The Pixel Wall and artThings

Mon, 14 Oct 2019

The Pixel Wall and artThings

Today a new video-installation went live at DeMontfort University on the front of the Vijay Patel building. The Pixel Wall comes with an editor that you open by scanning the on-screen QR code on your mobile phone. You can then draw your own video game sprite and add it to the screen for others to see.

It's a simple idea and intended to be a fun part of the One Giant Leap celebration of the moon-landings that's happening in Leicester this week. However, for me, it marks an important step in testing and finalising the release of my artThings technology.

artThings emerged from my PhD research as an infrastructure for enabling artworks running on micro-controllers, computers and web browsers to communicate with each other over mobile, WiFi and LoRa networks. I now want to establish it as an open standard for connecting digital artworks and this test will hopefully confirm that it's ready for public release.

Of course, it's not just about swapping video game sprites. In my artworks, I already use it to exchange artwork elements, colours, sounds, generative parameters and so on. I typically create networks of artworks for exhibitions and events, but I also have an interest in turning Leicester itself into a large "connected artwork" where diverse artworks placed around the city are able to communicate and respond to each other and to the data being produced by the multitude of sensors that are now around us.

I see this city-wide network of artworks being created by multiple artists and making use of the Internet of Things technologies that will soon become common-place as Leicester moves towards being a "smart city". This project might sound ambitious, but as the technology develops and more artists express an interest in it there is no reason why it can't be made to happen.

If you like the sound of what I'm looking to build please get in touch and I'll share more plans. For now, go to DMU (and, as of tomorrow, Curve) and have a play with the Pixel Wall. The video installation will be running all week between 12noon and 2pm.

Author: Sean Clark