Slade School of Fine Art UCL
Gower Street London WC1E 6BT
In 1995 Thomson set up The Slade Centre for Electronic Media in Fine Art (SCEMFA) (http://www.scemfa.org) with Dr Susan Collins, bringing together artist-researchers predominantly based at the Slade working digitally from a wide range of perspectives and it was at this time that he began to work collaboratively with Alison Craighead under the name Thomson & Craighead.
From 1998 to 2001, Jon was writing regularly about artists’ use of the internet and technology for the online magazine Eyestorm, and printed magazines, Mute and Art Monthly, while also continuing to exhibit individual research with Alison Craighead. Two key exhibitions at this time would include 010101: Art in Technological Times at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), and Art & Money Online commissioned by Tate Britain, 2001. Both were ‘firsts’ for each respective institution: the first ever internet art commission for SFMOMA (a work called e-poltergeist) and the first gallery exhibition of New Media Art for Tate Britain (CNN Interactive just got more interactive). Tate Online commissioned Thomson and Craighead again in 2005, for their special project and countdown to the 2012 Olympic games called 40 artists, 40 days.
From 2004 to 2008 Jon was part of the influential Low-fi artist collective. Low-fi provided an online resource for locating internet-based artworks, alongside editorial and curatorial work bringing artists’ research to contemporary gallery contexts. Low-fi became a project partner in an AHRC research project led by Alison Craighead in 2004, which culminated in exhibitions at BALTIC, Gateshead and Stills Gallery, Edinburgh, and although Low-fi is now concluded, it is considered a seminal project for the development of New Media Art and is permanently sited at the Rose Goldsen Archive at Cornell University, USA.
In 2007 Jon successfully completed an AHRC small grant in the creative and performing arts in collaboration with SCEMFA and the British Film Institute, London (BFI Southbank) and in 2009 Jon established the Slade Word Image Forum (SWIF) with Dr Sharon Morris; a research forum including artists, writers and academics from the Slade, across UCL and a number of other national and international universities, who are working on the relation between words and images across various fields of creativity and scholarship.
Jon's collaborative research with Alison Craighead is cited in a growing number of publications defining the field of New Media Art. In 2001, the Leonardo Review (online) published an interview on our research between Barbara Lee Williams & Sonya Rapoport, while in 2003 Julian Stallabrass (The Courtauld Institute) cited a number of our projects in Internet Art: The Online Clash of Culture and Commerce (pp. 42, 64, 120, 128). Our work is mentioned in, Digital Art (pp. 117, 135) by Christiane Paul (The Whitney Museum of modern art) published by Thames & Hudson World of Art series in 2003, and in 2004, New Media Art: Practice and context in UK 1994-2004 edited by Lucy Kimbell (pp. 174-175), Cornerhouse Publications. Rachel Greene also cites our work in Internet Art (pp. 149-150 & pp. 187-188), Thames & Hudson, 2004, and in 2005, a monograph of our work was published by Film & Video Umbrella London in Thomson & Craighead by Julian Stallabrass & Michael Archer, editor Steven Bode (79 pages). In 2006 Charlie Gere (Lancaster University) uses a single project of ours to frame the entire final chapter of Art, Time & Technology (pp. 11, 159-178) published by Berg, while in 2010, our recent research is cited in Rethinking Curating (Leonardo Books) by Beryl Graham and Sarah Cook (pp. 6, 14, 23, 61, 67-68, 194, 202, 272, 286) MIT Press.
Thomson's collaborative research practicing as an artist with Alison Craighead (Reader in contemporary art and visual culture, University of Westminster and lecturer in Fine Art, Goldsmiths University London) comes from a fascination they share in how global communications networks are transforming the way we all perceive and understand the world around us. Their research and practice spans online and public art commissions, as well as gallery-based work and often looks at how real time processes and live data transmission can be used as a material or artistic medium.
You can explore current and past work on their archive website at http://www.thomson-craighead.net or visit their blog at http://thomson-craighead.blogspot.com
Thomson is a 0.4 lecturer in fine art media working across the school with BA/BFA, MA/MFA and PhD students
Party Booby Trap2016
Carroll / Fletcher, London
Thomson & Craighead present their first fragrance Apocalypse (2016) in Party Booby Trap, the duo’s second solo show at Carroll / Fletcher. The scent will be showcased alongside a series of major new works inspired by sources ranging from nuclear waste to self-help literature and genetics. The late 20th century saw one of the most significant scientific advances to date, with the first mapping of a human genome (an individual’s complete DNA set) by the international Human Genome Project. It took thirteen years and twenty universities to reference over three billion base pairs of nucleotides (DNA molecules) that compose one single genome. This process has inspired Thomson & Craighead’s Stutterer (2014), a video installation the artists describe as a “poetry machine.” There are four types of DNA: adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine, commonly referred to as A, C, G, and T. The artists seized the creative opportunity afforded by the combination of a sequence of letters and a crucial tranche of recent history. The time it took to complete the Human Genome Project spanned the liberation of Nelson Mandela in 1990 and the fall of Baghdad to the allied military coalition in 2003. Supported by the Wellcome Trust, Stutterer (2014) pairs each letter of the first human genome with a word beginning with the same letter, spoken in television footage from the period. The result is a televisual portrait of an era which encompassed not only the First and the Second Gulf Wars, but also the collapse of the Soviet Union, the deaths of Yitzhak Rabin and Princess Diana, the first cloned sheep Dolly, the launch of Viagra and the shootings at Columbine High School. In October 2002, then-President George W. Bush declared that Iraq was in possession of chemical and biological weapons which “threatened America and the world” – an allegation which is now widely acknowledged as one of the main triggers for the Second Gulf War (2003-11). “Confronting the threat posed by Iraq,” he said, “is crucial to winning the War on Terror.” Thomson & Craighead’s print the war on terror (2016) plays with the phrase in a series of Oulipo-esque anagrams: “the rot narrower”, “tarot hewn error”, “rare tower thorn.” Made with a type-writer on a white sheet of paper like a piece of experimental poetry, these hint at the absurdity of the chain of events that led to the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians in less than a decade. Multi-coloured balloons bearing the names of military operations from “Desert Storm” to “Urgent Fury” crowd the floor. These innocuous presences – absent-mindedly kicked about by visitors as they progress through the exhibition – function as gentle reminders of the pervasive nature of warfare. On a TV screen, some women dutifully pop the balloons after a corporate party, as if trying to contain a reality that could overwhelm them. Created in collaboration with perfumer Euan McCall, the fragrance Apocalypse combines the scents of olfactory elements described in The Book of Revelation, including burnt flesh, incense and blood. Presented in a velvet-lined box, it turns a central tenet of the Western imaginary, and a canonical representation of End Times, into a luxury, limited edition item. At once highly desirable and sickening, the piece is the product of a time in which both consumerism and politics feed on fear, mysticism and fallacies of all stripes. With the series of posters Common Era (2016), Thomson & Craighead gather a collection of predict
Karaoke Videos, PA Amplifier, Microphone, Microphone Stand, Unicol Stand, Flat Sreen Television And Media Player
Electronic Superhighway (2016 – 1966) In January 2016 the Whitechapel Gallery presents Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966) a landmark exhibition that brings together over 100 artworks to show the impact of computer and Internet technologies on artists from the mid-1960s to the present day. It features new and rarely seen multimedia works, together with film, painting, sculpture, photography and drawing by over 70 artists, including works by Cory Arcangel, Roy Ascott, Jeremy Bailey, Judith Barry, James Bridle, Douglas Coupland, Constant Dullaart, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Vera Molnar, Albert Oehlen, Trevor Paglen, Nam June Paik, Jon Rafman, Hito Steyerl, Ryan Trecartin, Thomson & Craighead, Amalia Ulman and Ulla Wiggen. The exhibition title Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966) is taken from a term coined in 1974 by South Korean video art pioneer Nam June Paik, who foresaw the potential of global connections through technology. Arranged in reverse chronological order, Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966) begins with works made between 2000 – 2016, and ends with Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T), an iconic, artistic moment that took place in 1966. Spanning 50 years, from 2016 to 1966, key moments in the history of art and the Internet emerge as the exhibition travels back in time. As the exhibition illustrates, the Internet has provided material for different generations of artists. Oliver Laric’s painting series Versions (Missile Variations) (2010) reflects on issues surrounding digital image manipulation, production, authenticity and circulation. Further highlights include a series of photographs from conceptual artist Amalia Ulman’s four-month Instagram project Excellences & Perfections (2014-15), which examines the influence of social media on attitudes towards the female body. Miniature works by Celia Hempton painted live in chatrooms go on display alongside a large scale digital painting by Albert Oehlen and manipulated camera-less photography by Thomas Ruff. The dot-com boom, from the late 1990s to early millennium, is also examined through work from international artists and collectives. The exhibition is curated by Omar Kholeif with Emily Butler, Mahera and Mohammad Abu Ghazaleh Curator, Whitechapel Gallery and Séamus McCormack, Assistant Curator, Whitechapel Gallery.
Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona
Guillem Bayo, Clara Boj i Diego Díaz, Martin John Callanan, Grégory Chatonsky, Thierry Fournier, Varvara Guljajeva i Mar Canet, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Nicolas Maigret, Katie Paterson, Antoine Schmitt, Thomson and Craighead, Addie Wagenknecht, Carlo Zanni In today’s accelerated society, time becomes a primary concern as one strives to keep abreast of major events taking place internationally and react to developments. We live in a state of permanent connection that leads to the anxiety of being part of a present that is not our own but one described by the media and social networks. The term real time refers to the ability to show, communicate or react to events at the moment they take place. This term, which is commonly used in computer science, the media and all types of narratives, denotes a process that occurs synchronously with the spectator or user’s time. This immediacy translates into, for example, the ability to interact with a virtual environment, report on current events and tell a story in which time unfolds naturally. The individual present is connected with an external or shared present, promoting forming part of the present or issuing a response. “Real time” is thus linked to “being there” or Dasein as formulated by Martin Heidegger, which refers to the relationship between the individual and his or her environment and indicates that everyone is tied to the world they live and participate in. The concept also leads us to question what “real time” is, how we measure time and how this measuring is relative, even though it determines our perception of reality. In the art world, time is a crucial element in something often overlooked: the amount of time the spectator spends contemplating the work of art. As Boris Groys has pointed out, while in traditional media the time needed for this contemplation is determined by the user, art based on temporal processes (new media, video and performance) hands this control over to the work. Usually works of art show a specific moment or an action bounded in time, but what happens when a work unfolds in “present continuous,” constantly changing and subject to an endless process? Real Time. Art in Real Time presents a selection of contemporary works of art in which the concept of “real time” has a key role, whether by questioning the relativity of time, using data taken from the Internet in real time or seeking to create a current picture, “realistic” and always changing with the times we live in. Some of the works selected draw information that appears constantly in the media, while others pull data from various sources, establish a production process in real time or propose a questioning of our way of measuring time and relating to the present. The technologies we use in our daily lives have a central role in these pieces, leading to reflection on time in an area that is very close to the spectator, who in some cases can interact with the work and in others does so unknowingly.
