My Digital Artist Residency at QUAD - by Ashley James Brown

29 April 2016

Starting a new artist residency is always exciting as you know that there is time ahead to explore new themes, ideas and ways of interacting with your audience. QUAD is a very interesting space and has a diverse audience and I’m keen to try out participatory ideas, interventions and installations on different groups to see how they respond and interact. I'm going to be playing with lots of different digital technology to create playful exciting works that people can discover as they travel about the building, rather than usually being confined to the gallery space or existing exhibitor wall spaces. Overall I want to create work that engages and encourages exploration and interaction through playfulness and ultimately create conversations around the building and the work that it presents.

Day One:

On the first day I took up residence in the Cafe Bar. This presented a perfect opportunity to create in a public space and to converse with the audience during the process. I'm not usually found locked up in an artists space as such and so this very public non gallery space was a great start.

I wanted to create a series of quick prototyped installation ideas, some of which would be workshops for young people also later on in the residency, and to put them about the cafe bar and foyer to see how the public interacted with them. I chose to use light, sound and movement as three key ways of presenting digital art but made sure that it wasn’t pushed in peoples faces. Throughout the day I managed to inspire a young man to go off and gather a bunch of LEDs to try inside a spinning drinks can and several of the photography exhibition attendees were very interested in the light work. The obvious fun piece for me was to put a playful glitch analog sound sequencer device right at the heart of the busy spot to see how offensive / enjoyable it was for the public. There was a really interested mixed response from staff, general public and exhibition attendees.  I think having technology being used creatively in a public environment is a really interesting approach and QUAD is a prefect space for this to happen and to be accepted by a public audience.

I left a sonic installation on the front desk entitled ‘cutlery piano’ as a homage to my time in the cafe bar. This was a quick build using an Ototo synth board with three pieces of cutlery wired up as the inputs - as you touch each piece of the cutlery it creates a musical note, the adventurous could play all three to create a melody. It will be interesting to find out how people have responded.

I really came away from the first day full of further ideas to try out and I’m excited to see where the residency takes me.

Ashley James Brown is an internationally respected artist & developer based in Coventry. Find out more about his work at http://ashleyjamesbrown.com/


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