Touch/ing Trouble

As part of my research I have been undertaking some lab work with transgenic fish, in order to think through questions on the ‘transience of matter’ (Barad 2012) and the imbrication of biological and computational logics. As Karen Barad (2012) might ask when the genes of transgenic fish mutate, "when they intra-act with another, when they touch one another whom or what do they touch? and what other infinite configurations of possible others, being and times have always already touched them?" To grapple with these questions I have been undertaking specific fieldwork with ‘Casper’ the transgenic fish, who was produced by the artificial transfer of rearranged genes into newly fertilized eggs.  Jane Prophet and I are also working on a series of papers that discuss what we refer to (after Barad) as Diffractive Art Practices - exploring inhabiting practice and difference in interdisciplinary art.

<the likes of brother cream cat> 2013 

As part of our visiting research at School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. Winnie Soon and I are currently working on <the likes of brother creamcat> an artwork that explores the network as a co-joined experience of humans and non human animals through the figure of a popular facebook cat ‘Brother Cream” (a cat that lives in a 24-hour convenience store with the shop owner in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong). In 2011 his fans created a facebook account, quickly he became “Facebook Famous” through “lots of likes” and since then he has received over 1000 visitor per day. The Catness, the animality, of Brother Cream permeates the network through the performativity of code and the dynamics of networked activity. The project makes this apparent using Facebook’s API to draw non-human animal (cattime) data from the database to generate mutated traces in real-time that will eventually post back to the fan's page. The project has been commissioned by Arnolfini Online. 

[The Recipe Exchange]

I was recently commissioned by public-funded contemporary art space Spacex to initiate a project as part of their off-site program, funded by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. Spacex is recognised by Arts Council England as one of the UK’s leading international contemporary art spaces. The resulting project was 'The Recipe Exchange' a collaborative code sharing know-how project which took place with Farringdon Village Residents during 2010/2011. The project features in the upcoming publication 'Gallery as Community'(Whitechapel Gallery) in association with Community Art: The Politics of Trespassing (Valiz).


During the project I collaborated with a number of local experts and hobbiests and we produced a series of 'recipes' for a range of activities from plant cloning to making you own solar panels. The recipes were collected by a postbox system in the village and also online. Events took place January - May 2011 & was followed by an exhibition and events in the gallery at Spacex during May 2011.  We are currently working on some new writing about the project and some documentation - which I hope to share with you soon!!

We just installed  'If I wrote a love letter would you write back? (and thousands of other questions) (2012) 一封不回的情書?千言萬語無人回?(2012)'. for MircoWave International Media Art Festival 2012  in collaboration with Winnie Soon(Siusoon)

In this work the network asks us ‘If I wrote you a love letter would you write back? (and thousands of other questions). Computational code draws thousands of questions from online matter into the gallery space. The questions are gathered in real-time from the social media site Twitter and converted encoded to speech. The computerized voice the audience hears is a collective one, one of both the human, non-human and distributed.

The installation is composed of 20 wireless headsets. 19 of them play offline tweets (which has been converted from text to computer voice) and the twentieth of them is playing live tweets.

These tweets are extracted from Twitter with the keyword search of ‘?’ symbol. Questions keep manipulating, loading, encoding and decoding. The live channel with the headset will use bluetooth technology to connect with computer live running programme, which constantly extracts tweets from Twitter server on-the-fly.

The audio stream frames (if only for a moment) the chaos of matter in the network as the activity of ‘query’ is performed across a collective of humans and non-humans.The sequence of questions is open to change by audience’s actions. As headphones are picked up and replaced, a new sequence of texts is created - blurring the space between the live and archived text, the linear and the chaotic.Like the love letters which appeared mysteriously on the noticeboards of Manchester University’s Computer Department in the 1950’s. These questions continuously evolve as the machine performs the questions (perhaps an expanded Turing test) on its listeners. 

[If I wrote you a love letter.....]

[Jsut Code]

News!! - We won the sliver award for interactive art Asia at the 17th IFVA

Our collaborative installation Jsut Code (Helen Pritchard & Winnie Soon) has been nominated for the Hong Kong Independent Film & Video awards and will be shown in March as part ofThe 17th ifva festival Opening Gala: Live Performance & Media Art Exhibition — Cinema 2.0: will also feature work from Jennifer & Kevin McCoy & Diane Landry alongside the other finalists, Ani Pui-hing, Diego Suárez Bárcena,Tam Kar-wing, Mak Yuen-shan,Henry Chu, Lam Miu-ling,Wong Yu-hin, Lam Chi-fai,Wong Fuk-kuen, and Choi Chi-hau.

Find out more about the exhibition here and more about the IFVA here

More News

Media Art, Mediation and Contemporary art (panel)

Precarious Times

Precarious Research Panel at Finale Symposium for British Art Show 7

[Connected Communities]

Paper: Ingredients of Social Exchange, Culture lab

September 2011

[Whose Data]

Talk: "Whose data?" Exploring the possibilities and issues of using live data, Knowle West Media Centre
July 2011

[Notating Sham Shui Po]

Co-research workshop exploring the relationship between listening, recording and drawing the city as a creative tool for artists and designers with students at SCAD, HK. January 2011

[Digital City Sketchbook]

Design for Location based learning project using RFID & Archeological GIS data. In partnership with Oxford Archeology & Inspire-us, LRGs. Highwire R & D January -March2011

[Smart Barrow]

Design for community based local agriculture scheme. Highwire R & D October - Dec 2011

Using Format