From time to time I feel like making nice experiences for no reason other than to play. My personal work is usually focussed on anonymous interaction, unknown data sources and mental health. Here are a few of my favourite projects from the past decade.
Not I (2017)
Transferring the themes of Samuel Beckett to a new medium, to explore if a voice interface can capture and evoke the same feelings. Marrying technology and theatre in an installation.
The Amazon Echo voice performs Samuel Beckett's Not I under a red spotlight, alone on a stage.
Traditionally in Not I, A disembodied mouth utters jumbled sentences at a ferocious pace, which obliquely tell the story of a woman of about seventy who was abandoned by her parents after a premature birth and has lived a loveless, mechanical existence, and who appears to have suffered an unspecified traumatic experience. The woman has been virtually mute since childhood apart from occasional outbursts, one of which comprises the text we hear. Who better to perform this than Alexa?
Collaborating with a Plymouth based theatrical company, this was my first dive into developing Amazon Alexa Skills (and theatre).
Exploring the ideas supporting arguments against pirated music. A lone piano stands on a stage, played anonymously by remote users from around the world. The show was unannounced and passers by are free to join in on the piano, though their musical accomplice will not hear their feedback.
Users are invited to start an anonymous conversation with a stranger via a repurposed confessional box linked to a councillor via skype. Embracing the liberation felt by letting go of repressed thoughts, Talk was an experiment designed to counter Toxic Thought Syndrome (TTS) and Conversational Deprivation Disorder (CDD).
Playing with the concept of a message in a bottle used as a tool to anonymously cheer somebody up. When the cork is pulled from the bottle, a speaker mounted in the bottle's shoulder plays bittersweet 1st generation ska music (Desmond Dekker's It Mek). The bottle was launched to sea in 2012. I hope it worked.
Sunset Scarf (2017 - Ongoing)
I spent a great many cold summer evenings of my youth drinking cider beside a bonfire on the beaches of North Devon. Always enjoying the sunset over the ocean.
I decided to build a device that takes a photo of the night's sky over my favourite beach every night at 18:30, every day for a year. Once I have gathered a year's photographs, I will find the most prominent colour value from each photo and have each day woven into a very long, very warm chronological scarf. So I can carry the memories of my coastline with me whenever I'm out on my adventures.