Saturday, 27 December 2014


as part of the squeeze
fold bend and expand - Structural Memory in Deformable Objects
project I’ve
been involved in over the past 2 months
I’ve made a film. It shows some
of the over 180 sculptural forms and how they move when manipulated. filming by
Bob editing by Jim.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014


multifold - joining two of the modular pieces together at different folded points enables a number of different possibilities. a folded folding machine for hands.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


working on the final multi-narrative structures. Decided on grey board and felt as ‘final, finished materials’ – I’m enjoying the historical art references they provide, especially the legacy of felt and its relationship to Beuys. The pieces provide numerous possibilities of juxtaposed shapes and spaces. I’ve editioned the piece so that a number of them can be left as a legacy within the robotics department and hopefully accessible within the proposed exhibition.  

Monday, 22 December 2014


looking towards the end of the project and working on the taxonomy of structures has uncovered interesting links to the starting point of the last project – finding connections as ever - mapping the whole process is a wonderfully reflective exercise enabling a level of understanding and proposing what should come next.

getting my head around the final final structure is a tricky one – working with backwards and upside down with two sides having asymmetrical shapes with reflective material juxtaposed with light absorbing black.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


It was great to hear and in some instances see what the other teams have been up to. The final meeting of Parallel Practices made me even sadder that I was unable to get to the other meetings as I feel that I have missed out on the sharing element of the process to some extent.
Anyway – it was in another great new space in London that I had no idea existed – the Life Science Museum within the Hodgkin Building. To get to it we walked through a labyrinth of endless shelves with thousands of bottles of unfamiliar body parts , then past the oddest folk art I have EVER seen (see above) into a room where we sat a large table surrounded by glorious examples of skeletal structures. I and Naomi were first up and we talked about new tools, thinking space, open-endedness, mapping the process, creating taxonomy, although Richard named the activity.
Celia was great and the idea of carving out space for reflection and thus her revelation that at the core of her work was the idea of care was beautiful. She spoke very movingly about respect and responsibility around the bodies she had worked around.
Karina was very focused like her project and she spoke eloquently about the role of the machine with and verses the hand, the value of what she was doing as a maker and how stitch and textiles or at least non-robotic materials could become a part of robotics ‘teaching’. I love the precision of how she uses language, supporting the finding of the right word after my questioning of Celia’s comment about the ‘ordinariness’ of her practice, rather than its extraordinariness in the world of the throwaway.
Tamsin had her workbench nearby and was able to show us all sorts of wonderfulness; exploding ceramics infested with calcium, crystal growth on ‘bones’ and a see-though blue mouse. Listening to her and Richard talk about providing access to the space was empowering.

There were so many areas where we overlapped – although it was more of a constellation of possibilities - I could have listened all day. Some notes I made which I have to think about – it opened a door to what I don’t know, technology adding a new dimension, anatomy as an act, the supervised machine, sometimes I can sometimes I can’t, the idea - no the feeling of ownership, enabling others to rethink what it is that they do, I’m never going to know what I mean, negotiating a re framing of practice.

Monday, 15 December 2014


We have been asked a set of questions to enable discussion at Tuesdays meeting – some answers before discussing it with Naomi.
How have you pushed, expanded or challenged your practice through collaboration?
Throughout my practice I have developed a set of rules, a framework or paradigm to support, guide and enable me to make work. This activity is sometimes conscious as a creative exercise and sometimes subconsciously through the familiarity of making. This project enabled the opportunity to break a large number of the rules I have created; examples being the act of cutting and joining of individual elements towards the development of new structures, working with a range of materials new to me encouraging new areas of problem solving and working in new media in the form of moving image.
Observing how others make work and having access to ways of thinking which is new to me has been liberating and has infused in me a renewed interest in creating physical work from a place of making tools for thinking.
Do you feel you have fully tested and trialled your original idea that you set out to work towards collaboratively?
This has been very successful – providing a ‘creative jolt’ both through and away from my practice. We set out to move towards and occupy a place of not knowing. This was supported by all and underpinned our time together.  If something looked or felt familiar we moved away from it. This resulted in creating models and structures unfamiliar to me.
One deviation from our plan was that we said we would initially work separately for a period, developing our own entry points to the subject and then we would come together to collaborate but we naturally found ourselves working collectively from day one. This felt more appropriate and made sense in terms of the practical issues of location, our other commitments and the timescale of the project.
Can you prove this through outcomes and evidence or what looks new and different?
Yes – the work I have made set out to be process led, (quick, cheap and unfinished) so that ideas were at the fore of the investigative project. This way of being manifests itself in over 180 individual models (some consisting of up to 100 components). The project has enabled me to finally work creatively with a number of new processes and mediums I have trying to work with for some time; laser cutting and film making and to confirm my interest in the activity of creative thinking as an end in itself.
What is your residency’s impact or ‘success’?
I set out to be changed and have been. Through the project strategy we set up - of making, responding, reflecting, sharing I now have a huge body of starting points or thinking tools for new bodies of work that can be taken into a wide range of situations from education and health to architecture and design. I have made links with like minded people outside my sphere who I will defiantly work with at a later date.
Looking ahead- what do you or would you still like to do?
To see the impact of my presence. The timescale did not allow me to see how my thinking or the objects I have made fully impacts on The Centre for Robotics Research. There was a large element of sharing and exposure within the project but it would of being nice to be able to track an experience into a practical outcome – changing/saving the world through folding paper.
The ‘teaching by osmosis’ I witnesses was intoxicating and very different to my engagement with graduate and post graduate students within art institutions and something I shall try out but it would be interesting to be part of a PhD students lab team, supporting and working with a long term goal, providing an open ended sounding board for their research and in turn their thinking enriches our practices.