Big Bang Data2015
Emails, selfies, shopping transactions, Google searches, dating profiles: every day we’re producing data in huge quantities. Our online activity, alongside that of businesses and governments, has led to a massive explosion – a ‘Big Bang’ – of data. This radical shift in the volume, variety and speed of data being produced, combined with new techniques for storage, access, and analysis, is what defines the proliferation of data. It is radically reshaping our world and is set to revolutionise everything we do. Data today gives us new ways of doing things: from scientific research to business strategy, politics to social interaction, our new data-driven society that has the potential to be more fair, stable, and efficient and yet it also created a tools for unprecedented mass surveillance and commodification. Data access and usage rights, along with the value they comprise, are at the heart of many concerns. Big Bang Data explores the issues surrounding the datafication of our world through the work of artists, designers, journalists and visionaries. As the data explosion accelerates, we ask if we really understand our relationship with data, and explore the meaning and implications of data for our future.
Right Here Right Now2015
A major new exhibition providing a thought provoking snapshot of contemporary digital art. Featuring the work of 16 international artists, Right Here, Right Now looks at how technology affects our lives - through surveillance, artificial intelligence, voyeurism or online dating. Created in the last five years, their critical, playful and illuminating artworks challenge our understanding of the digital systems that surround us, while making visible those that are hidden. Prepare to re-think your increasingly connected digital life.
Art in the age of asymmetrical warfare2015
Witte de With
Just as World War II began with a charge on horseback, and ended with the atomic bomb, the technological escalation of killing machines continues today. Art In The Age Of…Asymmetrical Warfare, the third and final iteration of Witte de With’s year-long exhibition series Art In The Age Of…, considers the irregular, and often uneven nature of the hybrid battlefield. As always, war is ever-present, however, its theater has now extended from the so-called real to the virtual. While hard power is still asserted face-to-face and hand- to-hand, remotely controlled weaponry and other means of telecommunicated violence are broadcast and delivered digitally through cyber attacks, and via social media propaganda platforms. Not surprisingly, these new channels have created their own forms of representation in which morale and information have become equal to, or are greater than, traditional military superiority. Instead of simply producing images of war, a new war of images is being fought and sold. As such, Art In The Age Of…Asymmetrical Warfare asks the question: What role do artists play when they slip into these networks and try to reveal the engines and effects of contemporary conflict? Participants: Abbas Akhavan, Sven Augustijnen, James Bridle, Broomberg & Chanarin, Crass, Claire Evans, John Gerrard , Terence Gower, Glenn Kaino, Navine G. Khan-Dossos, Adam Kleinman, Trevor Paglen, Mohammad Salemy, Susan Schuppli, Nida Sinnokrot, Thomson & Craighead, Tom Tlalim, José Antonio Vega Macotela. Curators: Defne Ayas, Natasha Hoare, Adam Kleinman
Data as Culture 3: Data Anthropologies2015
Open Data Institute
Data as Culture 3: Data Anthropologies critically positions humans at the centre of emerging data landscapes through artistic exploration. The Open Data Institute offers itself as the focal point of this exploration by hosting a series of artists’ exploration. Thomson & Craighead, in residence between February and June, 2015, will develop a concept for a new artwork, responding to or working with open data. They will work along an open research model, likewise sharing their thinking through a solo exhibition of their existing works at the ODI. Thomson & Craighead’s work explores the ways in which our lives and experiences are mediated by technology. It raises questions about what it means to aggregate and interconnect large bodies of information, inviting reflection on how mechanisms like the World Wide Web, alter, extend and distort our understanding of the world around us. Thomson & Craighead are keen observers of the ways in which people interact with these new spaces. Working with sound, video and sculpture, their materials include found YouTube footage, search terms and extracted texts from individual and corporate contributors to online media.
Maps DNA and Spam2014
Dundee Contemporary Arts
We are delighted to welcome back artists Thomson & Craighead to DCA for our first exhibition of 2014. Maps DNA and Spam features new work (Dundee Wall and The First Person) and a selection of older work including The Time Machine in alphabetical order, Belief and A short film about War. Much of Thomson & Craighead's recent work looks at how communications networks like the worldwide web are changing the way we relate to the world around us - the conflict between our private and public identities, the tension between the global and the local and the way in which modern communications inform our sense of place and self in the world. The exhibition includes new two new works: The First Person (2013), an endless stream of first person statements taken from American self-help websites, randomly intercut with found video footage of a burning house; and Dundee Wall (2014) a poetic snapshot of social networking traffic from within this city, published as typeset posters and pasted up within DCA. Two earlier works in the exhibition draw on information found entirely online: A Short Film about War (2009) is a narrative documentary artwork which takes viewers around the world to a variety of war zones as seen through the collective eyes of the online photo sharing community Flickr, and as witnessed by a variety of existing military and civilian bloggers; while Belief (2011-12) presents a series of fragmented broadcasts about faith, all sourced from the video sharing community YouTube. Other works on display include The Time Machine in Alphabetical Order (2010) a complete re-edit of the 1960s film version of HG Wells Novella reconfigured by the artists into alphabetical order from beginning to end. Jon Thomson, born 1969, and Alison Craighead, born 1971, studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee and now live and work in Scotland and London. Jon Thomson is Reader in Fine Art at The Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, while Alison Craighead is Reader in Visual Culture and Contemporary Art at University of Westminster and lectures in Fine Art at Goldsmiths University London. Thomson & Craighead have been working together since 1993. Recent exhibitions include MEWO Kunsthalle, Memmingen and Carroll/Fletcher, London.
Look Into the Net2014
Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst
The works shown in this exhibition of the internationally most relevant net artists belong to the collection of NETescopio, iniciated in 2008 and since then constantly developed by the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art of Extremadura and Latin America – MEIAC, Badajoz. With NETescopio, the MEIAC is a pioneer in the availability of an Internet accessible art collection beyond the physical presence of the actual Museum. A selection of 120, partly no longer accessible, key works covers the panorama of net art production from the 1990s until today. This exhibition is in this sense a unique opportunity to gain an insight into the net art tendencies and their aesthetics. The main objective of the NETescopio archive, which makes also a historical classification of the collected works, is the preservation of the works, characterized by the incorporation of a large numbers of Spanish and Latin American net artists. The curator Gustavo Romano has distinguished three strategies of artistic appropriation of the Internet with their various formats: Disassemblings During the web´s early years the artists started to experiment with the new medium and dealt with the possibilities of interactivity, the use of interfaces and alternative browsers. It is in the first years of web art, which can be seen in this category, that show a greater radicalism with a stress on experimentation and the deconstruction of the medium. Re/appropriations The reuse of symbolic materials and artistic reactions to existing content play a key role in this work. In digital media information can be reproduced and manipulated, developing constant mutation. This poses in discourses to copy, original and authorship, as well as to owner and collector of net art. The artist’s role on the web is of a "redirector" of information. Intrusion These works refer to artistic intervention in a new public space, the “Internet”, which involve commonly used sites such as Wikipedia or Google Maps, which parody or subvert private pages, in order to undermine them through artistic contexts. Stealthily infiltration of the user's computer or other computer systems is discussed here. The artist slips here into the role of spies, intruders and solitary flaneurs. Curated by Gustavo Romano artists: 0100101110101101.org (Eva & Franco Mattes); Ivan Abreu; Amy Alexander; Marcel·lí Antúnez; Kim Asendorf; Lucas Bambozzi; Ryan Barone; Giselle Beiguelman; Amy Berk; Luther Blissett; Natalie Bookchin; Christophe Bruno; Maite Cajaraville; Martin John Callanan; Azahara Cerezo; Paolo Cirio; Arcángel Constantini; Vuk Cosic; Andy Cox; Critical Art Ensemble; Minerva Cuevas; Young-Hae Chang; Santiago Echeverry; Vadim Epstein; Evru; Fiambrera Obrera; Gonzalo Frasca; Belén Gache; Dora García; Daniel García Andújar; Gazira Babeli; Emilio Gomáriz; Ethan Ham; Luis Hernández Galván; Robin Hewlett; Steev Hise; Ricardo Iglesias; Daniel Jacoby; Sergi Jordá; Scott Kildall; Ben Kinsley; La Société Anonyme (José Luis Brea); Joan Leandre; Les Liens Invisibles; Olia Lialina; Rogelio López Cuenca; Iván Lozano; Alessandro Ludovico; Peter Luining; Fernando Llanos; Brian Mackern; Miltos Manetas; Rafael Marchetti; Iván Marino; Antonio Mendoza; Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga; Antoni Muntadas; Mark Napier; Eduardo Navas; Santiago Ortiz; Christian Oyarzún; Paolo Pedercini (Molleindustria); Raquel Rennó; Ricardo Barreto & Paula Perissinotto; Gustavo Romano; Benjamin Rosenbaum; Mario Santamaría; Santo_File (David Casacuber
Not even the Sky2013
MEWO Kunsthalle Memmingen
Das britische Künstlerpaar Thomson & Craighead nutzt Technologie als ein Medium, um grundlegende Fragen für die Gegenwart neu zu stellen. Viele ihrer Arbeiten befassen sich mit Live-Netzwerken wie dem Internet und damit, wie diese unser Verständnis unserer Situation und der uns umgebenden Welt verändern. Thomson & Craighead verknüpfen über das Internet verfügbare Informationen mit realen Erfahrungen. So werden in der Filmarbeit Flat Earth die an und für sich neutralen Bilder von Aufklärungssatelliten mit den subjektiven Texten von Bloggern kombiniert und wandeln sich für die Betrachter dadurch zum Bestandteil einer emotionalen Erzählung. Die aus vielen Einzelbildern bestehende Videoarbeit Horizon trägt in Echtzeit Webcam-Aufnahmen aus den unterschiedlichen Zeitzonen zusammen und liefert ein eindrückliches Bild der sich mit uns drehenden und durch Tag und Nacht bewegenden Erde. Die Arbeiten von Thomson & Craighead verorten uns. Sie bieten uns eine Perspektive auf die Welt, die nicht immer mit unseren vorgefassten Erwartungen übereinstimmt, und die auch nicht der Komik entbehrt: Das Hinweisschild Hier, an der Straße vor der MEWO Kunsthalle positioniert, weist genau nach Norden und damit über beide Pole genau wieder auf uns, wie wir von uns selbst 40.008 km entfernt stehen. Thomson & Craighead: Broken Webcams, 2013 Jon Thomson (*1969 in London) und Alison Craighead (*1971 in Aberdeen) arbeiten mit Video, Sound, Bildhauerei, Installation und dem Internet. Sie haben am Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee studiert und arbeiten seit 1993 gemeinsam als Thomson & Craighead. Jon Thomson unterrichtet an der Slade School of Fine Art und Alison Craighead an der University of Westminster und am Goldsmiths College. Sie leben und arbeiten in London sowie in Kingussie, im Schottischen Hochland.
