3S6 Spring Exhibitions & shows

28/01/23 A lot of effort this month (and several past months) has gone into collaborative work with NSA artists Kate Walters, Andrew Litton, Michelle Ohlson, Patricia Wilson-Smith & Simon Averill as well as working on a further Augmented Reality app for Tremenheere Sculpture Garden in collaboration with artists.

I include this work in my blog as it is very much glued into my personal practice, in terms of developing the digital component and its related skills, as well as creating a better deeper connection with the landscape of Cornwall and its creative community.

The work can be split into three areas: design and technical, admin, and collaboration. First a word on the admin…this seems to take up most of the time..setting up the launch of the app, its logistics, and content, as well as paperwork required by the funder for the immersive assists for the various artists. All necessary productive stuff, even if it doesn’t feel creative – it does however support the development of creative practice, and hopefully not just my own but others’ too. The collaboration is where it gets interesting, particularly when working with artists who have habitually worked with 2D or film and who are new to the very odd and different mode of spatial thinking required for Augmented Reality work. There is definitely a research paper in this, devising, advising and testing different ways of helping artists with the shift to working in location-based Augmented 3D modes.

The third area, the tech/design element – because of the newness of the media, I’ve had to be more interventionist on the design side of things, suggesting, creating, and prototyping possibilities using the artists’ preexisting work. This has been great as I feel I’ve had creative input rather than just ‘technical service provision’. One thing that is important to note here, is that the work is very much frontier territory, for some of the artists it is working in a totally different way, so there is a lot of experimentation and exploration going on; what has emerged needs to be regarded in this way, rather than holding up models from games or commercial products as a measure for what has emerged. I’m banging a drum here therefore for art practice to be ALLOWED to be exploratory and not ‘polished’ or conforming to predefined uses of the tech.

I’ll be posting thoughts and images of progress between now and the 22nd March when we hang the app launch (the app was funded by AHRC as part of wider project and the creative immersive assists funded by the last thoes of European Regional Development Fund money). After that launch (3-day show at Tremenheere Gallery) the work with the artists and my own work (the dolls house) will be on show at the NSA show at the same venue. In this incremental post, I’ll be reflecting on that and on how I might take the AR work forwards.

05/02/23

Preparations for the Tremenheere show continue apace. I worked with one of the artists this week to get their stuff onto artivive. I’m starting to formulate an idea around how to better help 2D artists into thinking spatially so that working with AR would prove easier for them when working rather blind. A toolkit might be a good plan for this – with examples, videos and a list of differences to be born in mind – perhaps a little 3D moving model to demonstrate perspective change in 360. This might be a project that could be funded. Just now lots of dull admin to do to get the event on Eventbrite and to finish off the app before launch date. Last artist’s work was scanned last week so hopefully, that will be in-app in the next week or so. Lots of tidying to do with the screens yet and the big decision from Neil (who owns the sculpture garden that we are making the app for) about the title of the app – he’s gone for ‘The Mystery of Art’ – personally I’d have preferred Invisible Garden but he has his reasons and working collaborative and within a co-design paradigm means decolonizing the decision-making process. Meanwhile, prep to do for a conference on immersive happening thi month at Falmouth, industry facing, where I will talk about the creative potential of AR. I’ll post the salient points when they are more solid in my mind.

15/02/23 Poster advertising the NSA show featuring one element of the doll’s house – certainly looks vibrant!

Collaboration continues apace with the AR and VR apps for the show (alongside getting the app ready and the launch logistics down). A few more thoughts on working with artists who have little experience of digital:

  1. The biggest issue is helping them to actually see the potential affordances when it is all ‘black box’. Addressing this is very sticky. Artists will have high expectations about what will come out of the process. to remedy this a) talk about expectations up front, and b) explain that this is all experiment and trial and it wont come together overnight. It’s also really hard to get a balance of a sense of agency across the collaboration.
  2. What of authorship? If your role in seen as ‘technical’ and not as a creative agent in the partnership it can mean that you are there to solve the problems and translate what is in the artists’ mind’s eye. This is fraught with problems. Better to lay out the relationship to start with as creative collaboration. It’s terra incognito for all of us.

I’m also coming up with questions for an upcoming conference on creativity and the metaverse (not my choice of name!). All these collaborative conundrums abide in the wide world of the meta. Artists NEED to be in the game – and not those who think of themselves as digital artists – we need an ‘artists colony’ in the metaverse…not just commercial safety products.

My work on a game for a different project (a game for young people with ACEs funded by MRC) is also throwing up questions about co-design. Co design in medical research take the form of 2/3 days of talking through an issue with representative stakeholders and then that is consolidated into an action. Digital co-design can’t work like that and instead, I’m devising a way of interlacing co-design with our sprint method. So, a cycle of co-design rather than a one-hit-wonder. This is pretty much what I’ve done with the NSA artists I’ve been working with – it allows for gestation and for the growth of understanding – both really good methods for collaborating with those who have different literacies.