I feel that the work we have undertaken within the project needs to be made visible, both the objects themselves the process and our testimony. The dissemination of activity is the key to change.

Friday, 12 December 2014


some thoughts as we move to the final meeting on tuesday.....

This opportunity has diverted me from the thinking patterns I usually engage in and enabled my practice to be opened up, exposed and in turn challenged. I have been presented with new ways of working, practical concerns around problem solving, the creation of rules to work within and different methods of making.

Exposure to these issues has thrown up a number of thoughts - on the one hand exposure to new ways has informed what I do, much of this has been appropriated into my practice over the projects timespan and highlights new possibilities, for example working within a constructed paradigm to generate deep thinking, changing materials but retaining existing structure and actively testing to create data with which to improve existing work or develop new work.

The project has also made visible and so possible what I do but I am now able to re contextualise it - already a part of my practice through the work with OCA  the use of Skype has cut down my travel but I now see it as a tool to connect, with the opportunity to work globally or at least with somebody at the end of a computer.

Although collaboration is a large part of my practice - the book form is a collaborative experience - from the many parts or elements that go to make up a book to the people who create it through the numerous specialist processes they engage in. Collaboration within ones own practice is one thing and relatively easy, a shared understanding of the form exists, across art forms another but this is still within a shared understanding of values.  Within science thinking it is different. But the project has had at its core respect, respect for the values of others and this has enabled me to release the creative process, relinquishing control and establishing new frameworks.

Searching out ways to fail gloriously

It is important to recognise that my intention was to work in ways I had not previously experienced and to make things that I did not understand. The overarching idea was to attempt to be surprised. This idea of surprising oneself was important - the collaborative work pattern was such that a conversation became an idea which was then developed into a practical working research strand which would become a physical models, structures. If that idea, when becoming manifest, was recognised or understood it was often abandoned and new strands of the unknown were taken up even if the original projected outcomes were to be successful. This led to brand new work which will require long term thinking to consider how it will transform both my ways of working and the work itself. Although there was an interesting discussion around finding oneself becoming the other person, making similar work, although not ones own!

The experiences experienced and lessons learnt will inform my own making when I return to the studio but it will also support and facilitate the teaching I undertake, both formally in three institutions I teach in; Camberwell College of the Arts, Norwich University of the Arts and the Open College of the Arts and informally within the workshops, consultation sessions and residencies I become involved in.

It will also make me an advocate for science and science thinking. For too long Science and Art have been seen as separate and different while during this project I have witnessed a group of people within Thrish
's lab creatively problem solving, working deep, thinking laterally and exploring materials - sounds a lot like the creative sector. They also feel comfortable sharing - there is the realisation that one person cannot know it all and that more is possible if knowledge is shared. Although their working patterns of thinking something into existence and then proving it by experiment/experience is similar in some ways to the design world - having in ones mind an answer or vision and working towards it. Rather than working with an idea and setting out not to know and when a direction is decided upon looking out for new routes to get there.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


Thinking about the space the structures work in – this screen shot of a video plus code by Nantachai plots movement and so enables us to see – I’m doing my own version later – attaching lights to specific points and through long exposure shooting all will be revealed!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


Reflection on the project whilst spending time in two material libraries today.
So what’s next?
“We don’t lose anything even if we fail”.
I was very taken by Thrish’s answer - to his approach – to his reasoning - to his engagement – to creative thinking with others.
This opportunity to work within King’s College has presented many possibilities – of which many require further research to fully engage in the benefits they offer.
The opportunity to engage in alternative ways of thinking is essential if ones practice is to grow and evolve. Otherwise we risk isolation – relegated to the role of creating expensive ‘baubles’ for collection. We have a more ‘useful’ role in society to take up. Our ability to think laterally, to problem solve creatively make us valuable. Our material knowledge and understanding is highly specialised and we can communicate concepts and emotions across language and cultural divides, globally we are essential.
I have felt valued and respected during this project but one starts out by trying to find a position of worth, of usefulness – What is my job? What is my point in being here? There is a sense of being slightly in the wilderness when attempting to explore ones value as a maker in a society underpinned by the search for the lowest common denominator and a love of
We have been making thinking opportunities. The process has enabled sessions where we have developed ways of working that enabled an understanding the problem and the solution at the same time – there was a sense of natural evolution – of working towards something intuitively – allowing space to reflect on activity – leading to possible direction – outcomes.
This cross fertilization must be used to address the misguided and in fact false categorization that separated science from art. I have found scientists to be open and transparent in many ways that makers are not. There is recognition of and a building on existing knowledge. This creates a sense of shared community – contributing and exchanging information towards a common good – that of gaining knowledge.

The connection to science thinking needs to be expanded to a larger number of people – this could be a limited exposure, although the 2-3 months time-scale feels appropriate if there is the intention not to have a final outcome. For me it has acted as a kind of boost – an introduction to what I already did, an intervention of research that although connected to what was there has built or at the very least redirected a piece of my brain somewhere more interesting. I have been making tools for thinking and I intend to do so.