Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Blog

31 Jan

By

No Comments

Gillfoot No. 2 – test recording

January 31, 2013 | By | No Comments

Recording of test patch for Gillfoot No. 2 – a database video installation drawing upon 2 accounts of a recent mine collapse in Egremont, Cumbria. Each interview is split into 100+ clips which are called randomly and played back with realtime fx rendering using isadora. The final piece will be shown as part of a group exhibition in Florence Mine, Egremont.

30 Jan

By

No Comments

View From Here – test 01

January 30, 2013 | By | No Comments

Experiment I’ve been working on this week. Using a traditional manual titling system bought on Ebay and lettraset to create analogue equivalent to motion graphics typography. Filmed at Florence Mine, Egremont in Cumbria as part of a new work for the ‘Unearthed’ exhibition.

27 Jan

By

No Comments

Unearthed: an Exhibition of Digital Media Excavations

January 27, 2013 | By | No Comments

unearthed_slider

My residency at Florence Mine, Egremont comes comes to an end next week with a group exhibition alongside the Cumbrian artists I’ve been mentoring. Fingers crossed I get my works finished! Check out the fantastic flyer designed by William Daw. Press release below:

Exhibition Launch 5.30pm – 8pm Thursday 7th February

Open: 10.30am – 4.30pm daily from Friday 8th– Wednesday 13th September

Florence Mine, Egremont, Cumbria, CA22 2NR

“Unearthed” is an exciting exhibition of new digital artworks by Cumbrian artists. Developed as part of a residency at the mine with artist and ‘videosmith’, Sam Meech, the project is hosted by Signal Films and funded by Arts Council England to provide local artists, photographers and filmmakers new opportunities working in digital art.

The show features several impressive new moving image installations, including a time-lapse film exploring coastal erosion, a digitally painted animation of live sushi, and a hypnotic HD video installation of soil particles suspended in oil.

coastal_screenshot

Film of coastal erosion by Lynne Hallet

The residency took place from October 2012 to Feb 2013, and the participating artists were introduced to production techniques including stop-motion animation, video editing and sound recording. For the exhibition, the artists have been responding to the setting of the mine, creating works that examine the notion of ‘unearthing’, through found footage, animation, video and documentary. The artists involved in the project have also been contributing to a blog with posts on the progress of their works, which can be found at www.viewfromflorencemine.wordpress.com

Florence Mine owner Gilbert Finlayson features in a video installation about a recently collapse mine - 'Gillfoot No. 2'

Florence Mine owner Gilbert Finlayson features in a video installation about a recently collapse mine – ‘Gillfoot No. 2’

Artist in residence Sam Meech uses a wide range of media including digital projection design, analogue video hardware, and interactive media systems. His films have been shown at festivals across the UK, and he continues develop projects with artists and communities in the North West. During his residency Sam has developed new work in response to his time spent at Florence Mine and the surrounding area. As part of the exhibition, Meech is exhibiting an eerie video installation featuring remixed accounts of the recent mine shaft collapse, as well as a concrete ‘gravestone’ for encasing digital media.

still from View From Here film by Sam Meech

still from View From Here film by Sam Meech

Nicola Fitzsimmons, The View From Here Project Manager at Signal Films said:

‘We are really excited about the exhibition and looking forward to promoting this group of talented local artists. Everyone is welcome to join us at the opening. We hope lots of people will come over and see the exhibition during the week that the show is up if they can’t make it for the opening night.

There aren’t many opportunities for Cumbrian based artists to have the support and the opportunity to showcase their work. Working alongside an artist in residence has provided a new source of inspiration to cumbrian artists and as a result some really engaging and thought provoking, stimulating work has been created that encourages you to see the familiar in different ways.’

The project has been funded by: Arts Council England, Barrow Borough Council, Cumbria County Council, The Hadfield Charitable Trust and the European Social Fund.

unearthed_600

19 Jan

By

No Comments

new materials: concrete

January 19, 2013 | By | No Comments


Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

web_deepRep_mould2-16

Over the last few weeks I’ve been researching and testing ways to create concrete blocks from my own custom moulds for a new piece of work entitled ‘Deep Repository’, as part of my residency at Florence Mine. The aim is to develop a simple system for creating marked ‘gravestones’ for digital media – an absurd apocalyptic archive, allowing someone to encase a master copy of a work (eg dv tape), knowing that it should in theory survive armageddon, even if the technology to play it back doesn’t.

