About Me

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Manchester, United Kingdom
BA(Hons)Interactive Arts Student. Manchester Metropolitan University.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Macro World

Ever since starting the food project, I have been taking photographs of food, so that I could look at it in different ways and a big part of this was getting as close as possible – using Macro Photography.

I find it fantastic, just how different things look when you get up close. I expanded this idea to anything that I found around me in my everyday environment (I purposely haven’t ventured very far). There is so much around is in our everyday lives that we just don’t really look at. If you not only look at things but get very close it’s like being in a whole new world.

I also started to introduce new elements to my pictures, by cropping them so that you were very focused on a particular area of the subject and also using a negative filter which has produced some great results.

Monday, 30 November 2009

The First Essay

Part 1: 1000 words on a picture or picture of an object.

My selected picture is of the statue of Eric Morecambe situated in the seaside resort of Morecambe.

Image taken from : www.visitnorthwest.com/morecambe/map.htm

It has taken me some considerable time to generate just under 1000 words for this essay so far (as I am sure there is still some editing to do), carrying out research across web sites that refer to the statue and where it is sited; and also reading relevant material. For the most part I have been using the book "Practices of Looking" by Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright, which has provide me with some fantastic material regarding how and why we view things the way that we do.

Part 2: Seven further images that when displayed with the original, form a visual narrative, plus a further 500 words explaining the selection and any link they have.

I have selected my images as follows:

The statue of Liberty; Nelsons Column; A Greek Statue of a Discuss thrower; The Angel of the North; Another Place; Another place - Lancashire Style (Using the Eric Morecambe Statue) and The Easter Island Statues.

The 500 words have yet to be written and the dead line is the 14/12/09.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

The Interactice Arts Project

This week I came up with an idea to utilize the ever growing popularity of social web sites, Facebook, Myspace and Bebo.

The introduction on the front page reads as follows:

This is only the begining?

The idea is to get artwork on-line and viewable to like minded people and to get feedback from people involved in the same world as you!

The aim is to get this group up and running on as many social sites as possible to reach the widest audience possible and make it a piece of Interactive Art in its own right.
The link is:
We have 38 members so far (after only a couple of days), and I hope it keeps on growing and growing and we get some great art work on there.

The Food Project Continues

After tryibg to generate new ideas for my food project, I've found myslef re-visiting an idea I had while on foundation, "The Bean Sculpture"

Bean sculpture 2009

I have during my brainstorming session, wrote down investigating what food consisits of, how it is made, artificialy and in nature; its "building blocks" the molecules that make its very fabric.

My idea then turned to flipping this around and actually using food as building material.

My first approach was to take (a very kindly donated) action figure and completely cover it in types of beans.

I have taken the idea further now by looking at other food stuff commonly found in my kitchen.

at first I carried on with the idea of uniform shapes for building and spent some time working with cerials, covering things with them or building shapes. I then looked beyond this and thought about creating things that we use in daily life out of food.

"The bread mug "

Using two slices of bread that I flattened, I created the shape and painted with P.V.A, to harden and waterproof. I added stitch work to emulate the leather tankards that may have been used by our ancestors.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Museum of Science and Industry - Da Vinci Project

From the 14/11/09 there is is going to be an exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry - "Davinci - The Genius"

As part of this (for the opening night), we have been asked to come up with - "The invention that Leanardo Da Vinci never got around to".

This is to be presented in A4 format and can be in any style (in the style of Da Vinci if desired), this will be converted into a digital image and all those submitted will be shown at the opening of the exhibition and  possibly for longer.

Friday, 23 October 2009


A great opportunity has come our way in Interactive arts.

There is a competition being run by the BBC, who is looking for new ideas for their CBEEBIES channel. The competition involves coming up with new ideas for the Web page, T.V channel and Radio programme, connected to CBEEBIES and is aimed at the 4-6 years of age group of children.

All those interested in taking part met with John Bidulph on Thursday 22/10/09 and he gave us the brief as outlined to him during his meeting at the BBC.

We were asked to take a good look at the CBEEBIES web site, its layout, appeal to the age group in question, the ease of navigation etc and compare this to sites of competitors.

Our ideas could involve images, sounds, layouts, concepts for new T.V programmes etc.

****These have to ne new ideas and not a re-vamp***

On the 24th of November there will be meeting with script writers, directors etc to speed pitch any ideas.

The final submission date is 11/12/09 and the competition will be judged in January.

