Dave Webb Portfolio 2021
Bio
Completing a MSc in Creative Computing in 2020 at Bath Spa University, cemented a career change from traditional IT to become a freelance creative technologist and artist. I also lecture at Bath Spa in Creative Computing.
I am a resident at The Studio, Bath’s incubator for creative businesses, and also creative mentor for media at Emerge, Bath Spa University’s incubator for new creative, arts and performance talent. I am a member of the Control Shift Network, a Bristol based collective running inclusive arts/tech events.
I was funded by SWCTN in early 2020 to develop and deliver a workshop AI for Nervous Humans, and recently jointly awarded a SWCTN Data Prototype grant to develop a creative technology data solution to sustainable behaviour in citizens.
I work closely with Little Lost Robot and other South West organisations to lower barriers to accessing art and technology, whether for empowerment, employment, or joy. I develop and deliver workshops in creative coding and the use of technology to artists and anyone with little or no coding knowledge.
I exhibit when I can, and collaborate with other artists creatively, or providing technology support.
I am not fully an artist, nor a designer, nor a software developer, but I bring what I can of each element to my work.
Mission
We seem to have an obsession with technology and what it can do for us, becoming the solution for everything, even to problems created by technology. I prefer to remain critical, and yet I love to embrace the possibilities. For art, technology, in many forms, provides new tools to help with existing media, or as new media, but it cannot and should not be seen as displacing the art itself. What are we trying to say, invoke, document or communicate? Is technology a useful tool for a particular  job? Can it be hushed so that it does not overshadow themessage (unless it is the message).
In my own work I typically work from both ends: exploring novel possibilities afforded by technology; and studies of phenomena, of nature, or human experience, and (a pet pursuit) the hidden workings of our brains and minds. In my work for others I use technology as an enabler for their visions.
Remented (see below) is a journal of my exploration of the human mind, brought to life through animations and mini games.

Projects

16×16

at Dareshack

About...
A collaboration with Pete Bennett @peteinfo, 16×16 is an experimental audio and visual sequencer using a retro themed 16×16 grid, and AI generated inspirational prompts. Exhibiting at @dareshack event space in Bristol 18-20 Noveber 2022

Outside In at Shepton Mallet Prison for Somerset Art Weeks 2022

About...

Outside In is a group exhibition hosted in, and responding to, the cells in C-Wing at Shepton mallet Prison. The show was curated by Luminara Florescu for Somerset Art Weeks in 2022. I used a compination of projected original animations, created with p5.js, EL wire sculpure, and a soundscape of found sounds to create an installation that imagined a world beyond the walls.

Prototype data explorer for Student experience data

About...

A prototype data explorer for Bath Spa Universities NET project, designed to allow open day visitors to explore student experience information and data in aplayful way.

Mapping Imagination: Visualising a Creative and Cultural Ecosystem

About...
After months of discussion with House of Imagination’s Dr. Penny Hay, initially inspired by the above animated vine for Forest of Imagination in 2022,  we secured funding from the Studio Recovery Fund 2022 to develop a first prototype digital tool to map or visualise the rich complexities of a creative ecosystem. We have a lot to do, and progress will be reported here by the end of September, following the showcase event.

Metamorphosis – a group mixed media art exhibition in Frome by Emerge studio

About...

Residents of Emerge Studio in Bath, organised a group mixed media art exhibition in Gallery at the Station, in Frome, Somerset in July 2022. The show included a work I developed in collaboration with Coral Manton, using a simple algorithm and generative layouts to construct plausible advert-like statements and ‘truths’. This is part of an on-going set of developments around algorithms and AI in our lives.

MShed – Think Global Act Bristol, Air quality data visualisation

About...

Data visualisation using animated, ‘sooty’ sparrow illustrations to represent the air quality around Bristol, suing data from Bristol City Councils public sensors. The piece was concieved and designed with artist Lisa Cole. The visulaisation incorporated designs by the museum staff, illustrations by Lisa, and is made using P5.js with a combination of animated stills and generative effects. The Thing Global, Act Bristol exhibition is on at MShed, Bristol, UK until October 2022.