Never Odd or Even2013
Carroll / Fletcher Gallery, London
A major solo exhibition of recent work at Carroll / Fletcher Gallery in London curated by Diana Stevenson for Carroll/Fletcher gallery, London.
Belief at InSpace, Edinburgh2012
Inspace, University of Edinburgh Department of Infomatics
The final documentary in our 'Flat Earth Trilogy' (preceded by 'Flat Earth' (2007), and 'A short film about War' (2009/2010) commissioned by Vital Spark / Creative Scotland with support from New Media Scotland and Atlas Arts Skye and premiered at InSpace Gallery, Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh Film Festival and subsequently shown in Dunvegan Castle on Isle of Skye a year later.
Current: An Experiment in Collecting Art2011
Harris Museum and Art Gallery
An experiment in acquiring contemporary art held in 2011. An exhibition, acquisition and debate, presented in partnership by the Harris Museum & Art Gallery and folly. A unique partnership project between the Harris Museum & Art Gallery and folly, Current:an Experiment in Collecting Digital Art not only celebrated innovative and creative use of new media technology, but formed a pioneering practical case study for the collection and integration of digital artworks into existing permanent collections; furthering the Harris' mission to establish a nationally significant collection of new media art. The partnership invited applications from UK-based artists working with technology to propose new or existing work for exhibition and acquisition. Proposals of work such as digital art, interactive art, net art, electronic art, multi-and time-based media were welcomed. The project included the following elements: A public exhibition of new media artwork held at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery between 26 March and 4 June 2011; An acquisition of one artwork for the museum's permanent collections; A public debate held on 24th May 2011 to analyse the experiment and share findings and best practice on collecting digital art; Evaluation of the project to inform future collecting of new media at the museum. The aims and vision of the project: We will support artists working with technologies in innovative and inspiring ways; We will increase public engagement with new media artwork, as well as increasing the understanding and accessibility of it; We will further develop existing professional knowledge and expertise of new media and museum collecting through a meaningful collaboration; We will share findings with colleagues in both visual arts and museums sectors. This ground-breaking project will push the boundaries in the representation of new media work and set a standard of best practice for other collecting institutions to learn from. Public Exhibition. Selected by an expert advisory panel, the following artists made the final cut, and presented new and recent work for the Current exhibition which embraced technology in very different ways - from live networked installations through to moving image and sound. Artists: boredomresearch; Michael Szpakowski; James Coupe; Thomson & Craighead; Harwood, Wright, Yokokoji. From this shortlist, one work from the exhibition was selected to be acquired for the Harris’ permanent collection by an expert panel, including Paul Hobson, Director, Contemporary Arts Society; Sarah Fisher, Chair of Axis and Chair of FACT; Gavin Delahunty, Head of Exhibitions and Displays, Tate Liverpool; Taylor Nuttall, Chief Executive, folly; and Alex Walker, Head of Arts & Heritage Preston City Council. In selecting the work to be acquired, the following criteria were applied by the panel -considering the context of the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, the four aims of the project, public engagement, representing current artistic practice and promoting critical dialogue. The selected work was Thomson & Craighead’s piece; The distance travelled through our solar system this year and all the barrels of oil remaining, 2011. The work consists of two wall based gallery projections that dynamically display the number of remaining oil barrels left in the world alongside the distance the earth has travelled this year. By juxtaposing something global (the statistic streams) against something local (a visit to a gallery and contemplat
Thomson & Craighead at Highland Institute for Contemporary Art2010
Highland Institute of Contemporary Art, Inverness-shire, Scotland
An exhibition of new work by Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead. Installations exhibited; 'The Time Machine in Alphabetical Order' (world premiere), 'Flipped Clock', 'Nearby, within 5 miles', 'The End' (world premiere), 'Horizon (Print)'. An essay by Alistair Rider about the artists was also commissioned to accompany the exhibition and was published in 2011 and called, 'HICA Exhibitions 2010: Jeremy Millar, Thomson+Craighead, Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum, Boyle Family'
London Wall: Museum of London2010
Museum of London
A special commission for the relaunch of the Museum of London's new collections. From the press release: "The opening of the new galleries was accompanied by London Wall, an interactive installation by artists Thomson & Craighead. Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead are fascinated by the way global communications networks, such as the internet, transform the way we perceive and understand our world. They use these new media to make web-based art, as well as installations for galleries and, occasionally, outdoor sites. Thomson and Craighead live and work in London and Scotland. London Wall builds on their interest in social networks to create a snapshot of tweeting and texting activity over a defined period. From 28 May to 6 June, they downloaded publicly available tweets and texts sent within a three-mile radius of the Museum of London. This included visitors to the Museum, who were given instructions on how to participate. The artists typeset the texts and printed them out as A3 posters with a date and time tag. The posters were then pasted up in the Museum’s foyer in a chronological order. Once they reached the end of the wall, they went back to the beginning and started again. The finished wall presents social networking activity almost as a kind of concrete poetry, in which complaints about public transport and skipped breakfasts segue into fashion tips and plans for evenings out."
Bielefelder Kunstverein, Germany
A presentation of 'Flat Earth' as part of a series of solo presentations simultaneously online and in the Bielefelder Kunstverein under the umbrella title, 'Subjective Projections' curated by Thomas Thiel
A short film about War: Animate projects2010
Animate Projects, London (online)
A solo presentation of 'A short film about War' on Animate Projects website, with a contextual essay by Lisa LeFeuvre and an interview with the artists. A Short film about War is a narrative documentary artwork made entirely from information found on the worldwide web. In ten minutes this two screen gallery installation takes viewers around the world to a variety of war zones as seen through the collective eyes of the online photo sharing community Flickr, and as witnessed by a variety of existing military and civilian bloggers.
Studion: Thomson and Craighead at Moderna Museet, Stockholm2008
Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
A solo exhibition of work in the project space at Moderna Museet specially curated by Bjorn Norberg to accompany the Max Ernst retrospective. The moderna museet in Stockholm does not currently have an archive running back to 2008 but the following snippit exists here in Swedish (http://www.modernamuseet.se/Stockholm/Utstallningar/2008/Max-Ernst/Program/): Studion: I Studion på plan 1 genomförs ett projekt med konstnärerna Thomson & Craighead, som liksom Max Ernst arbetar med autogenerativ konst i form av ord som projiceras på vägg. Projektet visualiserar och förmedlar hur surrealisternas och Max Ernst konstnärliga tillvägagångssätt fortlever idag och hur de har utvecklats genom den nya tekniken. Det visar även hur konstnärer under första hälften av 1900-talet utvecklade idéer som har relevans för 2000-talets konstnärliga uttryck, inte minst vad gäller tillvägagångssätt och inställning. Projektet visas 2-30 oktober och avslutas med ett samtal kring utställningen. Samtidskonstnärer diskuterar Max Ernst inflytande på deras egna konstnärskap med Iris Müller-Westermann. Projektet genomförs i samarbete med Mejan Labs.
Thomson & Craighead at Mejan Labs2006
The British artist duo Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead have collaborated since the early 1990s and are now among the leading artists of the British new media art scene, with their practice developing in parallel with the widespread growth of Internet technology. From a background in traditional media, they gradually transitioned, via video, to focus on web-based art when the World Wide Web took off during the 1990s. As technology improved and Internet connections have became faster, they started to combine Internet technology with gallery installations. They have also begun to connect the possibilities of the Internet to physical space. They use the Internet as a gigantic database where they find material which is then edited and infused with new meanings and contexts. This process encompasses a range of methods found in contemporary art, such as real-time and generative processes, randomness, the recycling and misuse of information and technology and a process-based flow that goes from one context to another. At Mejan Labs Thomson & Craighead show two installations, Decorative Newsfeeds and Unprepared Piano. Decorative Newsfeeds can be described as a digital automatic drawing, something of a contemporary update of Jean Tinguely's drawing machines, but this time with readable content. The installation incorporates actual headlines collected from the World Wide Web, which are updated continuously and projected in formations moving in serpents to create a series of "moving drawings". Unprepared Piano involves a Yamaha Disklavier DU1A, a hybrid between an acoustic and digital piano, reminiscent of a contemporary descendent of the historical pianola. The instrument plays MIDI files (a communications format for digital musical instruments) that a computer collects from the Internet. The files each contain a complete piece of music with different tracks for different instruments. When the piano plays a piece it switches between the tracks randomly which means it will sometimes play a piano part correctly, then switch over to a drum track and attempt to play the drums on the piano. It is possible to follow on a monitor what is being played at any moment and to see for what instrument the data is intended. The title, Unprepared Piano, is a reference to the American composer John Cage and his method of preparing a piano by inserting such items as nails, coins and so forth directly between the instrument's strings, as a means of altering its sound. At the same time the title refers to the fact that the piano is 'unprepared' for the information it receives. The Thomson & Craighead exhibition was made with support from the British Council. For further information contact curator Bjorn Norberg, bjorn (a) mejanlabs.se
Thomson & Craighead2004
The Media Centre, Huddersfield
A solo exhibition of work by Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead including the premiere of 'Decorative Newsfeeds' and the first showing of 'Trooper' as a gallery work
Short Films About Flying at Mobile Home, London.2002
Mobile Home Gallery, London
Digital Installation From Online Sources
A solo exhibition held at Mobile Home Gallery on Vyner Street, London where our generative installation, "Short Films about Flying" was premiered. Short Films about Flying is a networked installation by Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead in which an open edition of unique cinematic works are automatically generated in the gallery, and in real-time from existing live data found on the world-wide web. Each ‘movie’ (replete with opening titles and end credits) combines a live video feed from Logan Airport in Boston with randomly loaded net radio sourced from elsewhere in the world. As this relatively good quality video stream is taken from an existing commercial website where its visitors are able to remote control the camera, each ‘movie’ is ‘shot’ and ‘paced’ by its own (albeit unsuspecting) camera person. Additionally, text grabbed from a variety of on-line message boards is periodically inserted, appearing like cinematic inter-titles when viewed in combination with all the other components. The result is a coherent yet evocative combination of elements that produce an endlessly mutating edition of low-tech mini-movies that we call, Template Cinema. Short films about Flying now only exists as a simulated archive because the resources it uses have now expired online. However we have developed a sequel called Short Films about Nothing, which you can find out about here
V2_Organisatie, Rotterdam, Netherlands
An exhibition with interactive installations by Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead (GB). Works in the exhibition were; CNN Interactive just got more interactive, Telephony and Driving through Las Vegas. Model Behaviour was supported by: Cultural Affairs, City of Rotterdam, Ministry of OC&W, Luna Internet, Siemens, KPN Mobile and The British Council. The works were provided on Courtesy Mobile Home, London.
