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06 Mar


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Knit RGB Disco

March 6, 2015 | By | One Comment

Pictures from the KNIT RGB DISCO punchcard installation at the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester, 5th March 2015.

Full flicker album here



The work was originally developed as part of Octopus’s Digital Media Labs residency in Barrow in September 2014. I’ve refined the system a little since then, but the bones of it are essentially the same:

  • a punchcard knitting machine
  • video camera
  • isadora camera tracking patch
  • DMX usb pro and LED par cans

The Geek Bit

The principle is to read each 24 cell punchcard row as a set of binary values. Since 8 binary values can create a total of 255, it means each punchcard row can provide three sets of values ranging from 0-255 – essentially providing any RGB web colour. These values are tracked and sent to the projector and colour changing LED lights, creating a system in which the design impetus is not so much create a knit pattern as to programme the colour space of the room.

As well as using the binary values to control colour, for this iteration I am also experimenting with ways to cue sound samples, as well as record and remix sound generated by the knitting machine. This provides the ‘disco’ element. Again, all this is done using the Isadora visual programming environment.

Knit RGB Disco v1 – Whitworth Gallery from Sam Meech on Vimeo.



01 Mar


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Knitting RGB Disco at Whitworth – 5th March

March 1, 2015 | By | No Comments

6pm – 8pm, Thursday 5th March, Whitworth Art g/allery, Manchester

I will be showing a new machine knitting installation as part of Thursday lates. Come along and help me programme lights and sound using the punchcard mechanism.

more info here

web_knitRGB-studio-224 web_knitRGB-studio-223 web_knitRGB-studio-226

14 Nov


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Video Culture 1.1 @ Staro Riga Festival of Light 14 – 18 Nov

November 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

vid culture install testVideo Culture 1.1 installation at Staro Riga Festival of Light. A projection-mapped video installation developed using generative feedback systems, lasers and isadora and masks modelled on the Art Academy Lativa.

This is the first proper manifestation of an idea that’s been rattling around me head for 4/5 years, and that I began to prototype recently at Digital Media Labs in Barrow.

Video Culture 1.1 presents recordings of several experiments using live systems to ‘grow’ video feedback. Using a combination of lasers and colour tracking systems, the artist has cultivated 3 independent but competing strands of analogue video feedback, allowing them to evolve before our eyes. These feedback experiments have been modelled on the geometry of the facade of the Art Academy of Latvia, with the final recordings projected back on to the building itself.

22 Mar


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Portals and iPads

March 22, 2013 | By | No Comments


I’ve been working on a new Re-Dock project, called Portal, that is looking at the way we use technology as a device to send messages and transport ourselves through time and space. In collaboration with Tenantspin, we’ve been working with a group of sheltered housing residents, arming them with iPads, exploring new uses for common tools such as Skype, wikipedia, twitter and the video camera as a message recorder.

I’ve written in detail about the iPad as a video recording device, but just to give an idea of why it’s useful to think about it again:

Simply turning the camera on transforms the iPad into a window, a portal by which the outside world can be framed, immediately placing the user in the role of author.

Having used video cameras for most of the last 10 years, it’s interesting to watch how other people engage with the screen, especially with a device like the iPad

The scale of the iPad image itself is not too far removed from the real world as viewed by our own eyes, creating an odd kind of harmony between the image and it’s surroundings. It was a remarkable scene, with 6 residents sat in a circle, all viewing each other through the iPad camera, looking slightly enchanted.

The value in immediately creating your own media is apparent, and the iPads fusion of the camera / screen make this incredibly accessible for older people.

There is something about it as a tool that is great for older people. I wish I could afford one for my dad!

The Portal project is leading to an exhibition in May, in FACT, where we will present the workshops and also 3 new commissions developed in response to the project, and tested by the residents. I am developing a new piece of work, based on the Gillfoot No. 2 piece. that aims to implement Skype as a recording device that allowing users to contribute to the video installation.

30 Dec


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‘Archive’ – video installation

December 30, 2012 | By | No Comments


‘Archive’ is a single screen database video installation about the preservation and cataloguing of memory. Made of 16 reinforced file boxes, all backed with architectural tracing paper to form a simple back projection screen. Into these boxes are projected various films from the NWFA collection, footage of the NWFA itself, plus other bits and bobs exploring my own personal experiences in relation to preservation.

Shown as part of the Co-operative exhibition, Liverpool Biennial 2010 –

Like much of my work this is built using isadora to trigger and arrange a database of over 100 video clips. The patch arranges the videos in compositions to fit the grid created by the boxes. As a result, some lovely combinations occur of archive footage amongst the filming cabinets of the NWFA.

I don’t usually think of myself doing ’sculpture’ or ‘installation’, but as soon as you project anything the piece takes on a spatial dimension that has to be negotiated and in that sense becomes architectural (I have become very fond of the screen I have constructed from ‘R-Kive’ boxes). This piece was a way for me to document my experience within the North West Film Archive and explore the idea of selection and preservation in a much looser, more formal way than I could in Noah’s Ark.

It also let me bring in some other stuff taking place in my life whilst working on Noah’s Ark – namely the deterioration and death of my grandma, which I documented along the way. It is perhaps strange and morbid to do this, but it gave me some ownership of her memory, and infact some of the images are fascinating.

Photos of the ‘Archive’ used courtesy of Alex Wolkowicz