Future Cenum

Toni Quiroga (UK)




“He stood there for a moment looking around the silent room, shaking his head slowly. All these books, he thought, the residue of a planet’s intellect, the scrapings of futile minds, the leftovers, the potpourri of artefacts that had no power to save men from perishing.”

Richard Matheson, I am legend


The installation is set in a dystopian future, where the income gap impedes the majority of the population access to media. The artist’s new medium is trash and the e-waste dump. Liberated from the digital black box he/she is now forced to use earth, found metals and urine to power electronic waste materials.

Future Cenum was exhibited at Copeland Gallery (London, UK) and will be shown at ISEA 2017 (Manizales, Colombia).


Toni Quiroga is an artist and musician. Lives, studies and works in London.

this excited surface

Jane Grant (Art & Sound, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK)

J.Grant-1@plymouth.ac.uk : http://www.janegrant.org/

Workshop Registration Required for Minibus Shuttle: https://bunb2017.eventbrite.co.uk

this excited surface is a site specific sonic artwork for camera obscuras. The work will be sound-based, a spoken narrative that poetically interweaves astronomical histories, science-fiction and desire interwoven with live sonification of solar activity. The spoken narrative will address the listener in the observatory with tales of longing, of other worlds and the impossibility of fixedness.

The ionosphere is a skin of electrons and electrically charged molecules and atoms (ions) that form part of the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetosphere. The ionosphere is created largely from the action of radiation from the Sun, yet it also protects us from this radiation. Disturbances of the ionosphere are caused by solar flares and the solar wind, a stream of electrically charged particles that interfere both with the ionosphere and the magnetosphere. The ionosphere is coupled with the magnetosphere and lies above the Earth’s atmosphere.

Areas of the ionosphere adapt and change according to which part of the Earth is facing the Sun. On the night side of the Earth one layer disappears almost completely with other layers reducing in size only to be reformed by the Sun’s radiative action.

The ionosphere is never static, but a fluctuating, mutable surface or skin around the Earth. The ionosphere straddles a seeming division between the Earth and the Sun, the warmth of our atmosphere and the cold of space, yet is also punctured by solar events that sometimes cause storms and sub-storms in the ionosphereric and magnetospheric system. The ionosphere is an interface, the gatekeeper of radiation, the skin of the world. Every 24 hours the ionosphere expands towards the sun, is at its peak at noon, excited by the interaction and retracts in the darkness. It is a form of dynamic longing.

The psychologist William Gibson writes that ‘at the interface between the medium and substances are surfaces. Surfaces are where radiant energy is reflected or absorbed, where vibrations are passed to the medium, where vaporization or diffusion into the medium can occur, and what our bodies come up against in touch.’ (Gibson 1979:23)

Listening to space weather

Much of the electromagnetic activity in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, which comes from solar or ‘terrestrial’ atmospheric activity, exists the frequency band of 5kHz (5000Hz) often called very low frequency. This is within the ‘radio frequency’ part of the electromagnetic spectrum such that a signal can be detected with a radio aerial. This also means that when the signal has been detected and amplified we can listen to it as much of it is within our range of hearing. For this excited surface a relatively inexpensive space weather detector would be installed at the observatory to stream live sound via headphones at the location. Heightened solar activity would be heard as increasing sound, solar flares as a very specific violent events and as our world turns on its axis and we move towards darkness, the surface layer of the ionosphere retreats, no longer stimulated by the sun, back towards the Earth. In this excited surface, violent solar events will overwhelm the spoken narrative.

The interaction between one or many bodies and the effect that things have upon each other is very much an ongoing aspect of my work. In Cosmicomics, the writer Italo Calvino inhabits many scientific ideas by employing a shape-shifting anthropomorphic character, Qfwfq, who allows us to experience a big bang, the formation of crystals under the Earth, the forming of planets, the beginning of matter. The narrative of this excited surface will be desirous, a narrative of moving towards and retracting from the cyclic interaction of two bodies.  Both the experiencing the sound of solar activity alongside the narrative will allow participants of this excited surface to inhabit the mutable and ever shifting nature of our Earth’s atmosphere.

