This was our submission to Kent Creative Awards 2016 - which we won in the Audio Visual Category. It was their inaugural event, well done Nathalie Banaigs for organising it all, and hopefully it goes on celebrating the fantastic art in Kent. The official website is here with videos of the award ceremony and lots of positive feedback. The submission process asked you to tell your story so we focussed on our digital year.
Bringing interactive art to Margate
by Genetic Moo
In 2015 we ran a series of art events in Margate showcasing our interactive video installations. We invited performers and the public to engage with these artworks which combine Kinect sensors with large scale video projection. By moving their bodies, participants were able to create fantastical cascades of form and colour across the walls in real time.
All these events were commissioned and over a thousand people attended and immersed themselves in what we consider to be an exciting new type of art.
Video documentation of Blister Cinema 3, Limbo Arts 2015. Videographer Opticalism
Genetic Moo is an art group consisting of creative coding couple Nicola Schauerman and Tim Pickup. We have been living in Margate for three years and over the last two have put on shows and workshops with local arts organisations. We specialise in interactive art using digital technology and coding.
In 2015 we were commissioned by the Wellcome Trust to make an animation about inflammation. We decided to use full body interaction and motion capture. To help us create our animation we organised a series of events and invited people in to generate original footage. All sorts of movers and shakers joined us: dancers, acrobats, gymnasts, tumblers, cyclists and people of all ages from 3 to 75 years old.
We also ran talks and demonstrations to encourage people's interest in art, science and technology. The events were free and open to all ages and abilities and, according to our feedback, everyone enjoyed it!
"It was as fun as a theme park" girl (9 yrs)
Blister Cinema 1 Panay Fashion Building, GEEK Fringe (Feb 2015)
We took over this new space in Margate for three days during the GEEK weekend. We filled the room with interactive video games and projections, a large model of a horse fly and some domes. We were exploring how to use human silhouette data to simulate the processes that go on in inflammation. Over 500 people visited and we had many conversations about creative coding and fighting pathogens. During this event we started to work out how we would create large scale interactions.
"There is an art in the everyday that you don't always see..." male visitor (25-40 yrs)
Blister Cinema 2 ArcadeCardiff Gallery, Cardiff (Apr 2015)
In the second show we made a breakthrough with a program designed to simulate the spread of bacteria. This program and subsequent variations would become the heart of our interactive film. Over 300 people visited the 2 day event in the Queens Arcade shopping centre which included talks and demos.
"I enjoyed the experimentation - there is so much you can do when your limbs are extended beyond the physical body into a digital realm" Sidonie (dancer)
Blister Cinema 3 Limbo Arts, Margate (June 2015)
We hired the huge gallery space for three weeks and built an interactive film set with a 10 x 6m screen. We commissioned local performers and dancers (in particular from Morgan's Dance studio and The Theatre Royal) into the space and hired a professional camera person to film the results. We opened the space to the public for one day and over 120 people visited. It was thrilling to see people of all ages fully explore the huge immersive space and in some cases for over an hour.
"Left all inhibitions at the door - I was jumping and moving, got quite caught up in it. The grandchildren (3 & 5 yrs) had fun too." Teresa
Margate Festival : Tribes Margate House, Margate (Sept 2015)
This festival gave us the opportunity to show our work to the public again as well as introduce them to the new Margate House art space (formerly Burton's building). In the course of the Tribes weekend we had over 600 visitors - great numbers for a new venue. Being on the High Street was the perfect location and, in feedback, many said that 'visiting an art event' was a new experience. Some people described their experience as psychedelic, others as relaxing. With interactive art, there can be as many different reactions as there are visitors.
Interactive art can be captivating and we have worked hard to develop an interactive experience that does not require any specialist knowledge to engage - everyone can have a go. It is such a pleasure to see ordinary people of all ages be creative with their minds and bodies as they generate cascades of colour and biological shapes across the space.
"Calming and soothing. Like going back to the womb!" Jacqueline (Mother of two, 5 & 6 yrs)
So, 2015 was a great year for us in terms of public engagement and we got to see first-hand how fascinated people are with art made using current technology.
It was also a good year for commissions. As we don't sell our work, we rely on these to continue and expand our practise. In 2015, we had commissions from Connect the Dots, Sheffield supported by ACE; Spare Tyre Theatre Company; Margate Festival: Tribes supported by ACE, KCC, Dreamlands and Turner Contemporary; Lumen Prize; Radio Arts supported by ACE; and Animate Projects supported by the Wellcome Trust.
Through talking to parents at our events we have learnt that there is a strong appetite for creative coding workshops for young people. Schools are starting to address this but parents want more. So in 2016, in addition to running events, we will start delivering workshops locally. We will help people to learn to code their own digital art works and then show the results in group exhibitions alongside our work. In this way we hope to inspire the future generations of digital artists.
"I enjoyed learning about code and making images that move" Ronni (7 yrs)
Thank you for your consideration
Nicola + Tim
Blister Cinema 3, Limbo Arts 2015