Festival show projects thrilling body of work
Mesmerising artworks that invite audiences to re-evaluate the boundless creative possibilities offered by technology feature in a University exhibition.
Every-Body presents three digital animations by the pioneering design collective Universal Everything that are ingenious, elegant and utterly engaging.
This virtual Festival show – curated by the Centre for Design Informatics and hosted by Inspace gallery – draws you into imaginary worlds inhabited by strange, yet somehow alluring, digital creations.
It is, as one critic observed, technology with a soul in it. Although these gorgeous visual spectacles will never become a physical reality, they seem to have a beating heart and a life of their own.
These are artists constantly exploring the relationship between people, technology and the future, and the show encourages viewers to reflect on, even relish, our data-driven society.
The Sheffield-based collective has worked with an array of global brands and corporations and created the moving image identity for the London Olympic Games in 2012.
Every-Body explores big themes – our relationship to architecture and artificial intelligence – but also more personal concerns such as the way we perceive our own bodies.
In Walking City (2014), the artists have created what appears to be a 3D human shrouded in a digital costume.
The gargantuan figure shifts and breaks, reshapes and endlessly evolves as an architectural form with human characteristics.
It continuously walks in the centre of the screen, as if the city itself was walking, forever nomadic, adapting to its environment.
The inspiration for this slowly evolving video sculpture is the utopian vision of the 1960s architecture practice, Archigram of London. Walking City is a fitting tribute to their ideals.
Smart Matter (2018) offers a poetic vision of how people might one day interact with programmable nanomaterials that reshape themselves, based on our instructions.
It is hard to envisage, but Smart Matter takes a stab at imagining a future where gadgets assemble themselves on demand and drip away when not in use.
Smart Matter is a series of speculative design films that explores the relationship between technology hype and its effect upon us.
Working with dancers and motion capture, an algorithm becomes a third dance partner, building a tension between actions and form.
Future You (2019) is an interactive artwork that mimics the unique movements of visitors to last year’s blockbuster exhibition at The Barbican in London, AI: More than Human.
Visitors to the exhibition were greeted at the entrance by a screen that acted as a mirror, reflecting a unique synthetic form of the viewer.
Starting as a primitive animation, the reflection learns from the visitor’s movements and adapts to suggest an agile, superior version of themselves.
It wiggles, shifts and bends in tandem with the user, presenting 47,000 possible variations in appearance, becoming more agile as it learns movements specific to the visitor’s body.
The exhibition will be launched on Thursday, 6 August, with a keynote talk from Universal Everything’s Creative Director Joel Gethin Lewis.
The gallery will also host talks by three eminent scholars from the fields of dance, architecture and data-ethics, who will explore the ideas aired in the exhibition.
Taking part will be choreographer Kate Sicchio; Professor Lillian Edwards, of Newcastle University; and Professor Ola Uduku, of Manchester School of Architecture.
Inspace is a unique events and exhibitions space within the University that commissions and produces creative activity that unlocks digital technology and explores its role in society.
It is part of the University’s Centre for Design Informatics – a research centre and Masters programme based in the School of Informatics and Edinburgh College of Art.
It is hoped that a physical exhibition of the work can take place at Inspace when it is safe to do so.
Every-Body introduces the work of the pioneering design studio Universal Everything and presents a digital triptych consisting of three of their most provocative works.
Image Credit: Still from Universal Everything, Walking City.