Longing is always more desirous at a distance. It is intriguing that in order to observe the Sun, early astronomers needed to look away from it to examine its manifestations, whether spots on its surface or an orbiting celestial object. It is believed that Anaxagoras used a bowl of oil to study solar activity using the reflective surface to form a mirrored image of the Sun and in doing so created the image of its darker doppelganger looking up from the Earth. And, once the telescope was invented, the Sun was projected onto a surface affording a smaller and less blinding image to study at length. Even whilst capturing these impressions through mirroring or projection, they remained transitory, fleeting, the only manner of fixing them was by hand, through observation and recording, drawing and notation. The celestial occurrences emerge as a triangulation of the event, the eye and the hand. The phenomena of light and matter filtered through the lens of the telescope and the eye to form an image in the dark visual cortex at the back of the brain, where motor neurons relay the information to the hand.

The camera obscura allows people in dark spaces to observe others, things and objects far away, that move toward, only to disappear, or retract. The circular viewing dish of the camera obscura is a virtual space, a miniature world and self-contained image that cannot be fixed. The spoken narrative in this excited surface will be something between poetry and story, it will speak of the dark interior of the camera obscura, sealed off from the outside world, as a form of longing or loss, of something fleeting, that cannot be grasped, it builds and unbuilds connections and interactions between the intricate system of the sun and earth and that of human desires.

this excited surface draws analogies of gravitational or magnetic attractions and repulsions, to that of human desires. Desires that often cannot be looked upon directly but can be countenanced obliquely or at a distance, desires that are cyclical and continual, a never ending of expansion and retraction and loss.

this excited surface is installed in the Camera Obscura located at Seymur House in Devonport. A shuttle minibus service will be available on Wednesday morning. See the Eventbrite booking above.

Jane would like to thank Jay Auborn and Suvi-Eeva Aikas at DBS for his sound design, Andy Bone for his voice over and Matthew Pontin at Fotonow for his generosity and time.


White Cart Loom


Vicky Isley and Paul Smith (United Kingdom Bournemouth University / boredomresearch)




White Cart Loom has been produced in response to scientific research looking to interpret and understand data encoded in the biological process of shell formation in the now endangered freshwater pearl mussel.

The project connects biodiversity with human creativity and its first expression through programming, with textile designers use of the first programmable machine the Jacquard loom. In Paisley Scotland, this process was used exploring the creative possibilities of the world renowned paisley pattern. Rapid industrialisation of textile production contributed to habitat destruction and freshwater pearl mussels are now locally extinct.

Opening a space to reflect on the interaction between industrial processes and sustainability in a world populated by 7.4 billion humans – each with a strong sense of unique identity – boredomresearch are integrating biology and computation to create a unique pearlescent paisley form for every human alive on earth. In doing so they have re-imagined the paisley pattern as if it had grown in the shell of a freshwater pearl mussel, reconnecting the design with its bio-inspired origins.

boredomresearch ask: “Can a digital, data rich, world advance the value of the individual both in terms of human culture and the last surviving representative of an endangered species.”


White Cart Loom is a digital artwork built using real time 3D software, presented in the form of a full size reconstruction of a Jacquard loom, where the Jacquard (the mechanism which reads punch cards to control the raising a lowering of threads), has been replaced by a contemporary computer. A large HD screen is mounted behind a length of white fabric, as though in production. On this screen a digital shuttle shoots back and forth and unique forms, inspired by the paisley pattern and freshwater pearl mussels, are fed in from the top. Once fully in view, each form is released, bursting into life with its unique motion characteristics propelling it in smooth liquid spirals across the screen. Eventually these forms drift from view as new ones are created. The forms are composed by combining geometric elements, following a bio- inspired grammar and nodular construction, with modulated oscillations of scale and rotation.

The forms are textured with a pearlescent quality, varying in hue, and include some coloured jewel like elements and occasional glowing parts. Every form created is unique and the process of creation will continue until a form has been created for every human alive on earth on the date of first launch (1 November 2016).

The process is accompanied by a mellow and somber generative audio composition, including dark G major 7th and E minor tones, natural motifs and the gentle rhythmic beats of the loom. The structure is illuminated from inside by a caged light, picking out the threads and casting shadows on the surrounding surfaces.

Author Biography

boredomresearch is a collaboration between British artists Vicky Isley and Paul Smith, their work benefits from a long lasting fascination in the mechanics of the biological world which they explore using contemporary technology. They transcend boundaries between art, science and society, with previous projects exploring topics including: the intricate biological signatures of neural activity, the frontiers of disease modeling and our cultural obsession with speed. boredomresearch projects open channels for valuable dialogue and engagement between public and scientific domains – including their recent artwork AfterGlow, a new representation of a malaria infection transmission scenario which was awarded the 2016 Moving Image Lumen Prize.

