Archive for the 'Art' Category

5 Infographics to Rock Your World

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

And if they don’t yet, they very much should. Get with the agenda… you… you web 1.0 people you.

Click below to see my 5 favourite infographics, or infographic creators of all time.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to win a BAFTA for social media wizardry

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

We’ve all been in those marketing meetings when everyone gets a bit over excited talking about ‘award winning campaigns’. We’re high on inspiration, a bit rowdy perhaps, and start believing that perhaps world domination is merely one single well-timed mouse click away. Of course (most) awards worth having are hard fought little things, and your best shot is at something in your niche. I mean, you’re not exactly going to win a Nobel Prize for the best kick ass facebook application, right? For argument’s sake, let’s imagine for a second that you could win a BAFTA for your social media wizardry… how might you go about that?

Well, first of all you’ll be needing a great CONCEPT.
The best campaigns are based around ideas that are actually quite simple – an open concept that forms the brief for the final product. When you get your brief, you might like to deconstruct it and find a single nugget that stands out – something as simple as, say, the human need to feel loved. So take that concept, and create a new brief based around that. Let’s say you come up with: “Build a tool that illustrates, using social media, the human need to feel loved – and its tendency towards narcissism”.

Now that’s a brief.

Next you’ll need a CONNECTION or an association.
This is something that connects your concept (that floaty thing) to something existing, live, and kicking. For example, you might want to associate the concept with a group of people, your target audience perhaps… Not something too broad like ‘The yoof of today’. Perhaps instead choose something specific that we can all relate to, such as: “A young, media savvy unsigned band, fighting it out on Myspace, Facebook, Youtube and the like, in search of that elusive record deal”. Sound familiar?

Ok, we have a narcissistic unsigned band, fighting for a record deal, desperately wishing everyone loved them.

Now we need something totally unique, a RANDOMISER.
It’s the equivalent of feeding your fantastic idea through the Enigma machine to produce something totally unexpected. We need to take this existing (now grounded) concept, and warp it through the mind of a mad genius or two, shock it with electricity, make it travel back in time for a while, hook it up to the social web, give it the means to make music, and then squeeze it into an antique cupboard placed in the corner of a modern art gallery.

Now THAT sounds award winning, right?

Introducing Cybraphon – the BAFTA award winning Autonomous Emotional Robot Band

This 1 minute video explains it perfectly:

“Cybraphon automates the now-familiar process of musical performance, followed by obsessive tracking of online opinion, and subsequent mood swings. It is the 21st century equivalent of the player piano, but instead of your coins, it begs for your attention in the online world. Its music is purely acoustic, played robotically on antique and junk-shop instruments in a gallery in Edinburgh; but what it plays is driven by its mood, and this is shaped by its 24-hour monitoring of the whole of the web for comments, reviews, or simply traffic to this web page.”

Genius, no?

Well done Si Kirby for winning a BAFTA for the best use of social media I’ve ever seen. You’ve set the bar buddy, now watch while everyone struggles to keep up.

Here’s the HOW and WHY for those that want to know more.

I highly recommend that everyone watches one or two of the videos on Cybraphon’s video page to see the incredibly long and hard fought year of genius that led to the launch of Cybraphon.

Oh, and here’s a video and some photos that I took at the launch of Si’s last genius project ‘Etiquette’ (a table that could see and play very good music), which was on display at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop a couple of Edinburgh Festival’s ago. That’s me in orange on the right.


How to draw a story

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Last week I was having a look through the first site that ever sat on this domain. It was an architecture and photography portfolio from my uni years, and whilst clicking about I stumbled across an old project.

The project was to design a school on a brownfield site to form part of a brand new extension to a town just outside Edinburgh called Granton.

With only 3D models of what the rest of the new town was going to look like, sources of inspiration were limited to the history of the site and the surrounding architectural remnants. I decided to try and design the school so that it would tell a story. The story didn’t have a beginning, middle, and an end, per se, but it told the history of the ‘place’ and how it connected to the rest of Scotland. I racked my brains for weeks over how to use different vistas of the same space, or interlocking spaces to give just enough info and evoke just enough emotion to covey this story of sorts.

Flicking through my notes I saw this quote:

“Often a transition is marked by a structure,
as a sentence is marked by punctuation,
bringing pause in the rhythm of one’s progress.”

Ian Hamilton Findlay

I wasn’t totally happy with the final design, but I always though that the ambition was an honourable one. Perhaps if I’d been reading back then I’d have had more success.

Here’s how to draw a story:
XKCD how to draw a story

That there is top notch data visualisation. ;)

Introducing Wordle… Word Clouds with added creativity.

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Wordle - Word Cloud

Wordle: it’s good to know that I’m ‘definitely‘ feeling definite!

You can paste in some text, or do as I do and create a word cloud from a url.

Nod to Jennie, awesome site!

Renaissance series

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Here’s a selection of photos from a series of six (the rest of which you can see on my flickr page if you’d like).

If you wouldn’t mind helping me out, I’d be incredibly interested to hear what you feel these photos communicate to you. They were a response to a competition brief, and if by some miracle they get shortlisted, I promise I’ll tell you what the story is meant to be. Till then, do let me know what you think as it’d be a great way for me to learn how to successfully express an idea visually.




Big thanks go to Ross Kilgour and Tess Mitchell for being my beautiful and imaginative models. They were both superb. Thanks also to Anna Gibson who agreed to be my photographers lackey and press the smoke button and move the lights about on demand.

100 years at the ECA

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

The Edinburgh college of art are celebrating 100 years of their history, and I was asked by the Skinny Mag to go down and take some photos at the press event.

I turned up to find myself among a number of pro photographers from places like Reuteurs and the Herald, and as usual I was the only girl, and the only one under 30. I think something definitely needs to change about the photography industry. I never would have guessed that it was so male dominated when its essentially an arts career. I supose it involves handing machinery though, so maybe that’s what attracts the boys.

I took photos of four artists’ work, but this one stood out as a favourite. I think it looks like a painting (though I may be tooting my horn a little hard there), the artist has a fantastically interesting face and glows beautifully in the light coming through her (equally beautiful) glass droplets that were hanging from the ceiling. The light was terribly low (despite flicking almost every available switch) so the high ISO meant it’s not as clean as I’d have liked. Nonetheless, if anyone knows this girl, I’d like to pass it on to her.

Artist holding glass

Etiquette: interactive music installation.

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

You should have seen this, it was amazing! My mate Si and some ever so musical friends of his (Si’s musical too) created a table that could see and speak. On the table you placed different packages, each package containing a different sound and ability to alternate its sound. Depending on where you placed the package on the table, the sound would move around the room to match.

After months of preparation, design and creation, ‘Etiquette’ debuted in a white room down at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop in Leith.

Rave reviews were received during the festival, but at the end of August there was nowhere for it to go. Plans were being made to dismantle and discard this wonderful machine! But at last, someone has come to the rescue and Etiquette is now going to be set up in the Edinburgh Central Lending Library on George IV Bridge. I don’t know exactly when, but perhaps if you check back at the Etiquette website you may be able to find out more.

Here are some photos which I took during a talk and hands-on session which Si and his musical pals – also known as FOUND held near the end of the festival.

Oh, and by the way, you can download some wonderful music (yes, proper music) that was created by this machine in the steady hands of FOUND, from this link: Download