Since we last spoke I've managed to document some of the projects I was previewing. Mephitic Air with Wesley Goatley is done, it was great. One of those things that I love because I just get to bury myself in a litany of technical challenges for a week or two - the big conceptual stuff is all there, it's just making the damn thing work. I like those challenges because there's an enormous sense of gratification in the incremental progress of learning new technical skills. The project is all documented here. We had some great feedback and did an artist's talk about the work which got some great responses. This is probably the end of the Mephitic Air projects - we've explored it from a couple of different directions now and it sort of culminated with the Somerset House LDF show (which wasn't documented by accident) and also received some great feedback. Wesley and I have plans for another project in mind and when we get a chance to sit down and start, I'll let you know.
We took down the Uncertainty Playground exhibition just before I left for Impakt. This was great as well and the opening event was a hoot. Being honest, I let a lot slip with this one. More than I would have liked to. I was running around opening three exhibitions that week, getting three or four hours sleep a night and hoping that with everyone involved, most of the problems would be sorted. I made some errors in the planning process that I wouldn't have made had I given it more attention. I don't think it impacted the over all exhibition but it definitely gave me a sense of where the upper limits on my functioning workload are. Aside from that, George and I did a pretty mean podcast about it which is starting to shape some future directions for things at LCC.
Between that and Impakt I was running around doing various talks and performances, including a decidedly odd but enjoyable one in Austria at a fine art-y event. I like these context-breaking events - I get to meet new people and learn a lot but also sort of watch in bemusement at the institutional and scene politics that are identical everywhere. I also got to meet a hero of mine and I didn't realise until after we'd spent twenty minutes joking about trains. I'm not going to go through all of the travelling and speaking because it would take too long to figure out the order of things. Here's a picture of Natalie glaring at me while we were talking about Haunted Machines at the Serpentine Marathon.
I'm not ready to reflect on Impakt yet. It was too recent and... well, people keep asking me how it was and I can only say 'great' because rambling on about how transformative it was, how exhilarating but also how it deepened some worldly concerns isn't 0830am coffee talk. It was obviously an incredible event, intellectually stimulating and liberating and we got a lot of the answers we want as well as having whole days sold-out so it had an effect. Once I've had time to dwell and figure out what's next, it will be easier to reflect on its value. Most of all it's going to feed back into my PhD work which I think I finally understand. I wrote this thing just before Impakt (literally on the plane over to Amsterdam.) It hasn't had much feedback but I'm finding it increasingly significant in working down what's unique about this moment in our machines. I'm open to feedback and thoughts and I think I'm getting toward something unique which Impakt has definitely fuelled.
Back to work.
Eppur si muove and so must we. (One of two phrases I'm using to keep going these days, along with 'I'm going to be too busy to be outraged at hipocrisy.')
Lots of text-based media from the Revell brand coming and going. We in Strange Telemetry wrote a chapter for a new book out on Goldsmiths/MIT press coming out in March. Called Economic Science Fictions and editied by Will Davies, we wrote a chapter 'Valuing Utopia in Speculative and Critical Design' taxonimising speculative design projects looking at finance and economics. It's due out March 2018 and tbh it was so long ago I can't remember the details but I know it's good. Also, I'm just about to enter a book deal with a publisher and a handful of colleagues to write a book on what digital culture means for design from ethical and relational standpoints. Between the four of us it should be good but it's just so hard to find the time to sit down and write like 50,000 words. Book sprint I reckon. Finally, Natalie and I have also been quite open about our wish to turn Haunted Machines into a book next, at least to close this chapter, surmising the work so far and the conversations we've had. We've been tapped on the shoulder a couple of times but nothing has firmed up. If you're the publisher from our dreams and willing to backstop our VIP lifestyle, drop me a line.
There's a handful of lectures and things coming up, including one at Central Saint Martins on the 29th November. It's actually increasingly rare that UK audiences are interested in my practice. I'm increasingly branded as an hardcore academic in the anglophone world and a free-wheeling, fast-and-loose artist-cum-aesthete in the rest. I don't mind this, it's just an interesting shift.
Tbh I don't want to flesh the rest of the year out for you too much, there's the usual torrent of commitments but I'm going to spend the rest of the year concentrating on my students as some of them head towards their final show and the rest ramp up for the hard part of their master's. I'm enjoying running the MA Interaction Design Communication. There's opportunity for real intellectual ambition in it but there's some operational challenges to counter first.
Next year some new, big projects begin. I'm excited, I think I've got a handle on what the hell my PhD is about and I've got great ideas for like three art projects.
I'm rambling, the pit of my mind is full so stuff just falls off the top. Eppur si muove.