The work was inspired by a twitter conversation with animator David OReilly, who was wondering what to do with old digibeta copies of his films that he no longer needed. Suggesting that rather than throw them away he should pass them to a proper film archive, I also offered to encase a tape in carbonite – a reference to Han Solo’s fate in Empire Strikes Back. Whilst my current approach to creating an ‘archival tomb’ has been to ditch the fictional metal alloy in favour of the more readily available concrete, my unfamiliarity with the material itself has been a key obstacle.

Working with digital media, its not so often I actually get my hands dirty, although the recent Moston Small Cinema build was an exception that perhaps gave me some confidence to attempt more physical projects. I have never worked with concrete though, and I was unsure how to mix it, and whether it would allow me to mould text. My first mistake was to trust an expert, who convinced me to buy mortar as it had a finer aggregate. I felt excited as I poured my mixture into the two moulds -one milled mdf, one lasercut ply – both featuring text cutaways. However, the result was a grainy crumbly brick that failed to render any text effectively enough from my moulds.

Disappointed, and unsure whether it was material or the mould design, I decided I needed to have a crack with the real thing, and nipped off to B&Q for a bag of quickset concrete. I also did some research into alternative methods of marking concrete, placing wooden offcuts and plywood letters in the base of my plastic tub moulds, and making plates for stamping impressions into the surface. The results were much more positive. The concrete set much faster than I anticipated (making stamping tricky), but it formed around the mould well, even taking the shiny sheen of the plastic tub on some surfaces. Removing the wooden text pieces was tricky, but I was pleased with the impressions they had left. I felt more confident I could develop my mould, and that concrete would work as the medium.

web_deepRep_mould2-23

Another materials test experimented with text sizes and material thicknesses, using lasercut birch plywood moulds that I made at Fab Lab Manchester. I also decided to test the feasibility of incorporating QR codes into the design, in order to explore the possibilities of interfacing with the marker through a smartphone, as with ‘digital gravestones‘.

cutting notes:

  • 3mm ply – speed 19 / power 100 / freq 500   (adjust speed to 17/ 18?)
  • 4mm ply – speed 12 / power 100 / freq 500

I created both relief and impression moulds testing different font sizes. The results were mixed. The QR code also looked nice, but wasn’t functional, either to a camera or as a rubbing. Text was defined in some parts, broken in others, and this perhaps had something to do with the concrete mixture itself. It seems that in order to use text, I need to be working with larger font sizes, better spaced.

The final Deep Repository Module will hopefully use these techniques to render *some* information on the surface, whilst entombing the digital media within. In addition, the design will house an accessible usb drive via a waterproof connector, enabling a copy of the media (though not the master) to be viewed, either via laptop or digital screen.

web_deepRep_mould3-36

 

06 Jan

By

One Comment

Florence Mine residency

January 6, 2013 | By | One Comment


Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

web_florence_signs-01

I’m currently doing a residency in Cumbria at Florence Mine, Egremont. The site of a former working iron-ore mine, Florence Mine is in the early stages of its new incarnation of a centre for the arts. As part of the residency, set up by Barrow-based Signal Films, I have been mentoring 12 Cumbrians artists with a range of background from sound design, to video, sculpture and even knitting. The final outcomes for myself and the other artists will be presented in a group show from Feb 6th.

Though I’ve been introduced under the title ‘digital artist’, I’ve been careful not to bracket the activities too exclusively (or raise expectations too unrealistically) and spent much of the time focussing on the interests and backgrounds of the artists involved. Rather than lead the whole group on a prescribed course to make something, my aim has been to tease out their own ideas and approaches and offer brief technical introductions based on individual goals. So there have been intros to stop motion animation, sound recording, video production and editing, photoshop masking and even hacking iPhones.

