Author Archives: Dominic


Friday 6 December 2013, 19:30-21:30

Digital Lounge, Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 6QG

Free, no booking required

Join us on Friday 6 December at Datarama, the regular show and tell event for digital makers and artists, where we have invited a range of international artists and speakers to share their ideas, work in progress or projects they are working on.

ISEA an update

Just to give you a brief update and heads up.

The team managed to get a few good blog posts in before the main conference and then a few things happened. Firstly, we hit the broadband limit in the house we were all staying in, crazy I know. But I suppose thats what happens when you put 5 new media types in one space with laptops, phones and tablets, we used it all up by the second day and were then throttled down to what seemed to be a crazy 2.2 kbps. Which is not enough to even send email. Also, we then hit the main ISEA conference which was followed by openings and meetings etc. I know what you are thinking, poor us right? Well following what seems to have been a months worth of jet lag and other activity (a good part of the team have been at Run Computer Run in Dublin since our return) We are getting our heads together to get some more posts online and plan for some exciting public facing activity in the near future

ISEA 2013 – 10 June – Dominic

Yesterday I caught lectures at the Museum of Modern Art, caught the Jess Wall show and then took in the Rocks Pop-Up exhibitions

Nostalgia of the new

Kate Richards and Ross Gibson spoke about a project Unhomely and  Life after wartime . I caught Unhomely later on that night as part of the pop up shows.

2013-06-09 17.37.45

Unhomely – ISEA 2013

Key words and phrases: Personal Aesthetic, Poetic gaps in knowledge, Location lends traction, Fuzzy logic.

Tom Ellard took an ‘engaging rant’ strategy to say he did not understand at which point things are classed as old.

Key words and phrases: Media Ghosts, Veneration through media containers, Skeuomorphic interfaces.

Lucas Abela titled his talk “Back to the arcade”. He spoke about his projects which looked like crazy amounts of fun to engage with. Vinyl rally in particular. I wold love to bring this work to the Northeast (UK).

Key words and phrases: Aesthetic of play

Vinyl Rally @ Supersonic 2012 – build + noise! from Tinnitus Jukebox on Vimeo.

Distributed Enablers of the new grid

Andrew Burrell Said he was on a ‘Subjective Trajectory’ and he was.

Thea Baumann This had to be the best presentation so far. I need to follow this up with more text than I have time for at present. But go to her site and read up on Metaverse Makeovers. Very impressed.

Keith Armstrong Long time no see 

Key words and phrases: Fast Networks, NBN, Walkshop, Fieldbook

Space and Architecture

Lots to add on this one, but it is probably best to leave a trail of links to the various projects that were discussed:

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Favourite word of the day: Uglify 

Image - Ryoji Ikeda - Test Pattern [No 5]

ISEA – Saturday 9th – Dominic


So, in my currently jet lagged state I am going to try and avoid a long steam of consciousness and share the highlights of my first day at Isea. Being the eternal optimist that I am, I will come back to this post and flesh it out with more context and personal interpretation. But I think it is valuable to share this as it is happening (or as close as I can get to the events).


Fee Plumley Chaired a discussion on Mapping Culture which included Kate Chapman, Brenda L Croft and Cheryl L’Hirondelle:

First to speak was Kate chapman from open street map. She spoke about mapping cultures. To Paraphrase:

Maps are abstracts of realities (to state the obvious) and in that abstraction you can choose what to add and importantly also what not to add. When creating a map we chose the symbology for the world. Which leads to interesting questions about how you make a map that has community ownership.

She was followed by Chery L’Hirondelle who spoke about other types of map. Maps that could not be used to disenfranchise people. Cheryl spoke about about how she reflected upon her Cree heritage in relation to her working methods.

She discussed a project she had developed One particularly striking thing she did as part of this project was to pay homeless people to listen to her sing.

Back to what not to add to a map. The song lines project constructs a map that does not identify the locations of the people who participated, go to the site, have a go. Chery discussed the risks associated with identifying the location of vulnerable people, particularly those considered undesirable by the state. She discussed songliness as a poetic response to mapping.

The third speaker was Brenda L. Croft who spoke of her heritage and walking along tradition routes had empowered people. (sorry to be so brief on this one, I had to head out early for another event and was still getting my bearings in a new city i.e. I was looking at a map!)


I then made tracks across the city to Sydney university for a presentation by Dr Sarah Kenderdine titled “The Migration of Aura: Inhabiting The Caves“.

The first slide was titled Facsimile & Fecundity. Which, is a great opening title for any talk. What she was actually talking about is the fact that digitisation can produce weak copies, asking how an objects aura can be migrated.

This was followed by a number of great examples, the primary one being The installations Pure Land: Inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang and Pure Land: Augmented Reality Edition allow visitors to interact with an augmented digital facsimile of Cave 220 at one-to-one scale.

I am conscious that I’m being too brief in this post to do any of this day any justice. But the subject of aura is something that I keep coming back to in my own research. I have worked in museums in the past and maintain an interest in heritage, particularly looking at how we mediate aura and place value upon its shared experience. However, this interest is not limited to heritage, it is something that concerns me in a curatorial capacity. I will come back to this later..

