Artist duo Juneau Projects have completed their artist residency at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio with a showcase revealing drawings created in collaboration with a robot. The pair worked with robotics specialist Ad Spiers to question how technology can inform artistic practice rather than simply serving as a tool in the process. The result is a bespoke drawing robot that affects aesthetic decisions in the creation of artworks. The robotic drawing arm will feature in Juneau Projects’ forthcoming exhibition at Ceri Hand Gallery 22 February – 23 March 2013, alongside images that the arm will produce live on a daily basis within the gallery.
Ben Sadler and Phil Duckworth from Juneau Projects, say, “Our residency at Watershed was an exceptional opportunity to explore how technology can inform what we make, rather than being just a tool employed in the process. Meeting robotics specialist Ad Spiers at the Studio has enabled us to take our investigation much further than we had imagined. In just three months we have created a bespoke robot that translates drawings given to it and renders them as hand-drawn images. The robot has been programmed to control its own movement, resulting in a unique emergent drawing style. We are delighted with the results.”
Geiger-Müller Sound System is a new collaboration between writer, performer and composer Timothy X Atack and musician, sound artist and instrument designer MrUnderwood. The pair are working on a worldwide sound installation which is made from an ancient rotting harmonium as their first collaborative project. The artists plan to scatter encased reeds from the instrument through flea markets and junk stalls in the hope that they will find themselves around the globe. Each hand-made unit will have a code or name that the owner can then use online to find a secret community. Alone, the reeds will play a single note but together they will form chords, produce unexpected electronic noises, and ultimately, if every reed was brought together somehow, a choir would be formed that could live for a hundred years. The pair want to reward investigation and provide a source of intrigue for the people that stumble across them. In an age where everything is based on fast results, Geiger-Muller Sound System hope the joy of this project will live far longer than the originators themselves. From starting its life in Stuttgart in 1889, no-one would have predicted the old harmonium’s fate. The GMSS001 sound machines will be showcased at Watershed on Thursday 31 Jan, with a view to releasing them into the wild later this year.
Tim Atack, from Geiger-Müller Sound System, says, “We wanted to make something big, ambitious, possibly even a little bit dangerous during our residency at Watershed and decided to create an artwork that we’d scatter to the wind, that in its very design would outlive us both. The world is full of so many things – technologies, consumables, government policies – that are designed for immediate gratification. This work will be made to last for as long as possible… and the artists who thought it up will, hopefully, never know what happens to it in the end.”
The Pervasive Media Studio artist residencies programme offers artists the rare opportunity to experiment with new technologies within the arts, creating a safe space to take risks. The artists are able to develop new cultural experiences; pushing the boundary of current artistic, market and audience expectations.
Clare Reddington, Director of Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed, says, “Watershed’s Studio Residencies offer artists the vital opportunity to research experimental ideas in collaboration with creative technologists. We were delighted to support Juneau Projects and Geiger-Müller Sound System at Pervasive Media Studio, and look forward to seeing their extraordinary artworks delight future audiences.”
Watershed’s Studio Residencies is a development programme that enables artists to explore cutting edge ideas at the juncture of art, culture and new technologies. Residencies are hosted at Watershed’s internationally renowned Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol and last for three to four months. During that time, artists receive research, development and production support for their projects. Studio Residencies are supported by Arts Council England.