Lost Horizon VR hybrid venue and AI Hall of mirrors at Glastonbury 2022

About...
Lost Horizon is Shangri-La’s digital experiments following the cancellation of Glastonbury festival in 2020. Along with Coral Manton and Sam Sturtivant from Bath Spa University’s Creative Computing team, I helped create a set of AI and VR experiences in this corner of the festival in 2022 to provoke ideas around hybrid venues, and a critical look at the pervasive presence and infuence of AI around us.
Broistol and Bath Creative R&D, who funded Lost Horizon under their Amplified Publishing phase documented the project here.
You can find a more a full write up here.

‘Exquisite Obsolescence’ installation at Fringe Arts Bath, WordPlay Exhibition, June 2022

About...
A collaboration with Pete Bennett, Exquisite obsolescence is a staged conversation, a game of word association or exquisite corpse across the decades, between a 1980’s carousel slide projector, and a modern micro projector displaying code-generated images. The slide projector poses themes (as text) relating to technology and media through the ages, while the code responds to these prompts with phrases generated by a machine learning algorithm.

The machines do not understand the same signals or technologies. There is no common platform or interface. They are not synchronised. They are side by side, connected only by the discussion on media. The two parts of the installation have been developed in isolation, with the two artists occasionally conferring on practicalities. The two elements will meet for the first time at FAB to talk across the decades.

In the Meanwhile 2: creative technology support for three artists

About...

As part of In the Meanwhile 2: a winter light trail of illuminated art works in empty Bath shop fronts in early 2022, I brought a variety of creative technology skills to works by three artists. For Kate McGregor and Juliet Duckworth I embedded programmed LED’s (with Arduino’s) to create effects sympathetic to the art works. For Julie Stark, I created and projected a Kaleidoscope of her plant cell images using p5.js.

In the Meanwhile (with Little Lost Robot)

About...
In the Meanwhile was an ACE funded series of exhibition and public engagement workshops by Little Lost Robot, in a vacant city centre space in Bath. The exhibition featured soft robotic spaces and a series of interactive experiences in a “digital playground”.

‘Higher’ with the Studio Recovery Fund

About...
 A research and proof of concept funded by The Studio Recovery Fund, to explore what gets us dancing and what stops us, with a view to digitally creating the cues and triggers to get you dancing at home, whether you are reluctant or the first one on the floor. A Project in collaboration with Alyson Minkley and Harvey Jones

Inch by Inch: Beyond the Line of Sight

About...
As part of the Inch by Inch travelling exhibition, I collaborated with artist, Angel Greenham, on her piece, Beyond the Line of Sight – an examination of the unseen role of data, tracking, images and algorithms in our life.

Lockdown Table

About...

A short film exploring the role of a table as a ‘place’ at the centre of my family’s lockdown life. Created for and submitted as part of the Pause:Small Stories exhibition.

 

Be More Circular – Showcase talk

About...

At the SWCTN data showcase event, we got to expand on our vision for guiding citizens towards more circualar, sustainable choices through technology, storytelling and data.

 

Be More Circular

About...

Be More Circular was a prototype funded by the  SWCTN data prototype round. We set out to find engaging ways to make people aware of the impact of their purchases and guide them towards more circular sustainable choices using storytelling and interactive web experiences. The prototype can be found here.

The Studio Breathes

About...

The Studio Breathes gives Studio residents a mobile web app to capture their breathing rhythm, by visualising and tracing on the screen, in an elliptical path. Tracing up as the inhale, down as they exhale. The very act of thinking of your breathing requires you to become conscious of an otherwise autonomic process. This will likely result in a change to breathing, in many they will breath more slowly and deeply.

Participants are invited to reflect on their role in the studio, whether physically present, or working remotely. Reflective prompts are provided by Ximena, who has used such prompts to encourage participants to undertake immersive activities in her own work.

Finally, after submitting their breathing, and thus becoming present, they can observe a visualisation of their own breathing, and the collective breathing rhythms of all currently present breathers.

More Info at http://the.studiobreathes.org/about

 

AI for Nervous Humans

About...

AI for Nervous Humans is a workshop for everyone taking a critical look at AI, and then a playful look at how AI can be used easily in creative or practical projects. The emphasis is on making AI accessible while being playful and critical. Development for this workshop was funded by SWCTN.

Control: A Digital Storytelling Experiment

About...
 A project for MSc Creative Computing, This experiment in digital storytelling uses a mobile web app to deliver a non-narrative collection of fragments. Through relating these fragments and provocations to their own experiences, the audience each create their own meta narrative, and leave with a question opened up. Created in P5.js, with a variety of voice, film, written text, animatins and provications, every elemnt of the experience, including the interface, poses a question about control.