Based at the National Centre for Computer Animation, Bournemouth University, Isley and Smith are Co- Founders of BLAST (Bournemouth Lab of Art, Science & Technology) an innovative program of interdisciplinary workshops and eco-action events demonstrating the value of art as a catalyst for negotiating the complexities of rapid, technologically complex, social and ecological change.

The artworks of boredomresearch are in collections around the world including the British Council and Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, Istanbul. Recent exhibitions include: TRANSITIO MX_06 Electronic Arts and Video Festival, Mexico City Soft Control: Art, Science and the Technological Unconscious, Slovenia.

The Woodpecker


Rihards Vitols (E-Lab, Germany)



In 1987. two entomologist: William J. Mattson and Robert A. Haack, in their paper The Role of Drought in Outbreaks of Plant-eating Insects suggested that insects can here the sound produced by a tree emissions and based on this sounds they know is a tree is good for them for food and/or expending their population. The sound emissions in the trees are produced in cavitation process – when the water from ground is going up to the tree branches, sound emissions are between 20 kHz and 2000 kHz. According to World Wide Fund research in 2007. in the near future birds population in the world will drastically decrease. This will allow to grow the insect population and one of the dangerous of them will be the plant-eating ones. They will slowly destroy our forests which will decries fresh air production. My work is a research to see if we can replace some of the bird species whit an artificial ones to try to keep the plant-eating insects from making new population in trees, explore communication among the insects, the trees and woodpeckers. The installation consist out of two digital prints 70×100, video documentation, artificial woodpeckers and collected data.


In 1987. two scientists: William J. Mattson and Robert A. Haack, in their paper The Role of Drought in Outbreaks of Plant-eating Insects, based on the previous researches suggested that insects can here the trees produced sound emissions and based on this sounds they know is a tree is good for them. The sound emissions in the trees are produced in cavitation process – when the water from ground is going up to the tree branches, in the result of tree and water friction, there are appearing air bubbles which then make the sounds, while traveling through the tree, in the range between 20 kHz and 2000 kHz.

According to World Wide Fund research in 2007. in the near future birds population in the world will drastically decrease. This will allow to grow the insect population and one of the dangerous of them will be the plant-eating ones. They will slowly destroy our forests which will decries fresh air production in the world.

I started to build my work based on these two papers. My research is experiment to see if we can replace some of the bird species whit an artificial ones to scare way the plant-eating insects, before they have started to populate a tree, explore communication among the insects, trees and woodpeckers. Till now I have talked whit solid state physicist and microbiologist both of them approved that trees are making the ultra sound emissions. Then I got in touch whit entomologist – he suggested the right way for data collecting and what kind of trees I need to chose for my artificial woodpeckers. Since then I have build 30 woodpeckers and they where set up in the forest near Dusseldorf. I monitored them for 4 weeks once every week. I took pictures of them checked if other species are not attacking to them. I was trying not to interfere whit them to see how the nature and other species are coexisting whit them in the forest. Till now I haven’t seen others inhabitants attacking them, but 3 of them I needed to take down before the set deadline. Two of them where destroyed, but nothing was stolen and near one of them there was a bird nest. Based on that information I consider that they have been attacked by other inhabitants of the forest. Third one was badly damaged in the storm. I have collected data ( small bark pieces, as entomologist suggested ) of the chosen trees before I attached my robots to them and when I was taking them down. Reason was to compare the data are they helping or not. On a day when I took them down I noticed that those ones which where not working where inhabited by spiders, earwigs and moths. And based on this observation I can suggest that my artificial woodpeckers are working and helping to keep away the insects.