04/03/23

This week I took over the NSA instagram page as pre-trailling the ‘engage’ NSA show that starts on 1/4/23. 7 days of material needed! Fortunately, the 3D/AR work for the dolls house necessitated making lots of short animated clips (various applications of physics in Maya). These have been invaluable; they show components of the project rather than revealing the whole project, which doesn’t seem sense to do. There was also an interview with me filmed for this purpose by Kate Reeve Edwards. I colourised the film a bit before posting.

The take-over reels seem to be getting fairly good traction. Along with the AR app for the Gardens, I feel all this has created a step change in the level at which I am working. It’s tough keeping everything going alongside skills development, the day job, making things, and promoting stuff. I think I am going to focus on the painting/drawing after the NSA show is over. There will be technical maintenance to be done for that across the 3 weeks too.

Whoever wrote this list seems to reflect what’s happening currently

The items at the top of my list are the ones I am currently investing in with the most time, energy, money and emotion.

  1. Improving my drawing skills
  2. Improving my painting skills
  3. Developing relationships with sales and show venues
  4. Deepening my relationships with existing collectors
  5. Seeking rewarding experiences with small groups of fellow artists
  6. Entering art shows and contests
  7. Painting for my existing venues
  8. Seeking commissions
  9. Teaching workshops and mentoring students
  10. Volunteering and networking
  11. Updating marketing and sales goals

Several shows coming up; the later ones require more works to be made:

Daisy Laing Studio groups show (PZ Studio group) 03/04 – 16/04. 

‘The Mystery of Art’ app launch 24-26/3/23

NSA ‘engage’ Tremenheere Gallery 1/4- 23/4


Open Studios 27/5 to 4/6;

Daisy Laing Studio groups show (PZ Studio group) 03/04 – 16/04. 

Morvah Schoolhouse Gallery group show 24/6 – 7/7.

And, for posterity, the interview film:

NSA show promo –
you never get used to seeing yourself reflected back at you!

I think that a looped collage of these might be good for the end of year show.

12/03/23

Prep for the Tremenheere show is ongoing..lots of lists and checking in with people. The app isn’t yet uploaded and we’ve deadline for that mid next week – trying not to get stressed about that! Once we have the upload then I can email out the download details to delegates to ensure they don’t have to download Artivive and the app onsite – or we will break their wifi! Still some final tweaks from artists..all very close to the wire. I’m learning lots of ‘deep’ co-design skills and holding on to my nerve! I’ll feel much happier when the app is uploaded! And then it just ‘moving the chair’ about. All this work has put me in mind that what I am most interested in research in relation to such work is 1) exploring new aesthetic affordances (of course!), and b) finding ways to help artists into digital modalities and in particular the shift required to think in spatial terms (both for AR and VR). I’m putting both into a CoStar bid in partnership with Exeter’s Media/Film depts.

28/03/23

The launch of the ‘Mystery of Art’ exhibition took place last week. We were open for three days. It involved 11 artists, two funded research/development projects (one funded by AHRC and the other by ERDF). Tremenheere Sculpture garden hosted the app which brings digital sculpture the garden. We received 65 visitors on the first day, 120 on the second and around 65 on the last day. The event was covered by press. Myself and Penny Florence chatted about the app work and the NSA artists’ collaboration on Saturday morning BBC Radio Cornwall. Saturday afternoon saw talks from the three contributing artists to the ‘Mystery’ app.

This blog post documents the event; a critical analysis will follow.

Here’s the script from my introduction to the artists’ talks.

——————Hello thank you all for coming!

Welcome to this launch event for the Mystery of Art app alongside an exhibition of the collaborative work between artists from the Newlyn Society of Artists and myself & Falmouth’s Immersive business team. The Mystery of Art is a location-based app featuring various augmented reality works by 3 artists. I’m Tanya Krzywinska, a professor at Falmouth University and I am an artist who works between the virtual and the physical. I’ve been working with all the artists on the work that is gathered here today.

We’ll hear from Neil about the work in a moment (he’s in South Korea), and from the three artists whose work is featured on the Mystery of Art app. But before then I’ve a few things to say.

First off there are some thanks that need to be expressed. I want to thank those three artists, Penny Florence, Jonathan Kearney & Seamus Moran. Also, all those NSA artists who chose to work with us: Kate Walters, Patricia Wilson Smith, Andrew Litton, Simon Averill and Michelle Ohlson. Thanks to Yolande Armstrong, chair of the NSA for facilitating our collaboration and to Penny for thinking of it in the first place! Special thanks to Michelle for helping hang the show.  

You have all been amazingly brave to come with us on this journey, which we started back early last summer. I thank you on behalf of the University but also from the bottom of my heart. YOU ARE STARS! You weathered uncharted territory, sometime bemusement, strange language, and arcane practices. I do hope you have learned as much as I have on our collective journey.

