New Talent Residencies

Posted on Tue 6 Sep 2016
Jono Sandilands' work

Playable prints, curious playgrounds and a treasure hunt of Britain's steel towns... these are the brilliant ideas from the recipients of Watershed's New Talent Residencies. We thought we’d find out how they are getting on so far…

First up is Jono Sandilands - fresh from his MA in Printmaking at UWE, he’s a gifted graphic artist who makes artwork layered with digital technologies. For his residency Jono is interested in making Playable Prints, which he describes as a crossover of traditional printmaking with embedded digital technology, interactivity and gaming. Playable Prints builds on Jono's previous work – including ping-pong tables that create physical prints as you play. He says:

“Playable Prints are physical printed artworks with embedded interactivity and games. The idea has developed from my recent work on the Printmaking MA at UWE, where I embedded looping video footage into screenprints. I’m now itching to add gameplay and explore ways to make the physical and digital integrations appear more seamless. I always like to dive head first into a project, when sometimes my brain gets carried away with the infinite world of possibilities…”

He continues:

“My gameplan has been to quickly test out ideas for different subject matters (games), to answer a few questions - How will digital embed (seamlessly) into the print? and will it be as successful as the previous pinball prints? Being used to working in solitude and referring to the internet for advice it's great now to be based at the Studio where I'm surrounded by knowledgeable people!”

Next up is artist Tenaya Steed’s National Treasure Hunt – which asks how might creative technologies be used to identify and preserve what remains treasured in England’s most unsearchable town?

Tenaya says:

“I propose a National Treasure Hunt: a search for characters, unique trades, iconic places and above all stories of identity in Britain’s steel towns - starting with Scunthorpe. I’m interested in creating some kind of device that can be used on field trips to Scunthorpe to learn more about the area and encourage interaction with locals in a playful and engaging way. This will be the beginnings of a treasure trail that people anywhere in the world can go on to learn more about fading industries in unique towns.

A few weeks in, I'm super keen to create 3 tools in the treasure hunt tool kit - one for finding people, one for finding places, one for finding artefacts. I then need to work on ways to present the trail, so anyone, anywhere, can discover the treasures we identify. It’s such an exciting journey!”

Finally, One Five West are also on the New Talent programme. Artistic duo Sophie Bullock and Anna Horton are exploring ways of taking their work out into public spaces to create playful and collaborative experiences for people. They are exploring how they combine art and technology to create social and playful experiences between strangers - and are looking to respond to sites in Bristol to investigate how their artwork can be used to create chance encounters cities, enabling social and creative exchanges.

“Our time at Pervasive Media Studio has been spent finding out how we can subvert the written and unwritten rules in public spaces that create hostile environments, by turning them into something more cooperative and playful. The residency has helped us to spend time to discovering what it is about working in public spaces we are interested in, and how we can use our artwork to encourage community participation. It’s been an amazing space to explore our ideas and realise what is at the heart of the work!

We’ve focused our play-tests in St. Catherine’s Place in Bedminster, a site that’s planned for demolition in favour of new apartments. Here, we’ve been using the architecture in the space to create interactions that aim to bring people together in play. Now, we’re considering how to take this forward by exploring how playful interactions and gaming mechanics can repurpose sites; from roaming play boxes to create games across the city, to site-specific installations.”

We are delighted to announce that the Residency Showcase will take place here at Watershed on Tue 4 Oct at 18.30. Book your free tickets in advance, as it’s sure to sell out. All the artists will join us for a panel discussion followed by a live demo of what they’ve created.

Check back with each Project Blog for the very latest updates.