Author Biography

I always want to challenge myself when it comes to creation of an artwork. There is no specific equipment or media which I use for my works. Usually I try to use both digital and analogue equipment to create a work. Issues that attract me and I find important in my work are movement, unpredictable outcome and contrast. When I’m creating a work I don’t think about the result but about the process. Process is very important for me in my work. Over the past two years my work has been about ecological issues caused by our lifestyle. In this field I like to create works that might be used in the near future as every day objects that may become part of our lives / installations / prints. My goal is not to solve the problems, but rather to remind about them. I have a master’s degree in media art from Liepaja University part of my studies I have spent in Bauhaus University Weimar (DE). In 2015 I started postgraduate studies in Cologne Media Academy (KHM). I have participated in several exhibitions in different European countries: Latvia 2016 Liepaja Museum exhibition Higenisti, Belgium 2015 Mons European Capital of Culture official program Transformative Ecologies exhibition, Slovenia Maribor exhibition Virtuoso, Latvia Riga Virtuoso exhibition, in 2014 I was a co-author for the Latvian showroom in Italy Venice Architecture Biennial, 2011 France Arles Transience exhibition etc.I have participated with talks. I have had public presentation abot my work in 2016 RIXC Open Fields, Art and sience festival I/O Lab Norway, 2015 Mons Cafe Europ in Belgium. Since January 2014 I am a chairman of the E-Lab, Center for Electronic Art and Media. I am a lecturer at the Liepaja University and Art Academy of Latvia.



Annette Mangaard


As an artist, I act as a harbinger, demonstrating different sensibilities and modes of seeing via imagery that reveals both unfolding environmental conditions, and affective states. I propose that the traditional documentary format cannot in itself encapsulate disturbing contemporary conditions and affective states, especially given the ubiquity of new technologies for representation. I demonstrate new ways of illustrating and evoking the affective aspects of environmental consequence by juxtaposing a short documentary on the collection of water from an iceberg with an immersive installation displaying the vulnerability of the iceberg. Our relationship with nature has become so disconnected that I propose that through situating imagery of the natural environment in a media-based exhibition it opens up the possibility for affect. Affect by nature of its form, disrupts and disturbs creating a state of flux, and therefore opening up opportunities for the possibility of change. This invites a subconscious process of assimilation, and emotional connection in the spectator, generating the chance for deeper insights, associations and future potentialities with regards to our relationship to the environment. Using a creative application presented within an expanded cinema I demonstrate new ways of considering the impact of climate change on water, a finite resource.


This is a two part Installation featuring a four minute Documentary on the harvesting of water from an iceberg for designer vodka, and a media based installation showing the melting iceberg projected onto a circular disk suspended from the ceiling. The url to the documentary is included above, as are three views of the installation.

Author Biography

Annette Mangaard is a Danish born Canadian artist/filmmaker with an MFA from OCADU, whose work has been shown around the world at art galleries, cinematheques and film festivals. Installations sites include: the Armoury Gallery, Olympic Site in Sydney Australia; Pearson International Airport, Toronto; South’on Sea, Liverpool and Manchester, UK; Universidad Nacional de Río Negro, Patagonia, Argentina; and Whitefish Lake, First Nations, Ontario.

Mangaard has completed more then 18 films as an independent filmmaker, and retrospectives of her work have been shown in Berlin, Buenos Aires and Vancouver. Mangaard’s films have screened at Festivals and Cinematheques around the world including: The Experimental Film Coalition, Chicago, The Collective for Living Cinema, New York, the SESC de Pompeia, Sao Paolo, Brazil, Ozfun Australian Tour, Ann Arbour Film Festival. Toronto International Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, National Gallery of Canada, Italy, Asolo Art Film Festival, Italy, DOCSDF Mexico City Film Festival, Hot Doc’s, and Millenium, New York.

A recipient of numerous arts awards including Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council, Mangaard has participated as a juror for the Governor Generals Awards in Visual and Media Arts, and on many Boards including as Chair of Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival (2011’13).

Orford Ness


Nikki Sheth (University of Birmingham, UK)



Orford Ness has been composed using recordings from a field recording trip to Orford Ness Nature Reserve in July 2016.

The site is of Special Scientific Interest with limited public access due to its history as an atomic weaponry testing site. During the trip we were given access to areas that would not normally be open to the public and spent three days recording in different locations around the Ness. Isolated by water, reachable only by boat, Europe’s largest shingle spit is a place divided by the residual danger of the site’s former use by the military and a fragile ecosystem.

My composition uses four recordings taken during my time exploring the hidden sounds on the Ness. They have been taken in the studio and transformed in to a multichannel immersive sound experience in order to create a spectrally dynamic composition that sculpts sound through space whilst capturing the sonic identity of the place.


