Tag Archives: Salons

Salon – September 2015

After a short intermission for the summer, the Salons have started up again as monthly events running through until December (first Friday of every month, free, 1pm to 5pm).

September’s special guests were Davy and Kristin McGuire. With their blend of installation, projection, theatre and interactive paper constructions, they talked about a range of projects and what it was like working in hybrid areas.

September 2015 Salon

September 2015 Salon - The McGuires

September 2015 Salon - The McGuires

It was particularly interesting to hear how, for one project, they had to add in an actor in order to qualify for a theatre-related grant, but that they regard storytelling as being the thread through all of their work, whether it gets shown within the context of theatre, puppetry or media. “We just see things as stuff to make; we don’t see the categories.”

The McGuires also brought in the Theatre Book for us to admire: a re-telling of Macbeth using pop-up and back projection. Just magical to watch in a darkened room.

September 2015 Salon - The McGuires' Theatre Book

September 2015 Salon - The McGuires' Theatre Book

September 2015 Salon - The McGuires' Theatre Book

We were also treated to co-curator Sarah Ellis (Head of Digital Development at the Royal Shakespeare Company) talking about what she cares about with respect to digital technology and the arts. After deconstructing the loaded term of ‘Digital’ and pointing out how theatre has always been connected to the age (and technology) of the time it’s in, we were reminded of the importance to connect and to be mindful of who might be disenfranchised by the tools we choose to use and the way we choose to talk about them.

September 2015 Salon

There was some interesting discussion after the presentations, and the projections theme was continued with One Five West showing and telling some of their early work in progress as they prepare for their Fierce festival commission. I’m afraid I was deep in conversation about sonar rangefinders for this, and forgot to take any photos, however you can check out the end result at Code and Carpentry: “a series of interactive objects that the audience can manipulate through movement, sound and touch”. You can move through, listen to and touch the installation at Birmingham Open Media from the 8th of October through until the 10th of November, 2015.

The next Salon is on October the 2nd, and features guest speaker Eleanor Morgan – you can sign up for free here.

Salon – July 2015

Following on from the Bees in a Tin conference, we have also begun our series of Salons – 5 monthly get-togethers for makers, researchers and do-ers who work collaboratively across disciplines.

At this, our first one, we were joined by co-curator Karen Newman from Birmingham Open Media, and invited speaker Brian Degger talking about his experiences with DIY biology, open source science and makerspaces. Karen also talked about artwork she’d come across that used biological techniques in interesting ways.

Brian Degger

Karen Newman

Brian had also brought in some of his homemade lab kit to demonstrate:


Our main aim with these events is to provide a space where people can link up with a range of possible collaborators and also gain more immediate support with their projects through constructive critique, playtesting, asking questions and presenting prototypes. These were needs that attendees flagged up during the sign-up process and, we’re happy to say, some of the feedback we’ve received afterwards has indicated we managed to start addressing.

The format for each Salon will be flexible, but our first iteration doesn’t seem to have been too far off: following the talks and some refreshments we then did a quick brainstorming activity in small groups.

group activity

We used this to give attendees a chance to interact with people they hadn’t met before and also to dream up some light-hearted “wouldn’t it be great if” DIY Bio projects for the Open Lab space at BOM. Real fish-eye lenses!

There was also a session where practitioners could share their work in progress: we had a playtest of a card-game-meets-interactive-soundscape, a demo of and brainstorm around some spatially-aware pods and a huge camera obscura set up in the corner of the space overlooking the canal!

The next Salon is on the 4th of September. Co-curated by Sarah Ellis, Head of Digital Development at the Royal Shakespear Company, the guest speakers will be Davy and Kristin McGuire.

Check out this example of one of their projects and then go and reserve yourself a place to find out more!

The Icebook (HD) from Davy and Kristin McGuire on Vimeo.