A key tool, and through line for the project, has been the introduction of the group to WordPress. Whilst some of the group were familiar with blogging, it was new to a number of the artists, and has been a great central site for archiving progress and sharing ideas.  I don’t think the importance of blogging can be underestimated. Whilst there many creative digital skills and tools are out there, none of them are perhaps as fundamentally or universally useful for an artist or designer as a blog.  It took a little to get going, but now a few of the group are posting their progress, and its a real pleasure to check the site to find a new blog post. Even better is to see the way people encourage and comment on each others’ posts.

visit the project blog

The setting of the Egremont and the mine is a great starting point, and I’ve proposed to the group to use the word ‘unearthed‘ as a springboard.

The residency also allows me an opportunity to create a couple of new pieces of work, and the setting chimes with a lot of my thematic interests. I’ve been slow in getting going practically, but this has at least given me time to allow initial ideas to ferment, and I am now set upon two approaches. The first idea is a video installation that remixes accounts of mine collapses in the area – there was a recent incident in Egremont in which a digger fell into a mine shaft – with technical and social insights into Egremont and Copeland’s mining heritage. I’m hoping to interview witnesses to the recent collapse, as well as other people who work with mines, to create a database of language samples around the ideas of burial, mining, unearthing, landscape, that can be accessed at random to create a surreal account of mining in the area.

My second idea is a real deviation for me, which is to create a physical object from concrete, capable of housing digital media in a pseudo-gravestone fashion. I have been exploring ways to create custom box moulds for pouring concrete, as well as things like military-grade waterproof sub cables. The idea came from a twitter conversation with animator David O’Reilly around the conundrums of what to do with old digi-beta masters of films. Realising I couldn’t manage an archive in any true sense, I proposed encasing them in carbonite, and the idea of an apocalyptic archive was born. The work is as much about burying artworks as preserving them. The setting of Egremont is perfect for the first iteration of this work, due to it’s proximity to the Sellafield nuclear plant. The mechanism for burying nuclear waste has inspired the title for this work – ‘Deep Repository’.

I am back up to Egremont tomorrow to begin developing the ideas in earnest and supporting the other artists in finishing their works ahead of the exhibition next month.

01 Jan

By

No Comments

Our Club, Our Rules

January 1, 2013 | By | No Comments

‘Our Club, Our Rules’ is a short film about fan-owned club FC United. The film was created as part of the Moston Small Cinema project.

Soon after I began exploring Moston, it became clear that beyond the residents groups, Sure Start centres and knitting circles, there was also another community network with a strong presence in North Manchester. FC United’s plans to build their stadium opposite the Miners on St Mary’s road had brought about a range of opinions form the community as to how it would affect the area. FC’s network of fans was very active across Manchester, as was their community work with young people and disadvantaged, and yet the proposed stadium move was a controversial issue for Moston, with people as vehemently opposed to the move as other were hopeful of the opportunities that it might bring.

Being a football fan myself, but equally a cynic of how clubs have related to their local communities, I was intrigued to learn more about the ethos of FC united in relation to community. I attended two matches at the end of the 11/12 season, speaking to people about what the club stood for, and why they believed in it so much. I came away feeling that not only was the stadium a potentially very positive development for Moston, but simply the presence of FC in North Manchester was nurturing a kind of community activism that was really powerful and would have a positive impact locally. In addition, the alternative model of a football club run for the fans and the community seemed to chime with the model of cinema that I have been trying to explore with the Small Cinema project for the last four years. As much as I tried to remain ‘neutral’ as a film-maker, I was just blown away by the enthusiasm of the fans, and the vision of the club. Everyone I spoke to seemed energised by the idea of FC as a vehicle for change in sport, culture and community.

Roughcuts of the film were screened to M40 residents and FC branch members in order to share my process and also discuss my aims with the Small Cinema in Moston. As crazy as it may seem to build a cinema, I always felt that the FC network were far more crazy for building a new club, and so I think there may have been a common understanding. Indeed, many FC supporters volunteered their time to help build the cinema, and the FC network in general helped spread the word about what we were trying to achieve. The cinema couldn’t have been built had that creative, activist, community minded network not already existed.