8 channel soundscape composition

if we do nothing


James Alexander Wyness (UK)

jimmy2@wyness.org : http://www.wyness.org


Anthropogenically driven changes in the environment take place every day and have done so for centuries. The approaching dangers of relatively recent acceleration in such changes are comprehensively documented. It is predicted that the effects of such changes, if we do nothing to modify our collective behaviour, will be to cause widespread and irreversible damage to physical, biological and human managed systems. These effects will be felt differently by different populations in different climatic zones. My idea is to investigate aspects of the causes and effects of climate change, in particular tipping elements, responding to these by creating accessible immersive sound installations which sonify meaningful data-sets. I am calling upon the expertise of three partners: one with advanced programming and data networking skills in the synthesis language Supercollider; the Cryosphere and Climate Change Group at Aberdeen University to advise me on the selection, interpretation and

presentation of static and real-time data sets, as eventual raw material for the sonification models; a partner with extensive curatorial experience. I envisage eventually producing an installation which responds to real-time data, whilst simultaneously laying firm foundations (partners, research, funding strategy) for an eventual permanent installation.


The project sets out to investigate the creative sonification of data that reflect climate change, for example glaciers/ice sheets mass balance and more generally sea ice extent. 2017 will see the research, modelling and testing of new sonification ideas and techniques, the presentation of public outcomes, the establishment of new partnerships and in-depth evaluation/feedback across all activites – in developing my work conference presentation and publication will be significant, hence this proposal. Altogether these will lay foundations for an eventual innovative fixed permanent installation which interprets and sonifies real- time data.

My idea is conceptually simple and responds to ‘sense of place’ by creating a place where listeners will be invited to feel the results of climate change by apprehending accessible sonic representations, which nonetheless offer second-order complexity and tension as the sonic medium interprets ‘tipping elements’ – global warming, rising CO2 levels or ice sheet diminution. I will exploit sound’s advantages, as a phenomenological reality in itself, sound-over-sign, felt somatically, over certain forms of visual media. For example, selected tipping elements (temperature, ice levels) mapped from a given date up to the predicted tipping point (if we do nothing), are scaled appropriately. Shifting frequencies, perceived as pitches, would indicate rising temperature or diminishing ice cover. As tipping points approach, the frequencies reach inaudibility at higher and lower thresholds, descending/ascending beyond perception, though sound might still be felt (as vibration) and differently so for individuals, mirroring how climate change will be experienced differently by populations around the planet. Thus the listener engages with two complex sounds (ie not sine waves) having a strong fundamental frequency, recognisable as shifting pitches. The interaction of such sonic shifts produces artifacts and perturbations, eliciting further interest in the sonic medium, offering analogies with chaotic systems. A more ‘horizontal’ signification might interpret species loss or biodiversity reduction by mapping to the density of sonic events over given time-scales. Complex noise-based timbres might effectively represent various chaotic conditions as tipping points pass. Data scaling ensures that sonifications are meaningfully mapped to critical fields appropriate to the order of human perception and attention – eg, one hour representing the next 10 years (if we do nothing, if we intervene positively), several hours representing the past 50 years until now. A pre-industrial date, when conditions were considered to be ‘balanced’, might be represented by a single pitch bifurcating as changes take place over years, scaled to the listener’s temporal order. Different timbres might represent several fields as climate change analogues drift towards worst-case scenarios.

The underlying idea is similar in all cases – people come to physical, phenomenological understandings about critical changes, sound and silence become conceptually and structurally significant.

My testing methodology, based on psychoacoustics, will ensure that sonic elements easily perceived and understood by listeners. Beyond this lie opportunities for investigating discrete ecological systems (perhaps even local to Balance-Unbalance 2017), choral/instrumental data renditions, mythopoetic investigations into environmental value systems of early Scottish and sub-Arctic populations, multimedia support (for the installations), further collaborations, interactive and educational possibilities, special access for the visually impaired.

Author Biography

James Wyness is an independent composer, sound artist and researcher based in Scotland. His solo work encompasses live electroacoustic music performance, instrumental free improvisation, electroacoustic and electronic music composition, sound installation, digital and acoustic instrument building. He regularly collaborates with musicians and artists of other disciplines, from moving image makers to choreographers and movement specialists. His work has been performed and presented internationally. He has been a recipient of numerous awards and commissions and has worked as a resident artist both nationally and internationally. He holds an MA(Hons) in French Studies and a PhD in Composition from the University of Aberdeen.