Biography

introduction

my shadow with a flowerI've been using this personal website as my digital home (here's an old postcard of my real home town) since around 1998; adding to it, leaving work in progress lying around, and rearranging like the rooms in a house. For some reason, I occasionally get over 7000 hits a week, so if you read this (and can be bothered) contact me saying what you like or dislike. Feedback might just (and often does) encourage me to update the site.

I'm probably a creative generalist (and I'd say an art of any kind is the medium for a creator), mixing special interests and long-term lines of inquiry with artworks, university (paid) and private (err… unpaid) research and freelance work, a process that recursively spawns new directions and ideas.

This site is arranged in three main sections (containing more than first appears) plus this biog, each with it's own coloured links throughout the site. I like the tradition of easter eggs, so some links might not be obvious. Other sections exist only as web peninsulars with maybe a single link from some page or other, and not much of a way back (you know where the back button is :-)

what I do is lightweight glue

These are the people who inhabit the intersections of the Venn diagrams. They believe in ANDs rather than ORs. They're a member of more than one subset, more than one tribe. The reason these people are important is, just like merchants who go between real tribes, they carry ideas from one intellectual tribe to another. I call these people "glue people", because they not only join themselves to a tribe, they join tribes together.

- Larry Wall, Perl, the first postmodern computer language

I produce art, music and text (mostly short stories) in an order of priority that varies constantly. I'm a self-taught dabbler in certain areas of mathematics and a doodling hacker/programmer, as well as an information addict with a huge interest span and an almost pathological aversion to specialisation. I've stopped worrying about appearing naïve in any one sphere - focussing on one discipline is admirable but I just can't do it; I'd miss the multi-threaded connections. Other artists working with technology have highlighted this issue of disciplinary homelessness for 30 years or more; the venerable Leonardo magazine is testament to their tenacity. From 1998-2002 I was a visiting researcher at CCRS with many other artists, and exhibited a heartbeat-driven interactive artwork in 1999. I've delivered seminars on emerging interfaces and their implications for artists/audiences and accessibility, and for many years had a special interest in art-technology and disability, being one of the people turning DisabilityArtsOnline into an independent site under Arts Council England funding and reporting on emerging technology and disability, delivering seminars to various special interest groups. I research techology and culture, and teach under- and post-grad web stuff and design part-time at DeMontfort University, Leicester.

what I'm interested in right now and recently

music and literature
research (papers, essays)

There's a 2011 video of me describing what I do at the IOCT, De Montfort University (UK), where I'm an eternal part-timer.

  • See my academic profile on Mendeley and Academia.edu
  • Compiling a list of crucial concepts for the 21st century - in other words, things that would be good to share as common knowledge, partly to counter popular misconceptions and to encourage more thinking
  • Thinking about the best way to teach basic networked technology skills to successive generations who have grown up with the Wii and Facebook, but who don't understand the technical background or the practice of programming
  • Writing up notes on the cultural history of magic squares
  • Exploring how the nature of human creativity is defined by the self-organising patterns of the natural world, in a deeper and possibly more literal manner than simple analogy or artistic inspiration (paper accepted for Consciouness Reframed 2011)
  • Chipping away at a little app that aims to locate inconsistencies in belief systems and examine how we extract meaning from the natural world
research (projects)
  • Started an 18-month project (on a 0.6 post) with the Greenview Research Group at the IESD in March 2013, investigating the use of social software in building energy management and awareness (and coding stuff for it, like this public display and test app we did earlier, which won the Green ICT category in the EAUC Green Gown Awards)
  • Preparing for a project that aims to track individual movement accurately within sizeable human groups in a defined space at a finer resolution than offered by current GPS. This is an issue in Social Science, and aims to contribute in some small way to the Research Councils UK grand challenge What distinguishes the identities of individuals and groups, and what makes them cohere?
  • (Now finished) part of an IOCT-based group aiming to involve disabled creatives (of any discipline) in the development of technologies from the start
  • Chipping away at two ways to reduce the complexity of magic square sets and how they relate, and writing software to help in the process.
  • Creating an online artwork that acts as an oracle of random things (more later) and includes research into the so-called Mantegna Tarocchi - I was going to use the Ruby micro-framework Camping for this, but recently (after a massive trawl though the .js explosion) I've been considering Angular
  • Experiments with smoke, mirrors and lasers with artist Aidan Shingler
  • Created graphic files of astronomical constellations for stonemasons to make Aidan Shingler's StarDisc sculpture in Derbyshire
  • Writing up a few other feasibility explorations for interactive art-technology projects
research (previous papers, essays)
research (previous projects)

Tired? Yes, not that I'm complaining, one person just doesn't have enough resources to do all the fascinating things that can be done, which is why I love collaboration.

Professional work is under the Eco Consulting Partnership (download resume).
Artists' statement in Word or PDF.

Social online

I sometimes use a Tumblr microblog (latest posts here, as if you're interested, with all the billions of acres of bloggery out there, competing for eyeball time. Or scan my Delicious bookmarks, or even visit me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (no, I can't be bothered to do pretty things with those little icons).

Technotes and background

View through the kitchen windowThis site is big, but not clever. Hand-coded in 'emergent' spidery style (no top-down site plan here :-) in mostly valid HTML & CSS (plus archeological HTML from early days). Like a lot of busy people I neglect the poor thing that is my own website. But (as an early wiki user) I'm passionate about in-text links and look! Responsive kind-of design before the term was even coined :-)

My first grey box was a 1980's green-screen Amstrad PCW 8256 running CP/M. Logo (and BASIC) got me into 'graphic programming' with the turtle and Logo. The venerable HyperCard's HyperTalk on the Mac took me much further; I joined the HyperCard mailing list for a while; it had some distinguished yet friendly thinkers and programmers. For its time, Hypercard was a brilliant rapid application development tool and several similar tools (or xCards) emerged from its ashes. But try Shoes or Processing (or Ruby-processing), or (Python) NodeBox or [gasp] Field - go on! But the big news is that RunRev open-sourced LiveCode, which I supported. Finally, here's a link of graphic programming tools.

I used Apple Macs in the late 80's in graphics and DTP. My Dad (a lecturer in typography) bought home one of the first Macs in the UK. Macs also have a documented history in the origins of digital art. Of course, OS X is now BSD Unix-based (thanks, Steve!).

As Eco Consulting (established 1992) I advise arts, educational, ethical and voluntary organisations on web technologies, and like to promote Open Source and Free software. We also do website hosting on two Linux servers (in London: Debain, Dallas: Ubuntu) which consequently pay for themselves.

Apart from everyday hacking and a dumbly persistent passion for programming, I'm best as an information architect, design and web technology educator, interface designer and translator between programmers, clients and end users. In the past I left heavy-duty code to Greg Turner, who got a Computer Science M.Sc. 1st for his Java work on cubeLife and Ben Daglish, my Perl-monk (and Golang advocate) partner on various projects under Eco Consulting. Frustrated that experts and specialists take the complexity of their knowledge for granted, I try to write helpful beginner's guides and promote the agile philosophy in general.

I do standards-based HTML(5)/CSS(3) with JavaScript and JQuery (and until recently, occasional good old SSI which can be made to yield CSS variables), and know enough Apache, SQL, Python, Ruby, Perl, PHP etc. to survive (and work with other developers). I recently had a Django dabble (the blog will be up soon), and support _why's tiny Ruby framework Camping. I love Ruby as a language (try it out) and am currently really enjoying static site generator nanoc.

profile for Dave Everitt at Stack Overflow, Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers

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