Eighteen current students, eight members of staff and four graduates have created graphics for the Four Words: Technology project, which will be animated over 30 seconds to an exclusive soundtrack by artist and composer, Scanner.
The animations, 60 in total, will be presented on the 9m high x 2.4m wide media wall in Platform, redeveloped by owners Bruntwood and which houses a new tech incubator for Leeds. They will be shown from Thursday 23rd November, to mark the building’s official opening.
The digital commission is just one part of Bruntwood’s commitment to Leeds’s Capital of Culture bid 2023, by creating opportunities for local artists to exhibit their work.
Contributing their work are: academics Dr Alan Dunn, Dr Lisa Stansbie, Jo Hamill, Amanda Wanner, Ian Truelove and Graham Hibbert (all from the School of Art, Architecture and Design), Ben Dalton (School of Computing, Creative Technologies and Engineering), and Nasser Hussain (School of Cultural Studies and Humanities); students and graduates of MA Art and Design, BA (Hons) Fine Art, BA (Hons) Graphic Arts and Design; and a PhD student.
Other contributors to the project, which was commissioned by Platform’s owners and developers, Bruntwood, include: Karl Bartos, long-term member of pioneering electronic band Kraftwerk; Eddie Berg, founder of the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology; sound engineers ARUP; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; East Street Arts; and Leeds United Supporters' Trust.
Alan said: “The system in Platform with 24 high-definition 4k screens is as cutting-edge as media gets at the moment and this is a fantastic opportunity to present some thoughts from our students alongside some incredibly respected practitioners, all brought together to think about our relationship with technology. We have invited an NHS doctor and a member of the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust to think about health and sport and others reflect on our screen-based life, travel, sound and communication.
“We chose FOUR in response to some scientists proposing that when they finally reveal the foundations of our ‘reality’, they suggest it may be numerical and, if so, likely to be a strong even number such as four. It is also the only number with the same number of letters in its English name as its value. We felt it was an interesting challenge to ask people to provide statements – no questions – using this very limited word count. Some are direct and some are more obtuse and we’ve also inserted four quotes about science and technology from the past century from HG Wells, Luigi Russolo, Mary Shelley and Gilbert Ryle.”
Four Words: Technology will be in place for three months and marks the beginning of a new curatorial programme at Platform.
Simon Bushell, Bruntwood’s arts co-ordinator, said: “Four Words: Technology is an outstanding response to our brief and we’re delighted that so many established and new digital artists from Leeds Beckett have contributed to the project.
“Their ideas are adventurous and innovative and perfectly reflect the nature of the building which is designed as a place for creativity and collaboration and to provide a gateway to the city’s burgeoning digital and tech sectors.”
Platform provides flexible workspace for more than 1,200 people from businesses of all sizes. A dedicated tech incubator within the building will enable entrepreneurs, tech start-ups and second stage businesses to thrive in a like-minded community, with access to a bespoke programme of business support, social and networking events.
With the screens located in the main entrance to Platform, Four Words: Technology and future works shown will be visible to all members of the public 8:30am-6pm Monday-Friday.
Dr Alan Dunn is an artist and part-time lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and a graduate of Glasgow School of Art and The Art Institute of Chicago. Since 1988 he has been presented artworks on public billboards and in numerous non-gallery settings and has recently been working with outdoor digital screens, including the 31m Media Wall in Liverpool.