As part of last week's μChip 3 event created by Antonio Roberts and Sam Wray, we had the opportunity to catch up with a few more of the performers and artists involved with the event. Gareth Roberts (GwEm) has been performing using an Atari ST for several years; Dan Hett (Bitrituals) is a creative programmer and live coder. We caught up with Gareth and Dan to talk about their work and the chiptune/livecoding scene in general.
After consulting with our eyes and ears on the ground all over the world—collectors from Los Angeles to Brussels, advisors and critics from Istanbul to São Paulo, and Artsy specialists from New York to Berlin—we’ve compiled a list of the top 15 artists we’ll be watching in the coming year.
Championing somewhat divergent trends—a return to figurative painting and focus on technical skill, versus the continued prevalence of digital art—the following list represents the artist’s we’ll be following in solo gallery exhibitions, museum shows, and, undoubtedly, across our Instagram feeds throughout 2015.
Black Tonic offers a glimpse into the lives of the invisible workforce whose erratic shift patterns service our round-the-clock society. The negative effects on health of a 24hour lifestyle - for those enjoying it, as well as those working to enable it - is only just starting to be reported in mainstream media. We worked closely with scientist Professor Debra Skene when developing the original production, and her research underpins the show’s plot, characters and situations.
Black Tonic’s protagonist is Lena, an eastern European hotel chambermaid who works a typically disruptive pattern of shifts to service the needs of hotel guests. It is these workers in the lowest-paid service jobs, who often lack influence, who fare the worst. Although people in more prestigious careers such as doctors work unsociable hours, their shift patterns are carefully managed to minimise negative effects to their health.
The excellent work of Professor Skene, and others like her, highlights the serious increased risks to health for those who work unsociable shifts long term, and challenges the assumptions that a 24 hour society is to be aspired to.
We think this is a little-discussed, but vitally important issue facing our society now, and hope that audiences of Black Tonic will be inspired to explore it further based on experiencing the show.
So last Friday I was in a GREAT mood and then I heard about the Battersea Arts Centre and it rather ruined it - BAC is an awesome venue, it supports some of my favourite artists, and if you can spare £10 for its renovation after the fire that would be ACE, thanks. And while you're feeling generous, you know, there's still time to SAVE IMPERICA, though not actually that long. I feel like Canute.
By way of exchange for your generosity, let me offer YOU - yes, YOU, noone else, only YOU - the finest selection of this week's 'hand-foraged' (picked up off the dark corners of the web's floor and basically nicked off other people who got there first), 'artisanal' (literally no idea in this context, sorry), 'eclectic' (incompetently arranged) and, occasionally, 'challenging' (bongo and death) snippets from the web. Let me be your Maitre D, webmongs, as you prepare to tuck into this week's splendidly tasty selection of WEB CURIOS! (NB - we do not care about your allergies)
The 1990s is ubiquitous in economic terms as Japan's Lost Decade. One of the products of this long and painful recession was a fear-based culture, where job security is scarce and employees would work beyond their means in return for security. A documentary focussing on employees living in Internet cafes won an award earlier this week.
µChip is an annual event which brings together chiptune music, hacking, digital art, hardware modding, and much more. For its third year, µChip3 comes to Birmingham and is created by Antonio Roberts (aka Hellocatfood) and Sam Wray (aka 2xAA). We caught up with Antonio and Sam in advance of the event taking place later this week.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has released the much anticipated Apple watch – his company’s first new product since the iPad. Cook said the new watch, in addition to telling the time, was a “comprehensive health and fitness companion”. But we’re unlikely to hear much about how people will actually use this new product for some time.
Our research has found that smartwatches certainly do have some benefits for users. But they also have a hidden, darker side which the companies selling them are unlikely to talk about.
In a week in which one of the UK's best-loved novelists (it seems a disservice to use the 'fantasy' prefix, frankly, for someone whose talent transcended genre-categories) died, we've also lost two of my favourite websites - both GigaOm and Holy Moly going to the great Wordpress platform in the sky due to people like YOU (and, er, me) expecting to get high-quality writing on the cheap (or, more accurately, for free). It seems ludicrous to segue from the sentence 'high quality writing' to suggesting you maybe consider chucking us a few quid, but I JUST WENT THERE, OH YES!
Ahem. Anyways, here we are once again, ready to spelunk deep into the damp innards of the web - get your ropes and carabiners ready, check the batteries on the head torch and wrap up warm, as it gets COLD AND DARK AND UNPLEASANT down there. As ever, I am your underqualified guide on this somewhat sulphorous expedition - this, webmongs, is WEB CURIOS!
It is hard to ignore the buzz around virtual reality and augmented reality recently; no doubt fuelled by Facebook’s headline-grabbing $2bn purchase of the makers of the Oculus Rift VR headset in July 2014.
It was a major signal of intent and none of the big players want to be left behind. Since then a number of new devices have been announced including Samsung’s Gear VR, HTC & Valve’s Vive, the Sony Morpheus and Microsoft’s Star Trek inspired HoloLens, not counting a slew of low-cost contraptions like Google’s ultra-low-tech Google Cardboard.