QUAD Digital Participation Course 2015

As I write this blog post, the digital participation course that has set me on this fantastic digital journey is coming to an end. Although the structured workshops will be stopping, the support from QUAD will still be there as we continue to explore and develop our creative practice.

The course has been developed and was delivered by Derby QUAD in partnership with local and national arts and cultural organisations, such as FACT, First Movement, Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed and TATE Britain.

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On Monday the 16th we all took our work to London to the TATE Britain‘s digital studio to present at a show and tell event they hosted. This was an incredible opportunity and we had a fantastic day with the support of Luca and the teams from the Tate. I wanted to explore with them the possibilities when incorporating participation into the live digital drawing process of an artist. Instead of passively watching the artist work, the viewers are able to engage and direct the work and become a resource for the artist just as the artist becomes a tool to create with for the viewer.

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The aim of the course was to help artists develop their creative practice by learning about new technology and participation skills and how this can enhance their work. The key element here was not to change their practice to purely digital or to add bells and whistles for the hell of it, but to use technology in an informed way to move their work forward and to help viewers engage with their work in new ways.

My creative practice comes from traditional drawing/painting skills, using traditional and digital media to create artworks for print or web-based use. I wanted to explore more about getting these 2D images out into the world for people to interact with, not just look at.

I had always wanted to do workshops but lacked the confidence to give it a go. Well, through the course i was able to run my own workshops as well as support other artists through a range of different activities and this has then given me the confidence to now organise and run my own workshops.I have since created workshops that incorporated drawing and creating with 3d printing, ipad drawing, and photography.

Starting to do VJing or how to set-up live digital art events

I want to quickly show you one of my first live art events, how it was set up and how I engaged people in the content. When I do live art events, I want to incorporate participation into the events entertainment and have this effect the structure of my live art. It’s so much more interesting for me when i don’t know what images i’ll be working on at each event!

By live art I mean digital/traditional painting that is done infront of the audience instead of a pre-made recording or animation. I know the term VJing is used alot for big events with artists working live but i’m not sure I fall into this catgory yet. I probably do but for now I like the term live art as I think it suits it better.

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The event: 
For the  RoCH: Fans and Legends launch event at QUAD a couple of months back, I created a set-up where i created a backdrop and then asked the audience to take photos of themselves in dynamic poses and email these photos to me. I would then incorporate these photos into the scene infront of them, redesigning how they looked to fit the event theme of martial arts.

It was a fun session to do and there was a lot of participation, laughter and opportunity for the audience to come and talk to me as I worked.

The Set-up
The set up was very low tech, I had my laptop with photoshop, my wacom tablet, a projector and a screen to project onto. And a wifi connection as well, this is an important aspect as if I can’t get the photos people are sending me, I don’t have a resouce to work with. Kinda awkward…

One of the main things to bare in mind when you’re first looking into doing this, is the projectors lumen number. The higher this is, the better quality the image is going to be once projected and it also decides how powerful the projector will be. For the small scale set-up I had I didn’t have to be too picky, the projector just had to be good enough to see the details and colours and it was only projecting a short way so power wasn’t an issue either. If you want to project outside or onto a building, then you’ll need to look into higher powered projectors.

Instructables has a few great tutorials for outside projecting and its definately something i’ll be looking to do next year.

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You can see from the photos that the event was a success and it helped me to understand how people like to engage with this kind of artwork. It was fascinating for me to see others so interested in the various brushes setting and image editing tools, which for me have become somewhat boring due to using them so often. Seeing how people enjoyed watching the image develop reaffirmed to me that this way of doing live art is something I want to keep exploring.