Seb Shrugged

About...

My first ever Unity projectis a 2D game built using a good deal of frame animated pixel art. A complete departure from my typical generative art in p5.js and processing. It gave me freedom to explore a more narrative style of digital creativity.

A project for my MSc Creative COmputing at Bath Spa University.

Four Sketches

About...

A collection of four recent sketches built in p5.js along typical themes for me – natural processes and phenomena, echoes in code.

Revolution

About...
 A project for MSc Creative Computing, hackspace module. This project used pose controlled gestures to echo ideas of people power in the face of oppressive forces. Using Processing for visuals, and PoseNet model in Runway ML for pose detection, audience members could drive the narrative, exercise their citizen power and eventually, if united, overthrow their oppressor.

Commonwealth

About...

As part of 44AD Gallery’s exhibition for The Art of Communication in the Commonwealth, Discourse and Influence is a p5.js based sketch using flocking style behaviour to show the shifting influence of two opposing voices in a landscape of followers.

Otherwhere, Elsewhen

About...

In a time ruled by COVID19 and video calls, we find that Here and Now are less definite than they used to be. An exploration of time and place with your webcam, powered by p5.js. Created for and to be exhibited at Fringe Arts Bath (FAB) 2020.

https://cranbim.github.io/Fab20Happenings/index.html

OpenFrames – Playground

About...
The OpenFrames Playground exhibition at Bath Artists Studios, was due to be a celebration of cross-discipline arts with a changing month-long programme of events and exhibits, curated by @arterylab. Due to COVID19 and imminent lockdown, the studio closed after the opening night. This piece is a series of p5.js animations playfully projected over a canvas painting , Magic Touch by Northern Soul inspired artist Leonard Green. The animations borrowed themes and colours from the painting and (dis)respectfully complemented it.

Remented

About...
Having developed a fascination with the human brain, mind and behaviour, I feel frustrated at how hard some of the psychology and neuroscience is to grasp and to relate to our own familiar experiences. Sensing a role for creative, interactive representations, I have been developing simple digital visualisations and games to illustrate the aspects of the mind and brain that I have researched. Remented is my platform for sharing my learnings and my animated maquettes. I have been using two dimensional visuals (developed in p5.js), but see a potential for more immersive experiences to place the viewer inside a simplified mind, from where they can relate their own experiences to a fun and abstracted simulacrum of behaviour and mind.
The site itself is here

Equals Thought?

About...
Created for and Exhibited in University of Bath’s 2018 show “Visions of Science”.  Equals thought simulates the propagation of synaptic “firing” across a simple brain according to connections between neurons, and their predisposition to excite or inhibit one another, according to sense data derived from its simulated “world”. The work cycles through three different visualisations of the behaviour.
The work is built in p5.js using Pixi.js to offload some of the graphical heavy lifting to the GPU. It does suffer from performance limitations and I was limited to around 1000 neurons and 10,000 synaptic connection.
See the work in action. https://remented.com/equals-thought/
See a blog post explaining some of the development. http://crispysmokedweb.com/2018/07/p5-gpu-pixi-js/

 

while(me.sub(data)>0){}

About...
Submitted (but not accepted) for the 2019 Fringe Arts Bath festival, under the Hidden exhibition, this work superimposes a slightly grotesque slit-scanned  capture of the viewer’s face, superimposed on a shifting collage of data scraps. 
The artistic intent is to consider the vulnerability and visibility of a true, individual identity in a digital world, where we are represented by data (our own, aggregated with millions of others’), and the statistical assumptions built about us by algorithms to serve our day to day interactions.
Technically the piece is built in p5.js,  and (with some irony) the work uses a machine learning algorithm (POSENet from the ml5.js library) to identify the position of the viewer’s face. Slices of the face are captured from the webcam, and used to build the phantom self. The collage of data elements forming the backdrop is made of pictures of data sources from my own digital life (usage data, purchase history, fitness, dna, position tracking, social feeds).

