Only Connect (2011-2012)

Only Connect    
With support from the Arts Council of Wales
The idea of the original Only Connect project in 2011/12 was to take Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s cross artform work with artists’ development and its engagement with the public into new territory through a project using new media. This was a response to huge new opportunities offered by technology for use within the arts. There was a particular focus in Only Connect 1 on both interactivity with the public and the incorporation of live action. The project included both research and display elements and gave artists from different disciplines the opportunity to both investigate and apply ways of working with new technological approaches and programmes as well as increasing the public’s engagement with new media through experience of innovative interactive works.

Leading practitioners of the Unreal Development Kit Bruno Martelli and Ruth Gibson (igloo) led workshops for creatives in February 2012 teaching new techniques, programmes and applications as well as sharing knowledge and ideas as a group. The participants learnt about creation with BSP, using static meshes, adding terrain and sound, NPCs before beginning their own creative projects. Some comments:
‘Just wanted to say thank you ..... Opportunities to learn how to use new software and programs are really rare and how to use them creatively even more so.’
‘Incredibly helpful, informed, and had an interesting approach’
‘I intend to use the skills from this to learn more on the technology and utilize the UDK engine and interactivity in my artwork.’
‘More please! Especially technical courses run by and for artists – they’re great!’

One of the artists, Edel O‘Reilly, was offered a 3 month residency at Aberystwyth Arts Centre to take her work further.

An impressive and hugely popular interactive sound and film work VISITOR by igloo was installed in December 2011 and another innovative interactive work, ‘Soldier’s Song’, was shown in the Centre’s main foyer; a chance to experience some of the exciting new generation of interactive works available. The installation Dawn Chorus by Marcus Coates, with technological solutions by Picture This Bristol was another example of the use of specialised technology in a creative way to achieve something artistically impossible by other means.

Only Connect Lab
This was a 3 week residency for artists from all disciplines who wished to develop skills in interactive technology to use within their own artistic practice. The project was led by a team from Portugal: Joao Grcia Miguel; Rui Gato; Andre Sier. Each of these has developed innovative ways of working with technology including sound, film, live feed and interactive methods for performance, exhibition and installation work.  Following an open call a large number of applications were received, from which the group was selected: Ellen Bell; Andrew Bolton; Rebecca Collins; Paul Harrington; Naomi Heath; Siriol Joyner; Jane Lloyd Francis; Edel O Reilly; Jon Street;  Sarah White. At the end of the lab period there was a work in progress exhibition and event : see an edited version in the film below:

  • Aberystwyth University
  • Arts Council of Wales
  • Welsh Government
  • National Lottery
  • Ceredigion County Coucil

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