Art Entertainment Network2000
Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, USA
Art Entertainment Network (AEN) is an online exhibition of more than 40-Web-based artist projects that exploit the convergence of media on the Internet in order to explode the boundaries between art and entertainment--and daily (online) life. All these projects are designed to be viewed, experienced, participated in, and played with online--from Natalie Bookchin's video gamelike The Intruder to participatory projects such as Mark Napier's ©bots to new forms of narrative such as Auriea Harvey's An Anatomy to Ken Goldberg and Bob Farzin's mysterious "webcam," Dislocation of Intimacy. AEN is a portal concept by Steve Dietz, designed by Vivian Selbo, that is a gateway to the projects in the exhibition as well as other artist-created video, audio, and text works from around the world and around the Internet, featured "24 x 7" in the online mediatheque. Like any portal, there are the expected features from a search engine to a link of the day, except that in AEN each of these features links to a specific artist project, for instance, one that plays with the notion of a search engine such as Mongrel's Natural Selection or a daily link, as in Maciej Wisniewski's Jackpot.
Modified Computer Game
A group exhibition held at Artezium gallery in Luton (now closed).
LIFT Gallery, London.
A festival of exhibitions and screenings in and around London's Shoreditch and centered on the Lux Gallery (formally LEA Gallery) in Hoxton Square. Participating artists included Film and Video Umbrella's Black box, Thomson & Craighead, Clio Barnard, Matt Collishaw, Tracey Emin, Soda, Igloo...
OMNIZONE presents a "mapping" of digital culture from individual perspectives. The participants of this project include artists, curators, critics, programmers, research scientists, and other cultural practicioners. Their texts and artworks substantiate a critical view of digital culture and its dynamics and function (however obtusely) as maps of digital space. All Participants: Sabine Bitter Lee Boot Andreas Broeckmann Sawad Brooks Adam C. Chapman Shu Lea Cheang Lawrence Chua Alison Craighead Noah Wardrip Fruin Morgan Garwood Yu Yeon Kim Eve Andree Laramee Diana McCarty Mark Napier Susanna Paasonen Dr. Christiane Paul Stephen Pusey Osvaldo Romberg Iair Rosenkranz Pit Shultz Jon Thomson Marc Tinkler Beth Stryker Marek Walczak Helmut Weber Maciej Wisniewski Andrea J. Wollensak Adrianne Wortzel www.teo-spiller.org
What Difference Does It Make?1998
Cambridge Darkrooms, Cambridge.
What Difference Does It Make? A group exhibition held at Cambridge Darkroom Gallery, England and selected by Matthew Higgs, Kate Bush, Olivier Richon, and Ronnie Simpson.
The Linguistic Turn1998
Un sub-site de obras textuales, comisariado por Michael Gibbs y Charles Rood. THE LINGUISTIC TURN es una e-xhibición colectiva que reconoce el carácter textual y la dimensión inmaterial de la comunicación en Internet, aprovechando al mismo tiempo las características gráficas y espacio-temporales que posibilita el entorno del Web. El título hace referencia a una estrategia filosófica del siglo XX que explica cómo el conocimiento depende del lenguaje como significado del análisis de conceptos (onto)lógicos y de fenómenos culturales. Para este pensamiento postmoderno, conceptos como "realidad", "verdad" etc. son tomados como construcciones socio-lingüísticas sin fundamento trascendente último. No hay ni una sola posibilidad de escaparse de esta omni-web lingüística a través de estrategias post-filosóficas, porque éstas han de expresarse a sí mismas a través del vocabulario tradicional y asumir su referencia directa a las palabras. Como forma de arte, "el giro lingüístico" refleja ausencia y lenguaje, no cuestiones ontológicas. Si no se puede afirmar que la Realidad exista, al menos se afirma que la Realidad Virtual existe. A través de esta realidad lo Virtual niega a lo Real, el lenguaje virtual es capaz de habitar esta contradicción. Sin embargo esta forma artísitica es parásita por naturaleza: necesita la red para manifestarse, pero sin usar el propósito comunicacional del cual depende la red para su existencia. THE LINGUISTIC TURN representa iconoclastia virtual. Aunque desarrollado para comunicar significado a través de lenguaje lineal, las condiciones cibernéticas permiten al lenguaje, también, beneficiarse de "momentum" artístico sin ser lastrado de la carga iconográfica o poética. Liberada de esta inmovilidad, la ciberescritura se apropia de la espacialidad virtual de la imagen e incorpora la temporalidad de la realidad factual a través de su dinamismo y flexibilidad.
The Eyes of March1998
The LEA Gallery, Lux Centre, London.
Modified Computer Game
Exhibition Title: EYES OF MARCH | 12 - 28 MARCH 1998 at the LEA Gallery (email@example.com), Lux Centre, 2-4 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NU. Throughout March, LEA Gallery makes provision for specialist organisations in the field of digital technology for one, all encompassing exhibition. A cross between a trade fair, gallery show and working office, this promises to be an exciting and multi-faceted display of digital media. WALTER FABECK'S "CHROMASONE"--The Chromasone is a revolutionary new musical instrument which uses computer technology to not only create an incredible range of sounds, but also to permit a previously unknown flexibility of movement for the musician. Created by British keyboardist and composer Walter Fabeck, with the aid of designer Tim Gravestock and the Steim Institute in Amsterdam, the Chromasone has a rotating blade which pushes the space-sensor concept of the Theremin into the realm of the MIDI. AVCO PRODUCTIONS--Two 3D computer animations of different coloured racing cars competing at high speed on different monitors. NOHO DIGITAL: "MIND GYM"--For Eyes of March, NoHo present their new ground breaking title, 'MindGym': a CD-ROM developed in conjunction with Melrose Films and published in the UK by McMillan Interactive. MUTE--Mute Magazine presents its new on-line publication, designed to encourage debate on issues revolving around the application and development of new computer technology. COIL--Coil Magazine premiere a new monitor based computer game by artists Alison Craighead and Jon Thomson, as well as the first London appearance of Simon Lewandowski's computer directed robotic walking machine. BIBLIOTECH: "TOMATO SOUP"--Students of the BTEC Electronic Media course at Hoxton Bibliotech, present an interactive "film" for the internet. Featuring a female gangster based in the East End, the story line revolves around Mrs. X, a New York 1930s style transvestite.
Beaconsfield Gallery, London and The Museum of Contemporary Art,
An exhibtiion held simultaneously at Jutempus gallery in Vilnius, Lithuania and BEACONSFIELD Gallery, London in 1997. Artists included Scanner, Fiona Banner, Lucy Gunning, Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead, Matt Collishaw, Gediminus and Nomeda Urbonas, Evaldas Jansas, Dziugas Katina and Linas Liandzbergis.
Maid in Cyberspace1997
Maid in Cyberspace - le festival XX d'art WWW | May 31st and June 1st, 1997. Archive information about this online exhibition can be found here: http://www.htmlles.net/1997. The artists in the festival are : Juliet Ann Martin : "Can you see me through the computer" (America) / Alison Craighead and Jon Thomson : "Short Story" (England) / Antoni Abad : "Sisyphus" (Spain) / Élène Tremblay : "Chagrins" (Montréal) / Ine Poppe and Jetty Verhoeff : "Women with Beards" (Holland) / Catherine Fargher :"Queer Bed In" (Australia) / Angharad Wynne-Jones "Threesome" (Australia) / Jeannette Lambert and Raquel Rivera : "Emerging from Erasure" (Montréal and Malaysia) / Stephanie Cunningham : "Silence" (America) / Pascale Trudel : "Amazone" (Montréal) / Sonya Rapoport and Marie-José Sat: "Brutal Myths" (America) / JR Carpenter : "The Mythologies of Landforms and Little Girls" (Montréal) / Petra Mueller : "The Future is not what it used to be" (Montréal) / Leah Lazariuk :"Virtual Squat" (Montréal) / Nino Rodriguez :"Face Value" (America) / Kate Monro : "Cyberporn Gallery" (Toronto) / Angela Dorrer : "Five Cookie Stories" (Germany)
Underwood Street Gallery, London
Obituary was the first large scale, solo work presented in London by artists Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead. Having investigated the intersections of popular belief, new technologies and surveillance in numerous video, multi-media, audio and internet works, the gallery space at 30 Underwood Street offered a unique opportunity to bring these concerns together in one environment.
Burning the Interface1996
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
An exhibition of interactive artworks published as a CDROM called The Toybox, published by Moviola (now FACT), Liverpool and first exhibited at Tate Liverpool in 1995
On Mouse Up1996
On Mouse up was a group exhibition held in Clerkenwell, London. The artwork exhibited at this exhibition was called, 'Television Fan' -information on this work can be found at this url: http://www.thomson-craighead.net/docs/fan.html
Bluecoat gallery, Liverpool
A group exhibition at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool
The Toybox: Video Positive 19951995
The ToyBox was a project developed as part of Video Positive 95. The piece was an anthology of artist's works contained on a CD-ROM, published and sold during the festival in Liverpool. Each artist was asked to respond to the idea of creating a piece of work which they would like to find in a digital toybox. The CD-ROM contained works by the following artists : Justin Bennett, Charlotte Corke, Alison Craighead/Jon Thomson, Jeremy Diggle, Jon Dovey, F(UK), Christopher Hales, Rory Hamilton, Troy Innocent, Peter Maloney, Robert Mettler, Julie Myers, Steve Partridge, Janni Perton, Nina Pope, Roy Stringer, Simon Schofield - Simon Tuner - Jane Wood Clive Gillman was the Creative Director for the piece and also facilitated and collaborated on a number of the projects.
Apocalypse is a complex fragrance based on olfactory materials detailed in The Book Of Revelation as it appears in the King James Bible first published in 1611. We established our list of terms from the book and then worked in collaboration with perfumer Euan McCall to develop this chemical depiction of biblical end times. The perfume exists in a limited edition of only fifty 100ml bottles each boxed with signed inserts and with a label design by Steve Carroll. A secondary scent associated with material decay is also sprayed into each box lining.
A photographic print depicting a landscape taken in the Scottish Highlands overlaid with a yellow slogan and mounted on dibond (180cm x 120cm). Another Advertiser's Announcement is a proposal for a an advertising billboard, which refers to a series of advertisements developed by JG Ballard between 1967 and 1971. In Advertiser's Announcements Ballard chose to advertise a series of concepts rather than products. In Another Advertiser's Announcement we seek to extend the original project by using quotes attributed to Ballard.
Common era is a series of sixteen posters; each one a different prediction of the end of the world starting in 1999 with Nostradamus and concluding with the heat death of the universe as calculated by Schroder and Smith. By bringing them together into a single collection we let them work against each other in a way that perhaps emphasises a human need to believe that we are somehow in control of our destiny even if that means naming the moment of our own ending.
Help yourself is a patch bay of thirty-two different self help affirmation audio sessions brought together under an abstract animation which advertises itself and the work making it seem like a kind of kiosk or booth. By accessing the multiple audio sources with the closed cup drummer's headphone's provided, each listener completes the work becoming a performer navigating this documentary body of information. Affirmation sessions vary from Finding Love to Stop Smoking or Career Success -each made in a variety of aesthetic and therapeutic styles. The animation is a pixel cleaning video designed to help flat screens clean themselves of screen burn and 'dead' pixels.