FrunkelWorm

About...
A 3D highly articulated robot simulated in Processing’s 3D renderer. 
The robot is designed to traverse a 3D space using it’s very complex kinematics to create 3D drawings.
The kinematics are so complex that I feel it probably needs some Genetic or ML algorithm to master its motion in a more deliberate fashion. The robot mechanics and polygons are all built with vertices in code – no 3D models are used. This taught me more than I ever wanted to know about 3D geometry and there are a few geometric flaws.

 

BeHere

About...
BeHere was developed for and long listed in the 2017 Lumen Prize for digital art (interactive category). It uses a browser on viewers’ mobile phones and a local Node.js server (running on a Raspberry Pi and with a small WiFi Router) to allow devices to join together and create an aggregated digital display. A series of short visualisations created in p5.js appear to flow from one device’s screen to the next. 
The artistic intent was to create a digital experience that united viewers in a shared experience that required presence, proximity and cooperation, using the devices that often leave us disengaged from our neighbours.

See Pilgrims

About...
Created as an interactive installation for a friends party in a barn, SeePilgrims used Processing and a Microsoft Kinect to capture depth data about viewers’ bodies in the room, and interpret their body shapes and motion in different ways through a series of changing visualisations. This was projected onto a screen (approx 4m x 2.5m) just above the Kinect.
A series of posts explaining the development process can be found here: http://crispysmokedweb.com/2015/08/seepilgrims-part1/

Playful Sketches Sampler

Click a sketch to launch its Codepen

Community

Involvement and leadership in local creative technology and art groups and activities

Algorithmic Art Workshops for beginners

About...
An algorithmic art workshop for absolute beginners. Starting with paper and dice we introduce the steps a computer will go through, and the role of chance in making interesting decisions in algorithmic art. Uses the p5.js web editor to speed up and scale up these creations. Created for the Algorithmic Art Season at Royal Cornwall Museum in 2019, and run at the Bath Digital Festival 2019.

The Viennese Salon

About...

The Viennese Salon @theviennesesalon is an artists meetup created by Austrian artist Caroline Vitzthum @vitzthum_caroline, as a friendly cosy space for artists, performers, and makers to share ideas, seek critical dialogue in a safe and open environment. I have been privileged to be invited as a member and a speaker.  

Control Shift Network

About...
Control Shift Network is a collective of artists, technologists and producers, planning Control Shift, a weekend event and ten day exhibition looking to open a world of digital art to a diverse and inclusive audience in Bristol, including talks, workshops, performances and digital art.

    Creative Coding in Bath

    About...
    Creative Computing in Bath, is a monthly meetup of both experienced coders and the curious. We hold discussions on methods and practise, share and discuss our work, and run workshops (mainly targeted at beginners) where we share some point where an artistic theme is explored through some technical method.

    Processing Community Day / You Make the Rules!

    About...
    Processing Community Day Bristol was a global series of local events to celebrate the crossover or art, code and community. The Bristol event was organised by a SouthWest team of educators, artists, technologists (including myself) and was a great success. We had a day of hands-on exploration of code and art aimed at beginners and rounded the day with an Algorave. The event has spawned a new series of events: You Make the Rules! aiming to bring art/code/community events to locations around Bristol.

    Bath Machine Learning

    About...
    The Bath Machine learning group is made up of mathematicians, data scientists, developers and the curious. The group holds talks, workshops, hacks and provides a friendly place for the uninitiated to get to grips with some of the concepts and tools. The image shows the result from a recent style transfer workshop, using Python and a pre-built style transfer model built in Tensor, running on IBM Watson.

      Early Projects

      A selection of very early, pre-digital art projects made over the years 

      Collage

      About...

      Untitled.  A collage 4m x 2m

      c1992

       

      Mobile

      About...
      Untitled. A suspended, mobile sculpture, responds to air movements. A gauze membrane hangs in ‘cells’ from a series of counterbalanced arms that allow independent movement but also propagation of energy between cells.
      Approximately 1.8m x 1.8m x 1.5m drop.

      c1994 

      Sculpture

      About...
      Untitled
      A sculpture of approximately 100 suspended plaster elements, hung between two plywood discs (1.2m across 2.4m apart). Created as part of an OCN Sculpture course at City of Bath College c1999

       

      Sculpture

      About...
      Untitled
      Steel fabrication, arc welding. Approx 48cm x 42cm x 20cm
      Created as part of an OCN Sculpture course at City of Bath College. c2001

       

      Dave Webb

      https://codepen.io/cranbim/