From homemade satellites, rainbow and tornado generators, handmade particle accelerators, and weapons of mass amiability the talks covered their projects and ideas - Hojun Song, Owl Project, Alistair McClymont and Patrick Stevenson-Keating. Together, their work provides a quirky and compelling critique of the allure and production of technology.
Korean artist Hojun Song has built a fully functioning satellite. His tiny satellite is a DIY engineering masterpiece: he hacked together a solar cell, a lithium-ion battery, an Arduino board, and four powerful LED lights. The cube will transmit Morse code messages that can be seen from back on Earth. He has set up the Open Source Satellite Initiative to ensure others can follow. In 2010, he made the Strongest Weapon in the World - I Love You. If you hit it – with an extremely large mallet - it says “I love you”. It can withstand a nuclear attack. His Radioactive Jewlry meanwhile is not for those wishing for long life.
Alistair McClymont makes night-time rainbows, suspends raindrops in mid-air and creates tornadoes with deceptively simple machines. A UK based artist working in sculpture, photography and video, McClymont describes these as ‘phenomena’ artworks, in which he tries to capture natural, often overlooked occurrences and evoke a sense of wonder.
Patrick Stevenson-Keating is a designer who is interested in the ways emerging technologies interface with the environment and everyday life. He has created the world’s first handcrafted glass particle accelerator, using hand blown glass bulbs.
Owl Project is a collaborative group of artists consisting of Simon Blackmore, Antony Hall and Steve Symons. They work with wood and electronics to fuse sculpture and sound art, creating music making machines, interfaces and objects, which intermix pre-steam and digital technologies, drawing on influences such as 70’s synthesiser culture, DIY woodworking and current digital crafts. Their Cultural Olympiad commission, Flow, with Ed Carter, is a tidemill - a floating building on the River Tyne that generates its own power using a tidal water wheel and houses electro acoustic musical machinery and instruments responding to the constantly changing environment of the river, generating sound and data.