In preperation for this I decided to carry out some research involving the ideal audience.

I have a four year old son attending a school close to where I live and I approached his teacher to as if she would be willing to ask the class a few questions connected to this project. The answer was a very happy yes and the following day I gave her a list of questions:

1) What do you like to watch on T.V ? (Cartoons, shows with puppets, shows with people etc.)
2) Do you use a computer and go on the internet? Which sites?
3) What games do you like play and what do you play with?
4) Can you draw a picture of a T.V character.

Well the answers are in and will be presented at the next meeting with John on Monday 26/10/09.


Based on the information I have gathered from my local school and the last 10 plus years watching my children, I have come with a concept for some new characters and basis for some new stories involving them.

No matter what they play with and watch on T.V the children always go back to the things they are most comfortable with and in my house (and many others I suspect), it is stuffed toys. Even the school send teddies home with the children so that they can have adventures together and make up stories etc, so this seemed like a great base to start from.

My youngest sons favourite thing is his "Blue Bear" and this is my starting point.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The 1st Solo Project - "Food"

Week begining 12/10/2009 and we have been given a brief for our first solo project..........well kind of.

Due to an evacuation of our campus and then being sent home after the building was closed down, the morning briefing was quite short, however we left knowing that the umberella theme for the project was "food" and we were asked to keep food diary, detailing everything that we ate and drank.

An afternoon of brainstorming prooved one thing........this could very well shoot of in any direction. It doesn't take very long at all to find yourself a long way from food itself and generating ideas around an action or a  process or an object associated in some way to it.

Where to begin??

Thursday 15/10/09

I found myself in the studio with very few resources apart from a pole of supermarket adverts and fast food leaflets that I had brought with me.

I had already put down a couple of ideas in my sketchbook, based on my earlier brainstorming. These were based around "building blocks" - food being mad eup of combinations of proteins; minerals, vitamins etc....the things that make them whar they are. I then started toying with the idea of food being made out of actual blocks and then using food to build things with.

I had no food with me that day but I did have the leaflets and quickly mad one into a  humanoid figure:

I took numerous photo's of the figure and created a small flick book from these, which then gave me the idea for a short film/ animation. I love animated films, anything from Aardman or Tim Burton but I also love the work of Jan Svankmajer (Dimensions of Dialogue etc) and the The Brothers Quay (Street of Crocodiles etc).

 I set about sketching a few ideas out and came up with a rough storey board and then I just had to wait until I could get the filming done.

Sunday 18/10/09
With a space cleared and a willng volunteer (my wife), I set up my camera (Fujifilm FinePix S5700 7.1 mp) in my kitchen and set about creating my first animated masterpiece (well kind of).

It took a little over 30 mins to film a total of 55 individual video segments,(this was due to every time I pressed pause it ended the video), not bad for the first ever attempt at an animation, but still alot of work to do as far as editing and the the auto focus on my camera has caused more than few issues, but  as they say....you live and learn.

The next stage was to splice all the segments together, digitaly that is and the only software I had available was what came installed on my laptop. That being said it was great fun playing around and splitting filmed segments into multiple frames and then deleting the unwanted bits. The audio element of this project was a completely diffrent story, I would have to go and ask around about this and learn a few things about exceptable sound file formats so that I could import what I needed.

Saturday 31/10/09

After sketching and experimenting with photographs on this project I thought I'd have a go at some computer graphics and so turned to "Google sketch up" to see what ideas I could generate. I based this work around a sketch I had already done under the title of  "Dangerous Fruit". The idea was to take a normal fruit , in this case an orange and add an contrasting element and something metalic and sharp came to mind. After all we use things that are metalic and sharp to eat our food, why not play around with a bit of morphing!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

A "Sweded" Film

A new week and a new project. Once again we were in a group but this time we picked the members ourselves and there were no second years on hand to give us the benefit of their experience.

The group was restricted in size to a max' of six people and each group was randomly given a film title, our title....."Independence Day" Our project? To make a Sweded version of the film, just like in the film "Be Kind Rewind" - writer/director Michel Gondry - 2008

I think we were given a great film that gave us wide scope to experiment and have some fun.

We were all very familiar with the film and sat down to discuss the main scenes that we wanted to include in our cut down version, (2 min's is not that long), we had to careful with our scene choice so that would enabled the viewer to follow the story and still enjoy the "juicy" bits.