The final film was screened on 4th November, before Looking For Eric, which featured FC united in the storyline. Actor Steve Evets said a few words about working on the film with Ken Loach, drawing parallels between the themes of Looking For Eric, (camaraderie, collective action, community, sport) and what had been achieved in Moston with the Small Cinema. It was a huge compliment, and much appreciated, but the groundwork for those things already existed in the community. FC seem to be tapping into the potential of North Manchester to be at its most radical.

Filmed by Sam Meech and John O’Shea. Edited by Sam Meech. Produced by Re-Dock as part of A Small Cinema in Moston.

(a dvd / blu ray of the film can be obtained by contacting sam@re-dock.org)

01 Jan

By

No Comments

Fine Casting

January 1, 2013 | By | No Comments

A film about language, craftsmanship, cinema and peoples’ stories. This is a short film about Shane O’Brien and his plaster casting business on Oldham Road, Manchester (‘Fine Castings‘). As well as being a fine craftsman, Shane is also fluent in 3 other languages (Spanish, Italian, French) and is a lover of world cinema, often visiting the Cornerhouse. Shane contributed to the Small Cinema in Moston project by creating the Oscars that were handed out to volunteers on the launch night.

31 Dec

By

No Comments

Wave Machines video codec wrecking

December 31, 2012 | By | No Comments

I recently helped director Jack Whiteley on his music video for electro-pop band Wave Machines, doing an interesting little job as part of the post-production process on new single ‘I Hold Loneliness’. The video explores the use of digital and analogue trickery (much of it provided by Venya Krutikov) to colour, distort and animate the band members faces. Jack asked me to create some codec glitch effects for one short section of song during the breakdown.

Although I’ve run a workshop exploring the principles of codec wrecking, I’ve only used it once before as part of my own work, in the final sequence to my Noah’s Ark film. It is an odd process for a video-maker to work with, as it is a precision operation that yields surprising results. The particular compression and keyframe surgery do not easily anticipate the final outcome. In addition, the effects are dramatic, and yet no filters or fx plugins are used – just a couple of compression tools. It’s nice to work away from the FCP timeline and play with the material itself. I used ffmpeg and avidemux to produce several different treatments of the original sequence of singer Tim for Jack to include before his final post. The video below shows the original rough edit sequence, followed by 3 treatments fro the codec wrecking process.

If you want to know how to play with codecs, then you can follow this cracking tutorial series (note – if you’re using OS Lion, then you will likely need updated versions of FFmpeg and avidemux).

 

31 Dec

By

No Comments

Interlace

December 31, 2012 | By | No Comments


Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 2 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

Warning: Missing argument 3 for remove_thumbnail_dimensions() in /homepages/11/d375443907/htdocs/smeechblog/wp-content/themes/district/functions.php on line 1387

 

A collaboration with OWT Creative in October gave me a chance to further explore video mapping and distribution in Isadora.

OWT deviated from their usual print-based activities to create a video-fanzine, collecting 100s of 10 second submissions responding to the theme ‘interlace‘. The videos were presented as part of an event at the Vault, Manchester on October 3rd. Alongside presenting these videos on monitors in the space, my role was to explore more dynamic ways to project the works, and from the off I was keen to utilise the tiled walls as part of the display.

I spent a lot of time creating a flexible masking system using the shape tool, and multiple layers of user actors, to  control the width, height, pitch and spacing of masks to fit the tiles. The other key aspect of the patch was creating a way to turn the tile masks on / off, manually or through a series of automated compositions, allowing multiple videos to be played through different (dynamic) tile masks. The final patch worked really well with the tiled wall, randomly sourcing videos from a database to create new compositions.

As with the modular screen system I developed for the Universe & Me theatre show, breaking a single screen down into component parts isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Multiple outputs creates complexity, especially when you want to isolate parts of the screen, or combine video sources.

I wasn’t the only person trying some new isadora tricks – student Matt Lees also developed a patch that allowed isadora to display tweets sourced live via a processing sketch, based on a given search term. Hopefully we’ll see more of this in the future, perhaps combined with the Live Writing tools.