One other thing worth sharing is the iShoU system for gathering audience data. Kenderdine described it as being part of the future of evaluation, a system for gathering quantitative data on qualitative experience. Very interesting.


Following this I hightailed it over to the opening for Running the city which I need to go see again whilst in a more lucid state (by this point in the day the conflicting combination of jet lag and expresso was at play), the work was shown in a few spaces around the courtyard at the College Of Fine Arts.


I ended my day at Carriageworks for the opening night, catching Ryoji Ikeda’s Test Pattern [No 5] installation in the process. On a purely subjective note, test pattern [no 5] brought back some memories. I often joke that I am one of the worlds first genuine ‘digital natives’ having grown up in the back room of a computer games shop in the 80’s. This was an early moment in micro computing when data was loaded into the computer’s RAM via cassette. In the really early days there were no effective compression algorithms. So, even the simplest of programs could take over 30 minutes to load. Then as we became a bit more sophisticated and the industry grew in complexity we began to compress our code, at this point in time I swear, it began to sound different (when you pressed play on tape). Ikeda’s exquisite use of data was a reminder of this, the squeal of code and the first mass data visualisation, the loading lines. .

ISEA 2013

We will be heading over to ISEA 2013 in Sydney this weekend as part of a larger team from CRUMB where we will be hosting a panel discussion (details below). We will also be there for the remainder of the week, if you are there we would love to meet up and talk about projects. If you can’t make it please check in on this site as we will be blogging about the symposium and its associated events. Documentation from the panel discussion will also be available on the CRUMB website. Also, please keep an eye on the CRUMB twitter account as well as our individual feeds.


Learning from the CRUMB Method over a cup of tea: reflections on creating and exhibiting digital arts

Wednesday 12 June 2013

1:15PM – 2:45PM

New Law School Lecture Theatre 106

New Law School Building, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 2000, Australia


Sarah Cook: CRUMB/University of Sunderland, UK (Chair)

Dominic Smith: Pixel Palace, Tyneside Cinema/ University of Sunderland, UK

Marialaura Ghidini: University of Sunderland, UK

Suzy O’Hara: University of Sunderland, UK

Victoria Bradbury: University of Sunderland, UK

Graham Harwood: Goldsmiths/University of Sunderland, UK

Roddy Hunter: York St John University/University of Sunderland, UK


Based on the research undertaken at CRUMB, the online resource for curators of media arts, this panel gathers together knowledge from different experiences of producing and presenting digital arts, from the perspectives of both curators/producers and artists. In response to ISEA2013’s theme, ‘Resistance is Futile’, this panel will share their work concerning how art allows us to imaginatively experience and critically reflect on the implications of new technologies and digital media in our everyday lives, from databases to information visualisation to how we act in a social network. The invited panelists work across art, design, technology and scientific collaborations, and are undertaking or have completed PhDs with the University of Sunderland in relation to the CRUMB research unit. Digital media projects including apps, streaming radio, responsive designed objects in gallery spaces, and participatory experiences in public spaces will be addressed, alongside questions concerning audience engagement, and new platforms for the distribution of work.

You can also contribute to this debate on the CRUMB NEW MEDIA CURATING email list, where we would welcome your feedback and thoughts on ISEA 2013

This activity and it’s legacy of activity has been made possible thanks to a Grants For the Arts award from Arts Council England.

Dominic Smith

Dominic Smith is an artist and curator whose practice explores open source methods of project development through a hands-on, open approach to working with art & technology. His current research focus is upon the fidelity and the materialisation of transient media. Founder of Datarama and Basic FM

Suzy O’Hara

Suzy O’Hara is a curator whose practice explores the impact of pervasive convergent technology,  media the often silent partner, commerce on the production, dissemination and consumption of art.

Recent projects include Dear Angel‘.

Reflecting upon an almost outdated form of communication, the handwritten letter, ‘Dear Angel’ seeks to explore the gap between the written letter as a physical, tactile object and communication technology in the digital age. ‘Dear Angel’ is participatory project that examines curatorial issues relating to; online and offline communication tools and platforms, opportunities for mass, global audience participation afforded by digital technologies in the production and experience of art, and contemporary engagement with ‘place’ in the context of an evolving digitally pervasive society.


Hello artWorld

Hello, welcome to the new Into Practice website. This site has been created by a new group of curators and arts practitioners based in the North East of England. This group as has come together to work collaboratively and grow through collective activity and evolve new and interesting practices as part of the wider UK arts sector and encourage new international partnerships.

As converging new technologies have moved from the margins to become part of the fabric of everyday life, there has been a dramatic shift in how art is produced, disseminated and consumed. With a few notable exceptions, skills and expertise in this area within the North East is restricted to a small number of creative individuals, collectives and organisations. As such, access to practical opportunities that support critical thinking, talent development, access to peers and expertise working within this area is limited. This group seeks to address this, creating new opportunities, improving access to networks and fostering an atmosphere of critical engagement with arts and new technologies.

While each individual brings a specialist curatorial interest to the collective, together they represent the contemporary role of curatorship, as their practices span creative disciplines and artforms and bridge sectors in their explorations of media based arts.

Please, bookmark this site and come back soon.