Happenstance Final EventProgramming the Arts
Creative technologists Kevin Walker and Linda Sandvik have reached the end of their residency here and present their work in a final event, Programming the Arts.
Walker and Sandvik joined Spike Island for twelve weeks as part of the Happenstance residencies from mid-April to the end of June. Funded by the NESTA, Arts Council England and AHRC Digital R&D for Arts and Culture Fund, this pilot project embeds designers, developers and producers in arts organisations to work together to improve the latters’ engagement with digital media. Site Gallery in Sheffield and Lighthouse in Brighton are also participating in the scheme. The residencies involve two intensive five-week ‘sprints’, during which Walker and Sandvik work closely with Spike Island’s staff team and wider community to design, make and prototype new projects and products.
A deliberate play on words, the title refers to both programming computers, and programming spaces: coding and curating. The pair have spent their time here exploring this relation by creating and testing some prototype technologies and by training staff, artists and designers in computational thinking, including programming concepts and basic electronics. The aim is to utilise technology to transform both artistic and commercial practice by making it 'digital by default,' without being too programmatic – in other words, giving people control over computers rather than the other way around.
Walker and Sandvik have been doing this by demonstrating how computers don't have to be boxes that we stare into all day, motionless. They can be, essentially, any object or space that can be endowed with a limited form of intelligence for recording, processing and influencing. Specifically, they are installing simple sensors around the building to make it interactive; embedding practices for recording, connecting and storytelling; linking different locations and professions; and engaging in 'culture hacking' – opening up the organisation, poking around, and making new things.
Linda Sandvik is an interface developer and wannabe MacGyver. Although she describes herself as a front-end developer, Sandvik has a background in proper programming (well, computer science at university). She’s studied digital media at Hyper Island, with a focus on group dynamics and self-leadership, idea and concept development, brand management, and design facilitation. She’s also had her own consultancy business since 2009, which mainly does web development, apps and physical installations (electronics).
Sandvik loves doing research, user testing, experimenting and prototyping. She’s curious, oddly creative, and likes exploring new things. Sometimes she does weird things like catapulting herself 2000ft into the air. In August 2012 Sandvik will be participating in the longest horse race in the world, the Mongol Derby.
Linda's time at Spike Island is part of Happenstance, a project that embeds creative technologists in arts organisations. It is funded through ACE, AHRC and NESTA's ‘Digital R&D for Arts and Culture Fund’.
Kevin Walker is a designer, researcher, artist, technologist and journalist working across disciplinary and geographic boundaries. He designs and programmes installations, software, and web sites, mostly for museums, galleries and artists. He also conducts and publishes research on how people use, understand and learn with technologies ranging from mobile devices to sensor networks.
Walker’s artwork bridges the digital and natural, tending toward the minimal and scientific, with motorised installations, computerised drawings and pencil sketches. And he’s a compulsive journalist, constantly interviewing, investigating, recording and writing. Walker hold a BA in Anthropology/Mass Communications, a Masters in Interactive Telecommunications, and PhD in Museums & Technology.
Kevin's time at Spike Island is part of Happenstance, a project that embeds creative technologists in arts organisations. It is funded through ACE, AHRC and NESTA's ‘Digital R&D for Arts and Culture Fund’.