Thank you to all the Falmouth staff who helped us along the way – many of you and thank you Debby especially for organising the ace FOOD.  Johnny, Georg, Rose and Bogo from Immersive Business – you know how lovely you all are..thank you all so much for the immense, immersive help.

Thank you to Alex Mitchell for all your work on the app..we may have some bugs to iron out but we are so nearly there with it. Those uncharted and emergent waters …choppy for technicians as well as artists.  Thanks to Doug for your support on the project – it was certainly complex and spanned across different groups with different needs and you’re heft when it was needed helped bring it all to life.

HUGE thanks go to Jane and Neil Armstrong for giving us this incredible opportunity to add a digital component to their wonderful sculpture garden. Their work brings tears to eyes..their generosity and love for nature and art. What a special place this is.

And speaking of art. I believe very strongly that it is incredibly important that the new technologies we have do not exclude artists who have never worked with digital. This is frontier territory, it’s a new language, it brings new tools, it needs exploring, investigating and learning. It’s a scary place the unknown. Artists are needed to decolonise it, to test it, to push it, and feel it. Without that, it will become a place that is simply driven by marketing and not innovation.

Passmore Edwards could well have been proud of our collaborative, creative, and critical spirit. This is the way we find new art forms, new possibilities..placed right at the very edge of comfort. Passmore Edwards is around here somewhere! Ask Georg.

We have been exploring the potential for using Augmented Reality as an art form. It is more common for AR to be used as a messaging or marketing tool, rather than exploring its potential to create unique art forms that occupy the newly carved space that spans between the digital and the physical.

 I hope you enjoy yourselves….PLAY explore,,,try something new. Thank you to everyone for coming. And now a word from our sponsor. ——————————————

Photos of artists etc

the ‘Mystery of Art’ artists Seamus Moran, Jonathan Kearney and Penny Florence

Feedback from the comments book:

Comments from the comments book 24-26/3/23

  • Interaction modelling creating people and spaces in the centre of an art exhibition is mind blowing. R Whiteman
  • Inspiring for older artists to realise the possibilities of the digital. It makes me what to try it rather than just view….Thank you for explaining and demonstrating.
  • Really interesting new stuff nice to see this in Cornwall
  • That was an amazing experience – a first look for me. I could produce 3D art. Thank you!
  • Very impressed. Absolutely amazing ten out of ten
  • I like that you could change different colours, an amazing experience
  • I loved that you could see the room and that it was a 3D experience
  • I really enjoyed the experience, the texture selection was very intuitive
  • Wonderful immersive experience – thank you!
  • Interesting and intriguing, thanks
  • Fantastic 😊 Thank you x
  • Great idea. Thanks for including me.
  • Well done everyone – this was amazing! congratulations Emma Hunt and friends
  • Excellent!
  • This was inspiring, surprising and beautiful. Thank you.
  • Well done!
  • I’m glad to be able to experience this exciting art!!
  • Thank you – loved Kate’s drumming
  • Absolutely fabulous! Thank you.
  • My first experience of AR used in artwork. Fascinating. Love Michelle’s work.
  • Fascinating!! AR and VR work
  • Lots of possibilities for new creative experiences 😊 Love the paintings that came to life.
  • Great experience, Lots of possibilities. Thank you
  • Lovely first experience of VR art, thank you
  • Very creative and innovative – thanks!
  • Loved Kate Walter’s piece. Thank you

What the feedback shows is the importance of bringing into the digital-immersive space, artists who have not had the opportunity to engage with these new technologies. 3 statements show that there is a need here. There was a very high level of engagement in the room with some people staying in the space for more than an hour. This is rare in my experience of galleries -where visitors are often quite swift. What I also take from this is the need for the work to be talked through with visitors – taking time to explain the technology and its uses, as well as talking about artists’ intentions.

I would like to take this further by running workshops on the use of low-end tech for artists as well as providing tools and concepts for thinking about work spatially.

The NSA show starts this weekend. The tech-based work will have to stand alone in this context as invigilators will change daily and they won’t have often any experience using VR headsets or AR. Instructions have been written but I fear that visitors will be left unguided to the extent that accessibility will be affected. We’ll see!

By tanyakrzywinskablog

After working in the computer industry and spending some years conducting research into cinema and digital media, I became convinced that the innovative qualities of videogames as participatory media required closer academic attention. As such I have spent most of my career championing the inclusion of games within the academy, and arguing for games as an art form, a role I continue as a Professor at Falmouth University. Alongside this, and my scholarly work on the Gothic, I also maintain, in various forms, a visual art practice. This blog comes out of enrolling on the MA Fine Art degree programme at Central Sr Martins. It is mainly a record of my reflections on the work that I have undertaken for the degree. After having written about folk horror in games and cinema as an academic, this blog will focus on folk horror as a focus for my art practice.

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