An Ephemeral Garden

This post accompanies FoAM’s sound installation Ephemeral Garden presented at the Croatian pavilion of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018. The exhibition “Cloud Pergola / The Architecture of Hospitality” is conceived as a collaborative site-specific environment, crossing the boundaries of architecture, art, engineering, robotic fabrication and computational models.

FoAM digest - Spring 02018

In this aperiodic newsletter we bring together current fragments from FoAM's various (and varied) outposts. Find out how we engage with our living environments and their multifarious inhabitants. Track us through arctic forests and botanic gardens, simulated courtrooms and repurposed armouries, in bright daylight and the darkest shadows. Read on to discover what we'll be up to in the coming months, and any possible confluences with your own journeys...

Viruscraft: Notes from workshop 2

In April, we held our second Viruscraft workshop to begin testing a game and tangible interface that we are making together with evolutionary biologist Dr. Ben Longdon. This post describes the development process to date, and the outcomes of the game testing workshop.

AccessLab 2018: The launch of a new workshop series

We are launching a series of three new AccessLab events for 2018 - for those working in the fishing and marine sectors, journalism and blogging, and parliamentary, council and policy roles. The AccessLab project aims to improve access to and the judgement of scientific evidence, through pairing scientific researchers with people who are seeking reliable information. Our focus is on developing skills for finding scientific information and judging its reliability, rather ...

Dust and shadow. Fieldnotes #2

Thanksgiving. A convivial gathering around a long wooden table, laden with food and filled with laughter. The familiar cadences of a feast, yet one with unfamiliar origins. We were temporarily adopted into our collaborators’ lives and welcomed as returning family members. Kith and kin, ken or kin. Akin. Some rootless others uprooted, weathering the end-of-term academic storm. A temporary intensification of familiarity. Threads are picked up from conversations months old ...

FoAM 02017, in a rearview mirror

In several FoAM studios we hold seasonal observances to celebrate yearly cycles. The beginning of February is one such feast. The inception of spring in the Northern hemisphere, autumn in the south. In some cultures this is considered auspicious time to review what has been done in the past year; to remember the achievements and let go of regrets, before moving into a new season. As if looking through a ...

Viruscraft hardware prototyping: etching PCBs

While we experiment with new fabrication techniques in order to shorten supply chains (with a philosophy of collapse in mind), electronics is problematic. Components can be salvaged and reclaimed but a particular problem is printed circuit board manufacture.

Like many we have tended to outsource this work to China, where the costs allow us to do short-run prototyping with our tiny budgets. Are these lower costs simply due to scale ...

Midimutant in MagPi Magazine

Here's an article on midimutant we did with Aphex Twin for MagPi Magazine, written by Sean McManus. Most of the work on this project recently has revolved around exploring custom hardware using old FM synth chips from games consoles, but there should be more evolved DX7 sounds around here soon.

Video excerpts from "In Anticipation..."

FoAM Earth published video excerpts from the audiovisual performance "In anticipation of things already present". They are available on FoAM's Vimeo channel. We selected seven excerpts that can be watched as standalone videos. While they have a backstory, they are not "about" anything in particular. Instead, they are meant as suggestive, associative and atmospheric meditations on attunement to a multiplicity of pasts, presents and futures.

Further attempts at untangling tablet weave

One of the great unknowns following the first weavecoding project was the nature of tablet weave. Other than a few primitive attempts that didn't work in all cases and lead us to further questions, modelling tablet weave fully was left as an undeciphered mystery. Tablet weave is a complex and particularly ancient form of weaving, while it's simple to do with easily found materials, it produces a kind of double ...

Futurecrafting in Cornwall with FoAM Earth

The future is in short supply at the moment, particularly in the UK with so many things changing - it is a constant surprise that there are so few ideas about where we could be headed. At the smaller scales too, at FoAM Kernow, in common with many organisations there is a feeling we tend to be so fixated on the current problems (do we need to invoice for that project ...

Accesslab Pilot 2 Notes

Recently we ran the second trial of our AccessLab project. We are iteratively developing a workshop format that works across a wide range of audiences, helping people to access and use scientific information. This post covers some of the changes we made to the format, what worked and what didn’t, the feedback received, and what we’d like to change next time.

Viruscraft prototyping

How do viruses evolve and switch to new hosts? Using virus structure as our basis we're designing a new tangible interface to explore the evolution of viruses, together with a game world full of host species that are affected by how you shape your virus. This post outlines the prototyping to date.

How to design a tangible programming language – Pattern Matrix at Algomech (part 2)

Once we acknowledge that weaving and programming are part of the same technological timeline, we can begin to look at the history of weaving as a eight thousand year long tale of human relationship with digital technologies - and use this long view to research new approaches to software engineering, a field with a much less developed history and many interesting problems to solve.

Pattern Matrix at Algomech (part 1)

I'm writing this on the train with a slightly sleep deprived brain fizzing and popping from thoughts, ideas and conversations from this year's Algomech festival in Sheffield. The Penelope project took a significant role in the festival, with the group's participation in the Unmaking Symposium, the exhibition and also testing our latest weavecoding technology at the Algorave. I'll be writing more on the algorave in a subsequent post.

Periscopedune

The islands of the Wadden are situated in an intertidal zone in the southeastern part of the North Sea called Waddensea. The island of Terschelling is the setting for IMRAMA, an investigation initiated by Jan de Graaf and Jeroen van Westen into the nature of this UNESCO world heritage site. The fieldwork of IMRAMA sets out to "look at - looking at the Waddensea". Theun of FoAM Amsterdam has been ivited ...

In anticipation of things already present.

FoAM published a new article by Maja Kuzmanovic & Nik Gaffney, In anticipation of things already present. The article is now available on Medium, adapted from FoAM's closing keynote of Anticipation 2017.

Artificial Ecologies Venice

Independent curator Roland Fischer and Artistic Director Paolo Rosso of MicroClima invited Theun Karelse, Alice Smith and Ivan Henriques for a presentation of their work, to explore the possibility of collaboration and the potential of the Venetian Lagoon for Machine Wilderness field-work.

MicroClima is situated in a large greenhouse near the Biennial grounds in Venice.

Spectres in change. Fieldnotes #1

Seili, a tiny island in the Archipelago Sea. The island is a geologically young and interconnected ecosystem, historically laden with accounts of illness, death and isolation. It seems serene and benign yet harbours hidden disturbances, spectral hostilities. Plagues of ticks and microplastics overlaid with psychic memories of the oppressed and abandoned. Ecological monsters and anomalies hover on the edges of human perception, cunningly invasive even to a casual visitor.