Category Archives: Real News

Marble Mystery

I’m very fortunate to have been selected to take part in a Digital Craft collaboration at Glyndŵr University in Wrexham. There are four of us: me, Peter, Wendy and Louise, and we’re using a bunch of free open-source software and the university’s 3D lab to come up with something to go some way towards investigating online collaboration with specific reference to the computer-aided design and manufacture of 3-dimensional craft works.

One of the interesting themes to have come out of the project so far is the creative misuse of technology. Or rather, the question of how we can force things to fail in interesting ways. There are lots of uninteresting ways in which something can fail – you can simply neglect to turn the machine on, for instance. But a better example is: when someone is teaching you how to do something, and they say ‘don’t do it like this, because it won’t work properly’ – I want to know why it won’t work, in what way will it not work, and what will happen if I try? So when we’re presented with a Faro 3D laser scanning arm, and we’re told that ‘it won’t work on glass or shiny surfaces’, well, my first instinct is to see what happens when I attempt to use it on some glass or a shiny surface.

The whole point of a Faro 3D laser scanning arm is to acquire spatial data in order to build up an accurate virtual replica of a solid object. It works by measuring reflections – obviously something close will reflect the laser faster than something far away, because the light doesn’t have to travel as far. So the reason glass ‘doesn’t work’ is that the normal emit-reflect-detect process is disrupted, and if the glass is fully transparent to the incident laser light, the scanner won’t realise there’s anything there at all. Which is pretty boring. But the cool stuff happens when the material in question is not just semi-transparent, but highly defective, such that the incident light is fragmented/scrambled and reflects in unpredictable and unrepeatable ways.

Here is a cat’s eye glass marble in the act of being laser-scanned:

Here is what the scanner thinks the marble looks like:

And here is what I think the scanner’s idea of what the marble looks like looks like:

Come along to our post-production session in Wrexham on Friday 14th December to find out what we end up doing, why we did it and what we thought of the whole process. Details on Datrys.co.uk.

Posted in In progress, Real News | 2 Comments

Helfa Gelf

As I write this, it is the 9th September, possibly the warmest weekend of the year so far, and almost a whole 4 months before Christmas, both Co-op and Tesco have decided that it’s a good idea to make Christmas chocolates available to the public in dedicated aisles. It won’t be long before supermarkets lap themselves, and the Christmas chocolates on sale in September 20xx are actually intended for Christmas 20xx+1. Eventually, when Christmas 2xxx’s chocolates go on sale during September 2xxx-n, where n is greater than the oldest living human, supermarkets will be forced to rethink their sales strategy.

Meanwhile, Helfa Gelf, the annual north Wales open studio event, is upon us. I will be opening my studio and inviting the public in to see what I do, why I do it and how, on the following dates:

15-16 September
22-23 September
29-30 September

Come along, see some stuff, hang out, maybe have a cup of tea, and find out why I never return your calls.
More info at helfagelf.co.uk

A Very Bad Thing (2012)

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Adain Avion

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve made a film, and it will be premièred inside an aeroplane this week. Welcome to Llandudno is a celebration of a unique and fascinating seaside town, its inhabitants and its visitors. It is also all about chance, about repeatability, but perhaps more importantly it’s an invitation to discover that there’s a whole lot of stuff happening all around us, even in the most seemingly uneventful situations.

Adain Avion is a mobile art space, social sculpture and travelling time capsule, appearing in Llandudno as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Catch it on the promenade outside Venue Cymru between Monday 9 July and Saturday 14 July.

Welcome to Llandudno will be shown on the following days:
Monday 9 July: 12.00-13.30
Tuesday 10 July: 14.30-16.00
Thursday 12 July: 15.30-16.30
Friday 13 July: 15.30-16.30

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Forthcoming Live Appearances

Two exciting live appearances to announce, both at Oriel Davies Gallery in Newtown, Powys as part of the Oriel Davies Open 2012.

Saturday 28th April 2012, 6.30pm
Bwyd Sonique
Live audio-culinary performance. Witness the creation of mouth-watering and olfactory-gland-tingling food and drink while discovering the hidden musicality of the kitchen – the insistent rhythm of stirring, the drones and hisses of heat-on-pan, the chatter and bubble of boiling water. Audiences will be nourished, entertained and enlightened, through a performance that can be seen, heard, smelled, touched and tasted.

Friday 22 & Saturday 23 June 2012, all day
Analogue Web Portal
Real Institute launches its ground-breaking web service with a special interactive performance.
Utilising a team of specially trained experts, two pencils, a large booth and some pointy arrows, we enable you to visit the now legendary INTERNET in Real Time via our specially developed Analogue Web Portal. Someday all internet access will be made this way.

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A Forthcoming Live Appearance

I’ll be premièring a new solo improvisation at the Sonic Science festival in Bangor, part of the National Science and Engineering week that encourages people to think about science and engineering a bit more than they currently do. What will I be improvising with? Come and see. Rest assured it involves science.

Sonic Science
Powis Hall, Bangor University

16 March 2011
Starts at 7:30 pm
Free Entry!

More info at Risk of Shock, curators and purveyors of quality musical entertainment.

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