A temporary index is an array of decorative counters that mark sites of nuclear waste storage across the world. Each counter is a kind of totem making the time in seconds that remains before these sites of entombed nuclear waste become safe again for humans. These timeframes range from as little as forty years or as much as one million years. A booklet accompanies the collection of counters, which describes each site in more detail, also providing contextual information about the human legacy of nuclear waste and what we as a species have done so far to deal with it. A temporary index is commissioned by Dr Ele Carpenter and Arts Catalyst as part of their Nuclear Culture project.
Untitled (balloon work) combines inscribed gold balloons in the gallery with a short video recording the aftermath of a corporate balloon drop where a small group of women diligently pop hundreds and hundreds of balloons as a way of clearing them away. The popping balloons are reminiscent of weapons fire, while some of the balloons are inscribed in gothic script with the names of recent coalition military actions like, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom or, Valiant Guardian. Untitled (balloon work) considers the language of war and some of the ways it impinges on first world societies -societies that find themselves both in a contunuing state of conflict while we push our views of it to the edges of our vision, perhaps in a collective state of denial.
A large ultrabright LED sign displays our current world population in realtime, updating in response to statistical sources. The vertical mirroring of this simple macroview of our world transforms the information into a decorative totem -an object of contemplation taking the place ordinarily reserved for a more conventional timepiece. The work has been commissioned for the re-opening of Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery alongside the launch of a new space dedicated to the Frank Cohen collection and a series of other commissions installed around the museum.
Panning for Atomic Gold explores artistic quests for sensory perceptions of deep time through atomic materials and nuclear culture. The symposium will make connections between Arts Catalyst’s Atomic exhibition (1998), current artistic practices and future nuclear archives. In our twentieth anniversary year the event draws on Arts Catalyst’s archive of unique documents and artefacts – revisiting work by James Acord, Mark Aerial Waller and Carey Young – and makes public these archives for the first time. Curated by Ele Carpenter, speakers include radiological protection advisor Shelly Mobbs; scholar of Cold War literature Dan Grausam; artists Thomson & Craighead, Karen Kramer, Mark Aerial Waller and Carey Young; curator Ele Carpenter; and Arts Catalyst’s archivist Z Richter-Welch and research engineer Lisa Haskel.
A book catalogue on the work of artists Thomson & Craighead published to accompany two solo exhibitions at Dundee Contemporary Arts and MEWO Kunsthalle Memmingen. The book includes essays by Clive Gillman, Sarah Cook and a coneversation between the artists and writer Steve Rushton
An ongoing series of photographic light boxes that each display one instant taken from a broken webcam found online. In searching out these simple malfuntions -distortions in the many eyes of our self-surveilled world, we hope to represent them as an edition of aesthetic propositions reminding us that the act of looking itself distorts our perception of reality
A documentary artwork about a man called Graham Smith living in the Scottish kingdom of Fife, who has been making timelapse recordings of the view from his bedroom window everyday from 6am to 6pm since 2006. The short video work takes us through a visualisation of six years of Mondays where each 'year' is soundtracked differently offering a range of contexts from which this contemplative landscape can be viewed.
An endless stream of first person statements taken from American self-help websites is randomly intercut with a found video of a burning house. The resulting narrative is a never ending symbolic address that the viewer always seems to join midway. It is an endless cinematic plateau-state with all it's constituent parts phasing against each other like a piece of minimalist music
An edition of twelve photographic light boxes each display twelve frames taken from a corrupt video file found online -a file intended to put a virus onto the downloader's computer but which appears pixilated, painterly and abstract when opened in a video player. In searching out these glitches, malfunctions and distortions, the artists represent them as aesthetic propositions, reminding us that looking itself distorts our perception of reality. Lenticular printing enables the artists to show multiple images that animate as the viewer moves in space. They do not 'playback' or move automatically
Stutterer is an instructional artwork – a poetry machine that uses the human genome like a music score to play back a self-assembling video montage spanning the thirteen years it took the Human Genome Project to complete the first documented human DNA sequence. The four nucleotide bases of a DNA strand are represented by the letters T, A, G and C and Stutterer plays (or will play – if it were to run continuously for more than sixty years) all 3.2 billion letters representing the human genome, where each letter becomes a word plucked by the artists from an English language television broadcast made sometime between 1990 and 2003. Stutterer was started on Wednesday October 1st 2014 with approximately 500 video clips in its library, but this will be extended by the artists in the coming years, so that each time the work is exhibited there will be an increasing number of video elements to draw upon, offering an ever richer glimpse into a period in human history that begins in 1990 with the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in South Africa and concludes with the fall of Baghdad to a US and British military coalition in 2003. Stutterer is a human monument of sorts, which seeks to connect our biological fabric with our unique linguistic abilities – the very abilities, which have arguably enabled us to apprehend our own DNA in the first place
An exhibition, forum and research programme involving UK and Japanese artists in investigating nuclear culture in Japan post-Fukushima. Part of the SIAF Collaborative Programme 2014 Artists are making the nuclear economy increasingly visible by rethinking nuclear materials and architectures, decay rates and risk perception; questioning the 20th Century belief in nuclear modernity. As the international population becomes more aware of their role as participants in nuclear culture, this exhibition aims to create a space for open discussion. The Actinium exhibition was an international hub for discussion about contemporary nuclear culture. The exhibition took place during the opening weeks of the SIAF 2014, and was the base for film screenings, discussion forum and field trips exploring the relationship between the metropolis and nuclear sites in rural Hokkaido. Actinium is a radioactive element named after the Greek word ‘aktis’ a beam or ray, but its name reveals how little we know about the behavior of different kinds of alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Today the word actinium conjures ideas of action in response to radioactive materials as they enter the public realm through the nuclear cycle of weapons, energy, pollution and waste. Today artists and geologists explore the human time of the Anthropocene as the nuclear industry tries to reverse-mine radioactive waste back into the ground. The geological time frames for radioactive decay are beyond human comprehension and challenge the limits of knowledge and not-knowing. Exhibition OYOYO, 6F Daini Mitani Bldg, South 1 West 6,Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0061 Japan The Exhibition includes works by artists James Acord (USA), Shuji Akagi (J), Chim↑Pom (J), Crowe & Rawlinson (UK/De), Karen Kramer (USA/UK), Cécile Massart (Belgium), Eva & Franco Mattes (USA), Thomson & Craighead (UK/Scotland). Curated by Ele Carpenter (UK). Forum The Forum brought together international artists from Japan, Britain and USA with Japanese academics, activists and researchers in the field of nuclear culture. Discussion topics included: political, social, material and philosophical concerns, geologic time, the nuclear cycle, DIY Science, radiation, immateriality and invisibility. Presentations by Ryuta Ushiro (Chim↑Pom), Thomson & Craighead, Takashi Noguchi, Susan Schuppli, and Nicola Triscott and roundtable discussions. The Forum took place on Sunday 27 July 2014. Field Trip Programme Field Trips enabled an interdisciplinary group of artists and researchers to visit nuclear sites on Hokkaido. These sites included the Underground Research Center for radioactive waste storage at Horonobe, the Nuclear Power Plant at Tomari, and the East Coast of Japan. Acknowledgements Actinium was curated by Ele Carpenter, Arts Catalyst, produced by S-AIR; and took place during the opening weeks of the Sapporo International Arts Festival (SIAF) in July 2014. The project was organised by NPO S-AIR, Sapporo. Supported by: Daiwa Foundation; Pola Foundation; The Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan; City of Sapporo; Arts Council England; Goldsmiths College, University of London.
'Art and The Internet' is a visual survey of art influenced by, situated in and taking on the subject of the internet over the last two and a half decades.The book examines the legacy of the internet on art, and surveys how artists and institutions are using it and why. The publication reproduces documentation of my works 'Citizens of Spam (Part 1)' (2003-4), a 16 metre digital print featuring over 2,000 computer-generated 'Spam’ pseudo-names, and 'Citizens of Spam (Part 2)' (2003 - ongoing), an endless cycle of magazine portraits with cut-out 'smiley faces'.
A transcription of the greetings message sent with the Voyager One Interstellar Probe launched from Earth on 5th September 1977 and represented back to human viewers as an A0 woodblock print. A version of this work is also part of a publication project that brings together posters by Pavel Büchler, Dora Garcia, Jonathan Monk, Scott Myles, Thomson & Craighead and Marco Stout.
A catalogue about the work of Thomson & Craighead published to accompany their solo exhibition of the same name at Carroll/Fletcher Gallery in London during 2013
In 2013, Here was fabricated into a custom road sign indicating how far the sign is from itself if pointing in the direction of the North or South pole. The sign was fabricated to UK road furniture standards and displays distance in miles.
More Songs of Innocence and of Experience are a series of karaoke videos that take a fresh look at unsolicited spam emails and their affinities with the romanticism and realism in Charles Dicken's novel, 'Our Mutual Friend'. In both Dicken's novel and our online culture the language of romanticism and realism becomes intertwined with languages of exploitation whether it be the scam email, the hard luck story that attempts to extort or more generally the realms of advertising, evangelical religion, politics etc. More Songs of Innocence and of Experience was originally commissioned to be part of the exhibition Our Mutual Friends commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, London and presented in partnership with Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Turner Contemporary, Margate and Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth.
‘October’ is a special commission for the internationally recognized Brighton Photo-Biennial (BPB12) / Photoworks (October 2012) (£14,000). It is a two-channel documentary artwork about the early rise and fall of the Occupy movement. It extends research begun with software development undertaken in ‘Belief’ (2012) by focusing more closely on how the virtual layer of the internet interacts ever more seamlessly with the physical world. It asks how we can witness a global protest when it takes place simultaneously across the world in over 900 locations. Can the worldwide web (which spawned this movement) let us apprehend and reflect upon such a phenomenon? The work premiered at a new gallery in Brighton called ‘Create’ and according to BPB12 received 60,000 national and international visitors. ‘October’ was also presented at the international conference during the launch weekend of BPB12. A special edition of Photoworks magazine was published alongside the biennial, to serve as an exhibition catalogue (129 pages ISSN 1742-1659 | ISBN 978-1-903796-36-8) with a commissioned essay on ‘October’ by Lorena Munoz-Alonso. Photoworks is the UK’s leading magazine on British and International Photography. ‘October’ has already been used by Peter Ride as an example of world leading new media art practice for the keynote conference at Microwave New Media Art Festival 2012, Hong Kong. The wider body of research has evolved from an initial earlier AHRC small award in creative and performing arts (2007 | £15,000 FEC) titled, ‘Sculpting the Web: Making permanent artworks that explore the boundaries between physical public space and the virtual space of the web.’
