George Mallen’s recollections of Richmond

Sharon Irish‘s talk on Stephen Willats last night was also remarkable for the presence in the audience of George Mallen, who contributed some fascinating reminiscences of working with Willats and Gordon Pask in the latter’s company, System Research Limited, based in Richmond. This was in the 1960s/ 1970s, when computers were neither as developed nor…

Book review: ‘Two Bits’

Book Review: ‘Two Bits‘ by Christopher Kelty. I don’t normally review books, but this is such a good story, so badly told, I have to blow off steam somewhere. Kelty’s book is about the history and development of the ‘free software’ movement. He charts the development of UNIX and the dreadful muddle that ensued, leading…

A fashionable revolutionary

An exhibition about the Easter 1916 rising at the Photographers’ Gallery includes two photos of Countess Markievicz, placed side by side in the same frame, though they were clearly shot at different times. The one shows a gracious lady elegantly dressed in a long gown and posing with a classical vase. In the other, she…

Art as participation in other things.

Terry Duffy spoke at King’s College Chapel last night about his painting ‘Victim, No resurrection‘, which is being shown as part of an exhibition called ‘Stations of the Cross‘ at 14 locations around London. Duffy explained the symbolism of his painting, painted in 1982. The blurb handed out last night says it: “challenges people’s greater…

Big Bang Data

The Big Bang Data exhibition at Somerset House is both pedagogic and an art show. I went twice. Highlights include: thingful, a search engine and geographic display of the internet of things. The whacky world of open data. Some things available are genuinely useful (eg DEFRA air quality monitoring stations, river level gauges, weather stations).…

Winter Lights

Winter Lights at Canary Wharf was a fascinating display of light (and sound) art. Sorry it has taken me six weeks to blog my visit. – Bitfall, by Julius Popp, uses falling jets of water to display news items. – Fantastic Planet is an 18 foot high illuminated figure, by Amanda Parer. – Light Sphere…

Machine creativity

A very stimulating meeting at the British Library last week, called ‘Digital Conversations’, asked whether computers can be creative. There were several short talks: – one about a machine that generated chord progressions for new jazz tunes. (The speaker, Tom Hedges, brought a jazz pianist who played a progression the machine had generated, though later…