Story Board

We put together a story board with quick sketches of the scenes to be filmed and decided on a list of props, costumes and backdrops that we needed to get together before filming. Each member of the group assigned themselves to bring in most of things we needed. The budget required for outstanding items was vast.........about a £1 each and that got us a poster, a bag of sand and some fizzy sherbet flying saucers and we were ready to film.

The backdrop for the city scenes

And thanks to the help of Hazel,. Nick and the guys on the building site, we managed to get the scenes of destruction filmed (safely) and complete the film before the deadline.

Unfortunately there was some loss of quality during the upload, but I think the end result is still great and very funny.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Interactive Party

The first project of the first year studying Interactive Arts.

This was a group project and involved both first and second year students. The idea was to set up a party themed on a given artist and in our case it was "Heath Robinson" (1872-1944)

The first step was to do some research, as either due to lack of exposure or just first year ignorence we didn't have a clue about his work............but that quickly changed. A quick dash, (well kind of), to the drop in room and then the library and we were slightly more informed and had a direction to head in, but only a day of studio time to get there.

We discovered that Heath Robinson had produced a great deal of work predominantly in the form of cartoons and illustrations and was/is recognized mostly for his fantastic pictures of overly complecated inventions.

The "Heath Robinson" Party

We had lost several members of our group along the way, but thanks to the hard work of all involved and a big thanks to Liz for all the props (and cakes...mmmm!), we did it.

There was a slide show; a gramaphone playing music from the period (thanks Jay); a great selection of hats and oh have I mentioned the cakes?

Thanks all.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Summer Project 2 - Game for 6 (Sept 2009)

The main summer project that I had to tackle was the invention of a game for 6 people to play.

To start with you have to know what is classed as a game:

A game is a structured activity, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool. Games are distinct from work, which is usually carried out for remuneration, and from art, which is more concerned with the expression of ideas. However, the distinction is not clear-cut, and many games are also considered to be work (such as professional players of spectator sports/games) or art (such as jigsaw puzzles or games involving an artistic layout such as Mahjong solitaire).

Key components of games are goals, rules, challenge, and interaction. Games generally involve mental or physical stimulation, and often both. Many games help develop practical skills, serve as a form of exercise, or otherwise perform an educational, simulational or psychological role. According to Chris Crawford, the requirement for player interaction puts activities such as jigsaw puzzles and solitaire "games" into the category of puzzles rather than games

Definition taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game

Now there are more games than you can imagine and some date back thousande of years, so rather than sit down and try and invent a masterpiece that I thought could be on the shelves by christmas, I thought I'd look at an idea that could be useful in the environment I was going into at University and also be fun.

I wanted to come up with something that allowed you to produce sculptures, using things that were at hand in the studio and to do so as quickly as possible. I decided upon using paper as the base for all the structures and the throw of a dice would then tell the players what to do with it.

The image above shows the three game dice used to decide the paper to be used and what action the player needs to carry out.


I have since thought of developing this idea further. Not to make the game itself different but to actually use it to create art work by involving groups of people.

My idea is to present this to a large gathering, maybe a class of school children, Uni' students etc.
( A few different age groups would be interesting to see how varied the results would be). They would be split down into groups of six as with the original game idea and play the game repeatedly, producing multiple 3d objects. All the resulting objects could then be combined and displayed as one large sculpture, (per group).

The entire process could be recorded on video/ photographed and this could be used as a part of an exhibition when/if all the larger sculptures are brought together.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Summer Project 1 - Wish You Were Here? (Sept 2009)

We were given two projects to carry out during the summer holidays, the first being to produce a post card.
The guide lines given stated that the card could be essence of : An encounter, Ajourney, A secret, A place...etc.

We were asked to be inventive and allowed to interpret the term "card" as broadly as possible.

I chose to send a photograph taken in my own back garden. This was by no means becouse I thought this was the easy option. Photography is something I have a bit of a history with, but for whatever reasons I seem to have somewhat abandoned in recent years as a way of expressing myself and I want to change that.

This project was a great opportunity to get back on track.

I didn't embellish to much at ths point, I added one sentance on the back of the postcard:

"A council estate in Stockport"

I suppose I wanted to make a bit of a statement, maybe even a slightly political one? I am after from a council estate in Stockport and have infact spent most of my life living on one or another. The photograph combined with this statement were a way of challenging the preconceptions that many people have of a council estate, due to media coverage or lack of knowledge.