‘Belief’ is the final documentary artwork in the 'Flat Earth Trilogy' commissioned through nomination for a Vital Spark award – the premiere award scheme for recognition of visual artists’ work run by Creative Scotland (£40,000). 'Belief' is a documentary artwork made from information found online, which considers new models of documentary making -specifically asking what potential our new globally accessible databases and social media repositories have as documentary archives? It also comprises a software element that draws a relationship between the physical world and the virtual world of the internet by using a compass as its visual metaphor. The first two works in the trilogy are 'Flat Earth' (2007) commissioned by Channel 4 & Animate TV (£16,000) and 'A short film about War' (2009/2010) commissioned by Alt-w/NewMedia Scotland (£4000). ‘Belief’ was premiered at InSpace Gallery, Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh Film Festival 2012 and exhibited at Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye in April 2013. ‘Belief’ was also selected to be part of the prestigious Jarman Award tour 2012 (Film London & FLAMIN) for which we were shortlisted artists. This tour went to FACT, Liverpool; Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow; The Northern Charter, Newcastle; Nottingham Contemporary; Watershed, Bristol; Duke of York cinema, Brighton; and Whitechapel Gallery, London. ‘Belief’ is also distributed internationally by Lux, Carroll / Fletcher gallery and Animate Projects where a contextual essay by Morgan Quaintance is available for download.
A live portrait of Tim Berners-Lee (an early warning system) is a drawing made from two live cameras located on opposite sides of the world and eleven time zones apart from each other. The image updates every sixty seconds and so as the earth rotates and orbits the sun, night becomes day and day becomes night, which makes the image invert every twelve hours or so. This work was commissioned by the National Media Museum in Bradford for their new Life Online Galleries, which opened in March 2012
Two wall based gallery projections, dynamically display the number of remaining oil barrels left in the world alongside the distance the earth has travelled this year. These statistical visualisations are informed by information available on the worldwide web and update periodically as new information on global oil reserves becomes available. By juxtaposing something global (the statistic streams) against something local (a visit to a gallery and contemplation of an artwork), the piece allows a poetic connection to be made between the individual and the world at large. A sound recording of the magnetoshphere in our solar system also plays into the gallery space alongside these rapid counters.
‘A short film about war’ (2009/2010) commissioned by Alt-w/NewMedia Scotland (£4000) in 2009 is a two-channel documentary artwork made from information found online and part of a wider project called, 'Flat Earth Trilogy'. It considers new models of documentary making -asking what potential our new globally accessible databases and social media repositories have as documentary archives, while focusing specifically on how information is distorted as it is mediated through globally networked digital communications systems? The other two works in the trilogy are 'Flat Earth' (2007) commissioned by Channel 4 & Animate TV (£16,000) and ‘Belief’ (2012) commissioned through a Vital Spark nomination with Creative Scotland (£40,000) ‘A short film about war’ has been exhibited widely internationally in major venues; at Foundation for Art & Creative Technology (FACT), Liverpool for the touring exhibition ‘My War’ (catalogue 110 pages ISBN 978-3-86828-134-7 | subsequent venue: Edith Russ Haus, Oldenberg); Rotterdam International Film Festival, 2011 where the work was nominated for a Tiger Award; Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Germany, 2011 (solo exhibition); Rooftop Films, New York, 2011; as part of our solo exhibition at Watermaal Station in Brussels, Belgium 2011; for Recontres Internationales, Centre Pompidou/Gaîté Lyrique, Paris and touring to Madrid and Berlin 2011/2012; as part of our nomination for the Samsung Art Prize, BFI Southbank, London, 2012; Loop Art Fair, Barcelona; for the major group exhibition at Haus Der Kunst Munich called, ‘Image Counter Image’ (200 pages ISBN 978-3-86335-208-0); at the OFF & FREE International Film Festival, ArKo Museum, Seoul, South Korea (catalogue forthcoming), 2012; and at the fourteenth Videonale in Bonn, 2013 (catalogue forthcoming). ‘A short film about War’ is also distributed internationally by Lux, Carroll / Fletcher gallery and Animate Projects where contextual essay by Lisa LeFeuvre (Director of Henry Moore Institute) is available for download.
The End, is a site specific artwork originally made for a solo exhibition at the Highland Istitute of Contemporary Art in 2010. It is an intervention into the gallery's picture window, where the words, 'The End' are fixed onto the glass in a style and scale one might associate with the end credits of a movie. By the simplest means possible, we attempt to fictionalise the view out of the window cinematically overlaying the surrounding landscape, but also suggesting terminus, or the approach of a pending disaster perhaps? The End of Days even.
‘London Wall’ is one of three special commissions (£13,600) that re-launched the Museum of London (MOL) in Summer 2010 following major refurbishment. It comprises over 500 fly-posters produced by an improvised printing studio representing social media traffic within a three-mile radius of MOL as a large-scale performative poem. It asks whether digital communications technologies are useful tools in showing and recording social history? It is also part of wider research into how digital technology is transforming our perception of the world? The installation has been acquired into MOL’s permanent collection as a social-historical record of online social networking - the first acquisition of its kind at MOL (we were also the first artists to have digital installations collected by Arts Council Collection (2003) and British Council Collection (2006/2008) and subsequently the first digital artwork acquisition in Harris Museum, Preston (2011). According to MOL, 280,727 people visited ‘London Wall’ in five months. Although the exhibition ran officially to 5th September 2010, it was extended until end of October by popular demand. Following the success of this commission, senior curator Francis Marshall at MOL is consulting us on policy development for MOL to commission, exhibit and collect more digital art. ‘London Wall’ has subsequently been exhibited as part of a solo exhibition at Highland institute of Contemporary Art, Inverness-shire in 2010 (catalogue 42 pages ISBN 978-0-9532175-3-3); in Tallinn (called, ‘Tallinn Wall’), Estonia at Kumu Art Museum as part of the major group exhibition ‘Gateways’ in 2011 (catalogue 261 pages ISBN 978-3-7757-2796-9) funded by Goethe Institute and the major exhibition at Kumu to celebrate Tallinn as European City of Culture; and then in 2012 at Furtherfield gallery, London for their inaugural exhibition ‘Being Social’. It will also be exhibited as part of our solo exhibition at Carroll / Fletcher Gallery, London in 2013.
A panel discussion and presentation from artists Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead with presentations and discussion with Wendy Kirkup, Nina Pope and Vuk Cosic
The Time Machine in alphabetical order is a complete rendition of the 1960's film version of HG Wells Novella re-edited by us into alphabetical order from beginning to end. In doing so, we attempt to perform a kind of time travel on the movie's original time line through the use of a system of classification. We consider this experiment as using what we have decided to call 'a constrained editing technique' in light of the literary artistic movement Oulipo who would make works through the use of constrained writing techniques.
Horizon is a narrative clock made out of images accessed in realtime from webcams found in every time zone around the world. The result is a constantly updating array of images that read like a series of movie storyboards, but also as an idiosynratic global electronic sundial.
Flipped Clock is a modified digital clock display, where each individual digit is rotated by 180 degrees. The result is a fully functioning and accurate clock but one which de-familiarizes us from 'clock time'. Flipped Clock reminds us that this omnipresent system of measurement is itself a human artifice and once again, even if it is for a moment, viewers are able to glimpse 'clock time' from the outside again.
Thursday, October 15 2009 / 10:00 - 18:30 Filmtheater 't Hoogt, Utrecht “In the sun that is young once only Time let me play and be Golden in the mercy of his mean” - Dylan Thomas, ‘Fern Hill’ Please register your attendance beforehand through firstname.lastname@example.org (indicate your full name and contact details). Lunch and coffee will be available at the venue. Contemporary science and technology have made possible a temporality which -although still based upon clock time- has exploded into countless different time fractions and speeds beyond human comprehension. Today we seem to live in several time zones at the same time, propelled by a variety of internal and external time mechanisms and innumerable rhythms which continuously vibrate, resonate, connect, oscillate and disconnect. How to grasp the temporal complexity that surrounds and occupies us? What sort of ecologies of time and speed have we developed under the influence of new technologies and what is their impact on our body and senses? This conference brings together a number of international thinkers who offer new perspectives on our contemporary experience of time and speed. Conference Progamme 10:00 - Introduction Ann-Sophie Lehmann 10:15 - John Tomlinson (United Kingdom) 11:00 - Mike Crang (United Kingdom) 11:45 - Carmen Leccardi (Italy) 12:30 - Lunch 13:30 - Steve Goodman (United Kingdom) 14:15 - Stamatia Portanova (Italy) 15:00 - Dirk de Bruyn (The Netherlands /Australia) 15:45 - Coffee break 16:00 - Sybille Lammes (The Netherlands) 16:45 - Charlie Gere (United Kingdom) 17:30 - Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead (United Kingdom) In collaboration with the MA New Media & Digital Culture, Department of Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University. Introduction: Ann-Sophie Lehmann (Utrecht University). Moderation: Klaas Kuitenbrouwer (Virtual Platform, Amsterdam) and Mirko Tobias Schaefer (Utrecht University). Mike Crang (artists) 11:00 - Mike Crang (UK) is Lecturer in cultural geography at Durham University. He has worked extensively on the relationship of social memory and identity. He is also ... Steve Goodman (artists) 13:30 - Steve Goodman (UK) teaches music culture at the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of East London. He runs the master “Sonic Culture” and is ... Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead (artists) 17:30 - Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead (UK) have been working together since the beginning of the 1990s on an idiosyncratic oeuvre, situated in the twilight zone between visual art ... Dirk de Bruyn (artists) 15:00 - Dirk de Bruyn (NL/AU) teaches animation and digital culture at Deakin University in Melbourne, Victoria. The past decades he has produced a number of films, videos ... Charlie Gere (artists) 16:45 - Charlie Gere (UK) teaches New Media Research at the Institute for Cultural Research, Lancaster University and is Chair of the group ‘Computers and the History of ... John Tomlinson (artists) 10:15 - John Tomlinson (UK) is Professor of Cultural Sociology and Director of the Institute for Cultural Analysis, Nottingham (ICAn). He has published a number of books on ... Sybille Lammes (artists) 16:00 - Sybille Lammes (NL) is Assistant Professor at the Department of Media and Culture Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Utrecht University. In recent years, her research has focused on ... Stamatia Portanova (artists) 14:15 - Stamatia Portanova (IT) received her PhD in Digital Cultures from the East London University, and is now a Honor
In times like these, what is art worth? And what is art for? The big moment for publicly funded art in Britain was the Second World War. "Something absolutely remarkable happened during the war", says actor Simon Callow. "The theatre suddenly was right at the heart of society." After the war, the idea of "art for all" led to the founding of the Arts Council - "very much a response to the distress, the fear, the uncertainty of war." Alan Yentob asks if culture can play that role again today. CREDITS PresenterAlan YentobParticipantSimon CallowDirectorJill NichollsProducerJill NichollsExecutive ProducerJanet Lee BROADCASTS Tue 28 Jul 200922:35BBC One (except Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales) Tue 28 Jul 200923:05BBC One (Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales only)
This is the latest semi-permanent outdoor version of, 'Decorative Newsfeeds' and is located at The Junction Theatre in Cambridge, UK. Rather than a projection, the work is displayed here on three bespoke colour LED screens intergrated into the architecture of the building and visible in direct sunlight. • There is a gallery version of this work, which you can find out about by clicking here • There is another smaller outdoor version in South East London, which you can see here All versions of, 'Decorative Newsfeeds' use a live feed from the web to present up to the minute headline news from around the world as a series of pleasant animations, allowing viewers to keep informed while contemplating a kind of readymade sculpture or perhaps an automatic drawing.
