As part of Digital Democracies Artist Development Programme we developed a series of free to access Masterclasses and Tech Talks, led by highly esteemed artists and creatives working with digital and emerging practice.

The aim of the programme is to connect, share and explore new digital skills and insight that can accelerate interrogation of digital and emerging practice for all.

The series of events has now ended, however recordings of the Tech Talks and some of the Masterclasses are available to watch back in your own time.

Tech Talk #1: Making Terrible Robots and Making Them Great – Air Giants

Image Credit: Luma, Air Giants. Video still: Paul Blakemore

In this Tech Talk, Air Giant’s Co-Founder Richard Sewell gives an introduction to emotionally effective technology and the process behind projects created for large audiences.

Built for close-up interaction with people, using little more than fabric, air, light, and computation, Air Giants’ large-scale robots draw from puppetry, robotics, software, and interactive technology, and they aim to bring a sense of joy and wonder to large audiences.

Richard shares insights about how Air Giants came to make their joyful interactive soft robots, and their history with creative technology, robotics and interaction. Richard discusses the importance of interactivity and engagement, the value of aiming low when prototyping, and the challenges of starting a creative technology business in the middle of a pandemic.

About Air Giants:

Air Giants is a new creative robotic studio founded in 2020. Based in Bristol, UK, the studio is made up of a small team of artists, roboticists and software engineers. The studio is passionate about creating emotionally effective motion at a scale that is thought-provoking and transporting, as well as expanding the notion of what large robots can be used for.

Watch the recording below, and we would really appreciate you could take a few minutes to fill out our feedback survey.

Tech Talk #2: Digital Atmosphere AR Art App – Studio Above&Below

Digital Atmosphere, Studio Above&Below

This Tech Talk recording gives an overview of how art and technology practice, Studio Above&Below, uses data derived from an air pollution sensor for their mixed reality artwork, Digital Atmosphere.

Co-Founders of Studio Above&Below, Daria Jelonek and Perry-James Sugden, discuss how they researched and developed a process to source and implement air pollution data from the web throughout the UK.

We invite people interested in art, technology, the environment and data within generative art and games engines to:

  • Gain a general understanding of how data can be used to influence and drive digital artworks, in particular Augmented Reality art through the games engine Unity.
  • Introduction to Unity, data storing and sending to Unity
  • Find out more about the process of developing ‘Digital Atmosphere’.

The speakers share insights about their past development of ‘Digital Atmosphere’ but also the currently ongoing research and development for a public UK wide app.

Digital Atmosphere is the result of Studio Above&Below’s 12-month research and development commission by Broadway’s Near Now Fellowship programme in Nottingham, UK.

The development of Digital Atmosphere is supported by Digital Democracies.

About Studio Above&Below

Studio Above&Below is a London based art and technology practice founded by Daria Jelonek (DE) and Perry-James Sugden (UK) after graduating from the Royal College of Art. Their work combines computational design, digital art and data in order to draw together unseen connections between humans, machines and the environment – working towards better future interactions with our environment.

Believing in research based art, Studio Above&Below works with scientists, technologists and communities to push the boundaries of digital media for future living.

Over the last years the duo has created ground breaking artworks using immersive technologies such as AR and MR with live data inputs in order to make the invisible visible and give our environment a voice to express itself.

Watch the recording below, and we would really appreciate if you could take a few minutes to fill out our feedback survey.

Tech Talk #3: Creating Cinematic Virtual Environments – Mnemoscene

Video still: Digital Democracies Tech Talk, Mnemoscene

This Tech Talk, led by Co-Founders of Mnemoscene, introduces the audience to the creation of cinematic virtual environments inspired by and incorporating cultural heritage collections.

It focuses on filmmaking within these virtual environments and gives an overview of the multi-screen film installation ‘Grace’ (2021), commissioned by, and installed at, the RNLI Grace Darling Museum, UK.

This is a recording of an online tech talk as part of a series of artist development events brought to you by Digital Democracies.

The speakers Sophie Dixon and Ed Silverton share their insights into ‘Grace’ from development to post-production, discussing the use of museum collections for creative projects, 3D modelling and digitisation processes, physically-based virtual environments, and the potential for filmmaking using game engines.

This tech talk gives a general understanding of how realistic environments can be created within a game engine and the possibilities for using those environments for filmmaking.

We invite people interested in art, technology, and cultural heritage, and particularly encourage participants active in the cultural heritage sector, filmmakers, and storytellers.

About Mnemoscene

Mnemoscene was founded in 2017 by Sophie Dixon and Ed Silverton, with 10+ years of expertise in the cultural heritage sector and a background in research-led filmmaking and XR.

Working with immersive and web-based technologies they collaborate on arts and heritage-based projects and are passionate about finding new and meaningful ways to engage diverse audiences with cultural heritage.

Over recent years they have worked on independent and collaborative web-based and immersive cultural heritage projects for clients including University of St Andrews, The Science Museum, Royal Pavilion and Museums, The British Library, and Duke University.

Watch the recording below, and we would really appreciate you could take a few minutes to fill out our feedback survey.

Digital Democracies