presenting a unique evening of live, experimental music performances alongside bespoke visual art.
The evening will begin with the ambient tonal soundscape of multi-instrumentalist Simone Salvatici, progressing into the minimalist synthesiser compositions of Will Plowman with live visual oscilligraphics by Rich Wood.
For the first time, Throwing Snow and Matt Woodham will perform a brand-new live AV show layering tones and rhythms to an energetic climax – alongside a custom-built sculptural light installation in collaboration with artist Alex Pain.
The evening will conclude with a new phase conducted by the masterful hands of Lukas Wigflex, winding through experimental, ambient and beat-driven dance.
8pm – 2:30am
Doors will open at 8pm, with warm up duties provided by Kay Fabe.
Earth >< Sun
Planetary Gongs, Analogue Synths drone.
In this immersive sonic journey, Simone Salvatici, aka Salvaticus Selvatico, will observe the pulsating beating of the isochronic tones generated by the frequencies of Planetary gongs, Earth and Sun, excited by synthesiser drones tuned to their fundamental.
This weaves an ecstatic shift between polarities continuously evolving, movement and stillness, acoustic and processed sounds, activation and contemplation, leading the audience into a deep meditative state.
For over a decade Simone Salvatici has explored resonance and the interaction between holistic, intuitive and sacred instruments, in combination with synthesisers, processed sound, and controlled feedback.
A trained sound therapist, sound artist and composer, London based Italian born Salvatici has worked with filmmakers, directors, choreographers and visual artists performing in such venerable institutes as Tate Modern, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, RCA, CCA, Centre of Contemporary Arts, Cafe Oto, and international festivals.
Will Plowman’s work captures a certain moment in time and portrays that moment to the listener, heightening their senses and immersing them in a sonic state. This meditative audio visual work for modular synthesizer and oscilloscope creates memorising patterns from morphing arpeggiated sonic textures. The oscilloscopes real time visual representation of these audio signals explores the unique interaction between two diverse pieces of analogue equipment.
A new project for Sensing Systems, is the collaboration between musician Throwing Snow and artist Matt Woodham, inspired by the chaotic, non-linear dynamics prevalent in nature.
Artist Alex Pain will collaborate with Matt Woodham to build a custom light sculpture inspired by the dynamics which shape geology. They will create an otherworldly artefact based on research into the human, ritualistic usage of organic forms.
Nottingham legend and international DJ Lukas Wigflex will perform a special set, taking us on a journey through the deep and strange corners of his collection.