A generative music system as part of The Lost O; an exhibition of works in and around the town of Ashford as Tour de France 2007 passes through en-route to Canterbury. Ten tuned sheepbells designed to create the C minor diminished 7th chord lie at the centre of this generative music system. By attaching each bell to a sheep and grazing this small flock alongside this year's first stage route, a potentially infinite variety of generative musical outcomes can be created that respond in a direct and extremely sophisticated manner to the location within which they are installed. For centuries, European farmers have used cow and sheep bells as a means to locate cattle left to graze unenclosed land. By re-contextualising this technology in the Kent countryside, and by utilising chord structures associated with Jazz music, we hope to focus on the potential for such sheepbell installations to make their salient contribution to the generative music community in the wake of such historical precendents set by artists like John Cage and the Fluxus movement.
BEACON is a unique mechanical railway flap sign built by Solari of Udine in Italy. As with the online and projected version of BEACON, this mechanical half-flap sign continuously relays live web searches as they are being made around the world presenting them back in series and at regular intervals as an endless concrete poetry. The sign updates itself every 60 seconds with that signiature flurry of sound one associates with this kind of announcement board adding a completely new dimension to the work. The sign was specifically developed as a way of showing BEACON in fully lit public spaces making an unusual live realtime connection between physical public spaces and the virtual public space of the internet while colliding a nostalgic mechanical technology with a very contemporary one. The development of the railway sign was funded by The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) & British Film Institute (BFI Southbank)/Arts Council of England (NW)
Flat Earth is a desktop documentary, which takes the viewer on a seven minute trip around the world so that we encounter a series of fragments taken from real peoples' blogs. These fragments are knitted together to form a kind of story or singular narrative. The visual effect is not unlike that of Google Earth, although significantly here, nearly all of the visual material for, Flat Earth is taken from satellite imagery freely available on the web. This is with the exception of the close-up imagery from outside USA, which had to be paid for non-commercial use and a series of images taken from Flickr under Creative Commons attribution license.
16th & 17th March 2007, University of Lancashire. http://www.uclan.ac.uk/host/da2/conference/speakers.htm Friday 16th March 2007, Greenbank Lecture Theatre, University of Central Lancashire This session is available to view online from 10am on Friday March 16th and can be seen directly through Windows Media Player using this link: http://dolphins.uclan.ac.uk:8080/asxgen/wmtencoder/laptop.wmv 9:30-10:00 tea and registration 10:00-10:15 Welcome and Introduction - Dr Chris Meigh-Andrews 10:15-11:45 Session 1 * Prof. Sean Cubitt, (Australia), Director of Media and Communications Program, Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne, Light and Colour in the Digital Domain * Jon Thomson, (UK), Slade School of Art, University College London & Alison Craighead (UK), CARTE, University of Westminster, Sculpting Real Time * Clive Gillman, (UK), Director of Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, Gallery as a Digital Hub 11:45-12:00 tea break 12:00-13:30 Session 2 * Gary Hill (USA) Artist * Dr Charlie Gere (UK), Reader in New Media Research at the Institute for Cultural Research, Lancaster University, "Hoc Est Enim Corpus Meum": Stelarc's Mystical Body * Dr Andrea Zapp,(Germany/UK), Senior Lecturer and MA Route Leader Media Arts, Faculty of art and Design, Manchester Metropolitan University, The Real and the Imaginary: Interactive Narratives in Online Media Art Installations 13:30-14:30 lunch 14:30-16:00 Session 3 * Prof. David Garcia, (Netherlands), Professor of Design for Digital Cultures, University of Portsmouth, UK and Hoogschool voor de Kunst Utrecht, Knowledge, Networks, Freedom * Prof. Bill Seaman, (USA), Department Head of Digital + Media Department, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island, The Thoughtbody Environment. Toward the Science of the Neo-sentient * Prof. Paul Sermon, (UK), Professor of Creative Technology, University of Salford, Puppeteers, Performance or Avatars- A perceptual difference in telematic space. 16:00-16:15 tea and coffee 16:15-17:00 Plenary Chaired by Prof. Jane Prophet 17:30 Private View: PR1 Gallery, UCLan 17:30 Private View: Preston Minster, Vince Briffa 17:30 Private View: PAD Gallery, Preston 18:30 Private view - Harris Museum. 19:30 Private view - Harris Museum. Live performance by Steina Saturday 17th March 2007, Mitchell & Kenyon Cinema, Foster Building, University of Central Lancashire 9:30-10:00 tea and registration 10:00-12:00 Session 1 * Robert Cahen, (France) Artist, Recent Digital Works * Peter Appleton (UK) Artist and Reader In Creative Technology, ICDC: (International Centre for Digital Content), Liverpool John Moores University. 'The Hope St project' * Taylor Nuttall, (UK) Chief Executive of folly, Virtual relationships, individual identity and cultural growth 12:00 – 13:00 lunch 13:00-14:30 Session 2 * Steina and Woody Vasulka (Iceland, Czech Republic/USA), Artists, Recent Digital Video Work * Matt Adams (Blast Theory, UK): Day Of The Figurines: art, games and SMS * Avi Rosen (Israel), Artist, The Ultimate Cathedral 14:30-14:45 tea and coffee 14:45-15:45 Session 3 * Lori Zippay (USA), Director of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) in New York. From Open Source to Limited Edition: The Variable Ecology of Media Art * David Surman, (UK) Senior Lecturer in Computer Games Design, Newport School of Art, Media and Design. Pagentry and Play in Digital Art 15:45-16:30 plenary Chaired by Pr
Using a live feed from the web, "Decorative Newsfeeds" presents up to the minute headline news from around the world as a series of pleasant animations, allowing visitors to Sainsburys and passers by in Forest Hill to keep informed while enjoying a kind of readymade sculpture or an automatic drawing. Brilliant coloured text in amber, blue and green spin and curve rhythmically along three predetermined LED tracks that unfurl in endless and ever-changing combinations. The form these animations take are according to a simple set of rules and instructions defined by the artists, while the overall feel of the work will be two fold. On passing the screen from a distance, viewers will be more aware of a gentle shifting animation, where as closer inspection reveals the pathos and interplay apparent in the intersecting headline news.
Exploring emerging artistic responses to a world enveloped by the information networks, in Network Art an international group of leading theorists and artists investigate how the Internet, in the form of websites, mailing lists, installations and performance, has been used by artists to develop artwork which reflects upon the pervasive effects of a technology that has profoundly reordered our social, economic and cultural institutions. Covering a period from the mid 1990s to the present day, this fascinating text includes key texts by historians and theorists such as Charlie Gere, Josephine Bosma, Tilman Buarmgartel and Sarah Cook, alongside descriptions of important projects by Thomson and Craighead, Lisa Jevbratt and 0100101110101101.org among many others. Fully illustrated throughout, and including many pictures of artworks never before seen in print, Network Art represents one of the first substantial attempts to place major artist's writings on network art alongside those of critics, curators and historians. In doing so it takes a unique approach, offering the first comprehensive attempt to understand network art practice, rooted in concrete descriptions of the systems and the process required to create it.
Light from Tomorrow centres on an expedition to The Kingdom of Tonga, where tomorrow’s outdoor light-readings are broadcast in close to real time through The International Dateline to today; specifically to a lightbox installed in the San Jose Museum of Art in California as part of the group exhibition Edge Conditions. The lightbox in San Jose responds to fluctuations and broader changes in outdoor light conditions in Nuku'alofa offering a tangible connection to the future, a window quite literally onto tomorrow. We think of the gallery component of this artwork as a romantic landscape, which is both minimal and monumental; a space for contemplation, a poetic void and an experiment in time travel. The lightfromtomorrow.com website documents the expedition and exhibition, while forming the basis for a lecture given at The National Maritime Museum, which lies on the meridian in Greenwich, London. It is part of a body of work we are making that explores our relationship with simultaneous global communcications systems and time; a series of artworks that sculpt with time in real time.
This article examines a number of recent Internet- and network-based audio pieces with a focus on their compositional underpinnings, and the effect of the Internet and networks on the creative process. The process is discussed in excerpts from online interviews with the creators, and the technical and aesthetic goals of the pieces are described. The article concludes with a discussion of the author’s own recent experience composing groundloops: for solo percussion and internet—as well as an attempt to find areas of intersection and differentiation among the approaches discussed. Keywords: Network Music; Internet Composition; Interactive Computer Music; Collective Composition; Web-based Music
A monographic survey of work by Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead spanning 1997 - 2005 with contextual essays by Michael Archer and Julian Stallabrass. Published by Film & Video Umbrella London.
A case study description of two new media artworks made by artists Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead and funded by Arts Council England.
3 April 2004
All versions of, Decorative Newsfeeds use a live feed from the web to present up to the minute headline news from around the world as a series of pleasant animations, allowing viewers to keep informed while contemplating a kind of readymade sculpture or perhaps an automatic drawing. The gallery version of Decorative Newsfeeds is projected onto both sides of a suspended screen so that the 'front' and 'back' of each trajectory can be viewed by a circling audience. It can also be shown on a screen or as a single projection. What is most important about the work in all its forms is that executes itself according to a set of instructions. In essense it could be argued that the work itself is just a set of instructions.
In Unprepared Piano, a Yamaha disklavier grand piano is connected to a database of music MIDI files appropriated and compiled from all over the web. This library of electronic scores is then “performed” automatically according to a simple set of rules.The musical scores found online contain a wide variety of instrumentations and are not generally intended simply for piano, so our Unprepared Piano is told to perform each piece from beginning to end by randomly picking and choosing from its different parts. This means it might play bits of drum parts and percussion alongside chords and melodies intended for the other instruments. The result is a transformation, where traces of the original remain, but form part of a new generative piece of music that could be thought of as an automatic random improvisation. The piano performs and reinterprets each score every time it is played, and although there is no person playing the piano itself, it retains a kind of innate authority because we recognise it as a complex and traditional instrument built and perfected over hundreds of years for the virtuoso. The title of the work also refers to the idea of, 'Prepared Pianos' developed for the most part by the artist John Cage, and although software is used in this case to alter the scores, rather than objects being used to alter the timbre of the instrument, we like to think of these rules or instructions contained in the software as a bit like John Cage's preparations in his prepared pianos.
In Weather Gauge, numerical weather data from over 150 countries is simultaneously represented in a gallery forming an array of hypnotic animated data referencing a huge global spread of live information. Each piece of weather data rotates between centigrade, Fahrenheit, local-time and city of origin, so when presented in a large array, the whole field of information rhythmically evolves, offering viewers an unusual extended sense of context beyond the physical location of the work.
