Dave Webb Portfolio 2020
Bio
I recently completed a MSc in Creative Computing at Bath Spa University, cementing a career change from traditional IT to creative technologist and artist. 
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, including an online mini-festival in 2020.
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 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

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/