Art/art-technology practice

880 (Dec 2019)

screenshot of 880

(With Fania Everitt) First exhibited at "Interact 2019" LCB Depot, Leicester.

880 online "save to home screen" for mobile.
GitHub 880 code

magic square galleries

Variations on the magic line traced by joining the integers of a magic squares in sequence or other adaptations. (I've been using magic squares since the 1970s but only discovered Vera Molnar's work during the research for this!)

Personal Space (2018)

screenshot of Personal Space

(With Fania Everitt) First exhibited April 2018

Personal Space online "save to home screen" for mobile.
GitHub Personal Space code

individual diary entries containing words programmatically selected to match the intensity of live space weather data (intensity of geomagnetic activity and extent of solar wind). The text is continually refreshed from over 500 intimate writings

Computer Arts Society talk, Leicester 2015

(Video by Sean Clark: temporarily unavailable)

This gave an overview of some recent and current research/experimental threads.

This is expanded, together with more documentation about two previous larger participatory works 64 Samples (2000) and Club Confessional (2001) in the (rather costly) Explorations in Arts and Technology (2018) (and in the 2002 version) which featured a cover showing the movement-tracking system Mike Quantrill and I set up around 2000.

cubeLife (1998-2011-now)

small picture of cubeLife

(first exhibited 1999, last exhibited at DMU Cube gallery, Phoenix Square, Leicester UK, 2011)

cubeLife at original bioMatrix web page 1999 and on the Archive of Digital Art

galleries of stills (1999-2011)

"through recording an individual's heartbeat on computer then translating it into an image and an object (the artist) has created art which is completely individual to the viewer." - Artists Newsletter, May 2000

More about cubeLife

The origins of cubeLife are documented here. It is part of a larger ongoing project (see based on magic squares and cubes, originally initiated in collaboration with Greg Turner at the Creativity & Cognition Research Studios (C&CRS) and the former Gallery of the Future at Loughborough University, supported by Arts Council England Year of the Artist funding with other C&CRS artists working with technology. The audio (with sound engineer Kate Rounding) is based on digitally treated sounds of a struck clay bowl filled with water. The heartbeat monitor and earthy clay bowl bridge the chasm between our four-million year old biological origins and the rapidly-evolving digital world.

When exhibited, the cubeLife screen is blank, only starting with audience input via a heartbeat monitor. Each participant creates a new magic cube and sound in virtual 3D space from a heartbeat monitor (finger clip or later wireless hand grips). With a finite life, the cube travels about the space leaving tracks and combining its sound with the cubes of others, building a non-repeating audio presence. Each cube eventually dies, leaving only tracks. The whole represents the collective heartbeats of every participant. The static screen shots capture only a partial range of visuals from the work.

The Emergency Artlab (2000-2002)

With Mike Quantrill and (on one occasion) Matt Rogalsky and Pip Greasley, the Emergency Art Lab was formed to deliver rapidly-created performance and participatory/interactive works at specific non-gallery spaces. We created art-technology work on the spot with some live coding in response to an event, with a tongue-in-cheek element concerning the status of art-technology (the lab coats). Live works took place at Leicester and Cambridge in the U.K. and Tilburg in the Netherlands. The following three projects were the main outputs:

screen shot of performed digital work

64 samples (2000): the commissioned work involving 64 delegates at the Wired & Dangerous conference (original site now gone).

"An image, audio clip, and some anonymised personal data was taken from 64 delegates to the conference, added to a virtual 3D cube of flesh, then animated live as the sound was mixed"

Club Confessional participants at Tilburg, Holland

Club Confessional (2001): a commissioned work at The Junction, Cambridge and 013, Tilburg, Holland.

"A white cube was constructed in the club. Inside were instructions encouraging participants to diclose secrets into a microphone. Their mute video was displayed on the dance floor, while their audio was piped elsewhere throughout the club (effectively anonymous) for others so hear."

Image generated by movement through an infra-red sensor grid

Sensor Grid (2001): Produced as part of a residency creating a digital artwork to find various ways of tracking human movement through an infra-red sensor grid. Hosted at Loughborough University, not exhibited.

"The form and light intensity of the projected image reflected accumulative movement through the grid, the image changing as participants moved (or in one case danced) about the space. Five notes from a whole-tone scale sounded as beams were crossed, with two beams triggering an entire tone sequence. During public tests people smiled with pleasure at the effect…"

Digital sketches and small works

Image generated by GPS movement tracking I continually produce experimental code sketches to test an idea or try something in various graphic programming environments, covering a range of technologies over time from the humble animated GIF, though CSS, to Processing and NodeBox. The Java-based Processing works are no longer supported in browsers, others must be downloaded and run on your machine, five are adapted from pre-existing or tutorial code, the rest are original. Cellular Automata (temporary equilibrium between 'ice' and 'fire') runs on GitHub (see code)


There is more material (sometimes opening a new window) scattered throughout the site. If you find it, great, but—like the automatic drawing—it's no longer my main focus. For many years I also maintained a special interest in art and disability, see biography for a personal view.

"Specialisation is for insects"

Dave behind the scenes with four computers at Wired and Dangerous

Artist's statement

Until recently I was a free-floating senior research fellow at the IoCT (plus energy monitoring at the IESD, now as spin-off company EcoVisum) at De Montfort University, Leicester. In the late 90s and early 2000s I was an independent researcher at Loughborough University, based the supportive art-technology environment maintained by Ernest Edmonds and Linda Candy, where I developed cubeLife. I now keep an ideas sketchbook for new projects, and have a couple of ongoing projects, one being a mix of art and a certain area of mathematics. My last artist statement and condensed visual portfolio are here (both outdated for now):

I have an ongoing interest in the ideas that shape culture, particularly those that change our perspective of the natural world and ourselves. Historically, this includes the influence of Theosophy on artists during the modernist period.


cubeLife and magic matrices

If you'd like to know more about the history and context of art-technology, see (among many other books) Media Art Histories and White Heat Cold Logic. A detailed outline of MediaArt Histories is available.

Contact me here…
I make art to express what might otherwise remain unmanifest
and to connect with people who respond and participate
within group activity to progress through intelligent co-operation