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Leaving a trail of pixels

…or why having artists take the lead in cultural organisations is vital.

In 2006, I launched the new digital media department for South Hill Park Arts Centre in Berkshire. Starting from an empty room, I set up the first desks, became admin for a small network of Macs, designed the programme and recruited the most talented artists I could find to deliver it.

2008: Recruited from the internet, creator of the most viewed circuit-bending videos on YouTube comes to lead our first electronic toy hacking weekend
2008: Recruited from the internet, creator of the most viewed circuit-bending videos on YouTube comes to lead our first electronic toy hacking weekend

After 8 years of developing the programme, bringing artists and innovative producers to the venue, creating projects, conferences, festivals and partnerships to reach out to new audiences, I left with a great archive of photos, videos and audio as a document, and a tonne of valuable experiences.

For the most part, venue staff were bemused by the early days of their digital arts department. Marketing staff were reserved about assisting with promotion because they “didn’t know anything about this digital stuff“.  Arts funding bodies could see something interesting was going on, but didn’t have the vocabulary to assess what the activity was delivering. Film funding organisations, bound by their own bureaucracy refused to help, as the moving image work was led by “artists” not “film makers“.

These days, the funding organisations have  largely caught up, and are readily supporting culture organisations who are leading innovation in digital.

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antwerpvideo_ibeacon

Subject: Digital Snippet#2

Here’s the last month of factoids to get us up to date.
I’ve copied and pasted these pretty much as is from the original emails, so some of the language might not make sense as it refers to conversations prior to the actual emailed information.

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Digital Snippet#8: iBeacon

iBeacons are small plastic devices that transmit unique location information via Bluetooth. The new 7.1 update to Apple’s iOS mobile operating system bundles in functionality to support their new iBeacon hardware. Install an iBeacon behind an artwork, shop display, signage and it can activate contextual information to be displayed on the screen of iBeacon-aware applications.

Invention, disruption and pranksterism, ahoy!

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