Where the Sky Widens


Published by Harriet Phipps


Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Enthusiastic, curious people were invited to participate in a group workshop led by Nikki Pugh as part of a research project that investigates the use of sculptural, location-aware objects as a tool for thinking and talking about distant places.

Read Nikki’s MA dissertation about the work here.


“The practical component of this research project centred on the design and use of paper ‘pods’ supplemented with computational processing and electronics to make them react with movement and light to being pointed in a particular direction.

I ran workshops with different groups of people and we used the time it took participants to make the pods to talk about the distant places to which we have strong emotional connections. We worked and talked at the pace of folded tabs and PVA glue—4 or 5 hours—giving us time to share stories; consider our relationships to our pasts, to people, and to places; and also to question the implications of crafting our own interfaces for digital technologies.

After having selected a location that was of significance to them, participants then had time to walk with the pod they had made, now programmed to signal when person and pod were facing towards that place.

The workshops were held with members of the public at Birmingham Open Media; Visual Sociology staff and students at Goldsmiths, University of London; and with staff and researchers connected to the Centre for Mobilities Research and Lancaster Institutite for the Contemporary Arts at Lancaster University. Two further workshops had been planned, but were not realised.

Rather than describing the pods and workshops in detail, the following chapters are intended to complement the practical work through exploration of my practice, indicating relevant contextual frameworks and evaluation of the research project as a whole.”


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