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Masquerading as a student, Jotta joined a recent workshop with Hellicar & Lewis, who were giving a crash course in generative design for the students behind the forthcoming TEDxCentralSaintMartins conference.
It was a thoroughly entertaining Monday morning at Central Saint Martins' sparkling new Kings Cross campus. Organised by a group of CSM MA Communication Design students, who are the brains and the brawn behind the forthcoming TEDxCentralSaintMartins on March 28th, Hellicar & Lewis had been enlisted to bring their interactive antics and guide the girls (their course is mostly women and the two lone men were not present), in creating a generative logo for the TEDxCentralSaintMartins conference.
Joel Gethin Lewis and Pete Hellicar are long time friends who bring their disparate backgrounds (Pete was a pro-skateboard, Joel an RCA graduate and math geek), together to create new experiences, which people can interact with and share via open sourcing.
What I didn't know about them is that they also excel in "unprompted idiocy", finishing each others sentences and wise-cracking their way through a history of their work and their ethos, which follows a motto first penned by "a guy named Bill" - "To Thine Own Self Be True." Familiar with that one? They revel in "not doing the things you don't like doing", so that means sticking to art direction and skate boarding or in Joel's case, "hacking into computers and thinking about the scale of the universe."
The work they make occupies a new category of technology usage; combining digital and analogue, art direction and computing, product design and photography, blending old and new methods to create new experiences. So that's why the structure of this workshop began with paper prototyping - using simple coloured pens and white paper, scribbling and play-acting out ideas, a method which allows you to create pitches without getting bogged down in technicalities like money or knowledge, and ended with "black boxes" and the open frameworks used to create generative artworks.
We'll have to wait until next Wednesday at the conference to see the results of the day, but in the meantime the duo will be unveiling their latest project at the Infinite Kusama event this weekend in the Tate Modern turbine hall. Joel and Pete have created 'The Hello Cube', an interactive digital installation inspired by Kusama’s work that responds to both physical activity and Twitter commands. "it's the perfect project for us," Joel said, "it involves obession, fun and infinty."
Inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s The Passing Winter, in which the audience must peer into an unassuming small box to view a dancing display of colour, movement and light. The Hello Cube reacts to both social media and physical activity. So, tweeting “@TheHelloCube next red sparkles” sets off a sparkling red pattern in the cube and sends a twitpic of the display to the person who tweeted the original message. "You can control the cube, and thus the turbine hall remotely." Sounds pretty awesome.
Watch Feedback, a project by Hellicar & Lewis and Todd Vanderlin.
Infinite Kusama with Tate Collective at Tate Modern on Saturday 24 March, 13:00 - 18:00
15 – 25 yrs, free.