Short Films about Flying is a networked installation by Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead in which an open edition of unique cinematic works are automatically generated in the gallery, and in real-time from existing live data found on the world-wide web. Each ‘movie’ (replete with opening titles and end credits) combines a live video feed from Logan Airport in Boston with randomly loaded net radio sourced from elsewhere in the world. As this relatively good quality video stream is taken from an existing commercial website where its visitors are able to remote control the camera, each ‘movie’ is ‘shot’ and ‘paced’ by its own (albeit unsuspecting) camera person. Additionally, text grabbed from a variety of on-line message boards is periodically inserted, appearing like cinematic inter-titles when viewed in combination with all the other components. The result is a coherent yet evocative combination of elements that produce an endlessly mutating edition of low-tech mini-movies that we call, Template Cinema. Short films about Flying now only exists as a simulated archive because the resources it uses have now expired online. However we have developed a sequel called Short Films about Nothing, which you can find out about here
Paper entitled 'Location, location, location' given at conference, Writ Large, Royal College of Art, London
A single large scale projection of a daytime drive through the main Strip in Las Vegas provides the basis for this simple user-led work. Over the course of what appears to be a high speed drive downtown, user/viewers are able to variously soundtrack this 'movie' in which a camera was placed on the front of a large white Buick that fleetingly recorded the passing casinos, rollercoasters and re-creations of world landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Manhatten skyline or an Egyptian Pyramid. Part road movie and part 3D driving game, gallery visitors are able to use headphones to plug into a grid of 32 jack sockets built into the monolithic plinth placed squarely infront of the projection. Each socket is a gateway to a possible soundtrack for these pictures -soundtracks that are exclusively derived from existing internet radio broadcasts such as, 'Classic Country Music','Asian Vibrations','Bible Verses of Hope with Piano Music' or 'SF Bay Area Smooth Jazz.'
dot-store is the work of artists, Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead, and is an attempt to utilise an e-shop environment as a context within which a series of artworks can be delivered both on and offline. From Autumn 2002 until Autumn 2005, dot-store produced and sold a range of low cost "vintage" products that self-consciously reference both the history of the world wide web and the popular explosion of mobile communications in the 1990's. For its launch on September 18th 2002, dot-store products included tea towels, temporary tattoos, lenticular badges, mobile phone ringtones, operator logos and a sound effects audio CD. In addition to running the on-line shop, the artists also presented these premature relics in institutional contexts either as stallholders at artfairs, or as installations in galleries –the latter being not unlike past installations of the Canadian artist group General Idea (for example.) dot-store is particularly interested in drawing attention to the blurring of public & private spaces online, and the increasing overlap between personal narratives & corporate interest. This blurring particularly manifests itself in the Homepage Culture and structures like the Amazon Associates Scheme, where personal testimony becomes mixed with endless advertisements, or the memorial site of a loved one becomes the mechanism by which goods are sold. dot-store, as with other work by Thomson & Craighead, makes reference to how technology changes the way we perceive the world around us.
This publication documents The Third Baltic International Seminar in Curating New Media, where artists and curators spent two days exploring the implications of emerging communications technologies in contemporary art. Further information can be found at: http://www.newmedia.sunderland.ac.uk/balticseminar/
A beautifully crafted set of four tea towels sporting a series of authentic search engine results returned to a user when the criteria, 'Please Help Me', 'Is Anybody there?', 'Please listen to me' and, 'Can you hear me?' were entered into the search field, while using Google in Netscape 4.7 on Mac OS 9.2 or Netscape 6 on Windows 98.
A specially commissioned gallery installation for, Art & money Online held at Tate, Britain in March 2001 and curated by Julian Stallabrass -based on our webwork http://www.cnnextra.net. In CNN Interactive just got more interactive artists Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead allow visitors to add a variety of soundtracks to the monolithic CNN Interactive website in an attempt to further mediate a moment of infotainment -to bring a cinematic conceit to this ever changing global news feed. Using the fluidity of the internet to augment what is already such a dizzying hub of information transfer, the artists have decided to pipe this twenty four hour internet service into the gallery via a touchscreen console and Data projection. As such, the economy of the news is blurred ever more towards venerability and entertainment -forcing us to question ways in which we all distinguish between Fact and Fiction.
e-poltergeist (2001/2012) is an online art work made entirely out of automated actions that intervene and interfere with normal browsing activity. As the disruptive 'poltergeist' spawns unwanted windows onto the user's desktop, live search data begins to form into a series of messages that appear to be directly addressing the computer user -a lost voice perhaps, caught in the ether.
11 May 2001
a regular column about artists use of the internet
a regular column about artists use of the internet
a regular column about artists use of the internet
a regular column about artists use of the internet
a regular column about artists use of the internet
a regular column about artists use of the internet
a regular column about artists use of the internet
a regular column about artists use of the internet
Telephony allows gallery visitors to dial into a wall based grid of 42 Siemens mobile telephones, which in turn begin to call each other and create a piece of 'music.' Each phone has been individually programmed with a different ringtone, which played en-masse, create various harmonic layers all of which are based in some way on the popular and prevalent, NokiaTune. The more people who dial into the work (whether inside or beyond the gallery walls) the more complex and layered the audio becomes. A piece of anodyne 'elevator' musac also plays into the space as a kind of background layer, and is also an improvisation on Nokiatune.
a regular column about artists use of the internet
a regular column about artists use of the internet
a regular column about artists use of the internet
A regular column about artists use of the internet and new media
a regular column about artists use of the internet
A regular column about artists use of the internet and new media
A regular column about artists use of the internet and new media
A regular column about new media art and artists use of the internet -see whole transcript here: http://www.thomson-craighead.net/docs/anthro.html
Triggerhappy is a modified computer game whose format will be familiar to anyone who has encountered that early arcade game, Space Invaders combining an absurd quest for information with an old-fashioned shoot-em-up computer game. In this, it accurately reflects, and comments upon, the electronic environment in which we live, work and play. "In effect", the artists say, "triggerhappy becomes a folly. A self-defeating environment looking at the relationship between hypertext, authorship and the individual." They cleverly recontextualise existing representations and subject them to active manipulation on the part of the viewer, who becomes an unwitting participant in a meaningless game of "info-war". -Michael Gibbs. 1998. / "[In Trigger Happy] ..It is crucial that [Thomson & Craighead] don"t merely combine the two visual elements - space invader iconography and theoretical text - without the more spiked combination of two purportedly antithetical modes of attention. They use the thrill of actually playing the game to complicate further the theoretical point being made as you try to kill the "death of the author" text before it gets you." -Dave Beech, Art Monthly July/August 1998. / "In the web environment, as in that of Trigger Happy, the reader"s focus on text seems constantly and thoroughly aborted, perpetually distracted by the prospect of more specialised, more scintillating, more apropos information. Thus, in the midst of this play on hits and clicks, Trigger Happy is gesturing towards the basis of a future information economy, where attention, precisely because of its scarcity, may become a central commodity." - Jamie King, IF/THEN Published by The Netherlands Design Institute
A review of three new projects on stadiumweb by Clem Paulsen, Kenneth Goldsmith and Maciej Wisnieski
Trooper is a short video work designed for display in a gallery, where a news report taken from a CNN webcast is both repeated and sped up systematically. In doing so, the authority of the seemingly factual and neutral newscast is eroded, de-constructed and ultimately exposed as a fictive conceit. In March 2004, Sarah Kent said, "Most compelling is Thomson & Craighead's Trooper. A snatch of American television news shows a traffic cop drag a woman from a car at gunpoint, shove her to the ground and handcuff her. 'The woman sustained bruises and scratches and pleaded guilty to speeding', says the commentator. With each repeat, the clip is speeded up until the voices squeak like Donald Duck; reality strays into the territory of cartoons and cowboy films."
A review of wendy mcmurdo's solo exhibition at site gallery in sheffiel
'Thalamus' is a simple user led environment designed for DATA projection into a gallery space where the user navigates the work with a mouse or slider set on a plinth placed squarely infront of the projection. The piece uses a metronome scale as a tuning device allowing anyone using it to unfold a past life regression experienced by a man under hypnosis. The 'past life' is a documented narrative transplanted from the subject's mind by recording the session to digital or electronic (cyber)space and as such draws a parallel between the unearthing of buried information in the brain with some ideas of information/data retrieval in electronic space.
A presentation of recent work in a public lecture at Chelsea College of Art London
A public lecture of recent work
A presentation of recent work at the National Maritime Museum
A presentation of recent work
Digital Utopias was a one-day conference which inspired and sparked debate about how new technologies are enabling creativity across the arts. The conference captured topical and diverse approaches to curation, archiving, collecting and creating from a range of art forms, from the visual arts to theatre. - See more at: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/jobs-and-conferences/conferences/digital-utopias/#sthash.yzZwFs6s.dpuf
An artists presentation of recent work
A presentation of recent work made using non-traditional art contexts (the internet, public art, mail art etc)
A special commission for the relaunch of the Arts Council England website in August 2009. The following extract is from the text by Sarah Cook written for Arts Council website: "Wikianswers says that the average respiration rate for a person at rest is about 16 breaths per minute, so if a person lives to the age of 80, they will take approximately 600 million breaths in their lifetime. Do you feel any different for knowing this piece of information? It could be said that trying to measure or quantify something about the natural world – say the number of stars in the night sky – can turn it from art to science, from the mysterious to the mundane. We breathe from the moment we are born to the moment we die, but unlike the incremental accounting of birthdays or accomplishments – creative, familial, political, financial – breathing is not something we think of measuring, often not something we even notice. Thought about this way, holding your breath becomes a hiatus in living. Several_Interruptions, which collages together online videos in which people are seen holding their breath underwater, is both interruption (as its name suggests) as well as documentary, in which the seemingly mundane and numerous has been made back into something unique and original. Thomson & Craighead have personally chosen, from some 61,000 possible files on YouTube, videos which they have edited together into brief vignettes which interrupt each other sequentially (in time) and laterally (on-screen). Through the artists’ mediation, these amateur videos have been transformed into professional pocket-sized triptychs which make reference to the large-scale, three-screen projection installations of internationally-known video artists. Their chosen formal constraints (the sound-editing or the way the videos have been scraped from YouTube into another window) cleverly allow the viewer to lose themselves in the footage and engage in plenty of wide-ranging, open-ended symbolism brought out through the found imagery, from baptism to water boarding. Like most of Thomson & Craighead’s online work, Several_Interruptions has been created using appropriation – employing the process of collage to manipulate existing web-based material. Like their 'Short Films' documentary series, this piece seeks to consider, aesthetically and politically, how information is mediated via the internet, and how users’ behaviours are engendered by online social networks. What we learn here is first of all that YouTube facilitates competitive posting between its users (each trying to outdo the other with their video responses), and second, that most underwater entrants last between two and four agonizing minutes, taking some 40 or 50 breaths off their 600 million account.
A presentation of work by Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead in conversation with Francis Marshall (Curator at Museum of London)
Recent work presented at Museum of modern art in San Francisco
A presentation of recent work utilising recycled media