Zoom Obscura Showcase – Works in Progress

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Fri 5th Mar, 14:00 – 15:00 (GMT)

Mini-talks & Demos (Zoom Event):
Zoom Obscura – Works in Progress
Challenging cultures of video-calling through creative intervention

Ilsa Pouwels, Michael Baldwin, Bea Wijshijer, Paul O’Neill, Martin Disley

Challenging cultures of video-calling through creative intervention: A series of short talks and demos from five artists who have been experimenting with a range of creative and technological ideas to subvert your normal experience of Zoom!

Zoom Obscura is a project that enables us to playfully negotiate our own presence and our own value in the spaces of online video-calling. We bring together artists, academics, hackers, designers and creative technologists to develop critical interventions that make the problematic workings of these technologies legible to wider audiences while empowering users to experiment with, and control how their personal data (visual, audible, text input) manifest in online spaces.

Join us for a preview of the wonderful works in progress that Zoom Obscura has funded, with support of the Human-Data Interaction Network+ and Creative Informatics


Ilsa Pouwels
Ilse is currently at the Umeå Institute of Design working on her graduate thesis. Focusing on creating interventions that explore and challenge the relation we have with our technologies, undermine through design. Before, she spend time at Tellart and LEGO as an interaction designer. As a designer she is trying to take up challenging problems of merging the physical and digital for societal contexts. With a heart for exploring new technologies through prototyping, approaching them from a different angle to bring a little magic to the world.

Michael Baldwin
I am an American composer whose current work focuses on ways of composing experiences within and through background sociomusical activities. This work has thus far involved audiences and performing musicians listening to audio guides that lead them across discreet sonic, choreographic, and emotional terrains in parallel with musical performances and interpersonal interactions in concert settings.

Bea Wijshijer
B. Wijshijer is a research-based artist working within digital media and video installation. Wijshijer utilizes online trends and subcultures to deconstruct mediated intimacies and personas on digital platforms. Informed by acceleration aesthetics, their work plays with excess and artifice to interrogate the ways in which late capitalism affects our digital lives. Wijshijer received their BFA in Printmaking from OCAD University in 2017 and an MFA from the University of Waterloo in 2020.

Paul O’Neill
Paul is an artist and researcher based in Dublin, Ireland. His practice and research is concerned with the implications of our collective dependency on networked technologies and infrastructures. This discourse is reflected in his academic background, he holds an MSc Multimedia from Dublin City University and an MA in Digital Art from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Paul is currently completing a PhD which focuses on media art practices that critique and subvert techno-solutionist narratives and histories.

Martin Disley
Martin is an artist, researcher and creative technologist based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His work interrogates computer vision systems by manifesting their internal contradictions in image, video and sound. Martin was recently artist-in-residence at the National Library of Scotland and his work has exhibited at the V&A Museum (Dundee, Scotland), Summerhall (Edinburgh, Scotland), The Centre for Contemporary Arts (Glasgow, Scotland), Guterhallen Gallery (Soligen, Germany), Sala Aranyo (Barcelona, Spain) and Kunstencentrum Vooruit (Ghent, Belgium).

Foxdog Studios
Foxdog Studios, Lloyd Henning and Peter Sutton, are computer programmers turned live performers. They create comedy shows that put the audience in control of interactive games and DIY gadgets. Their live show, “Robot Chef”, was a sell-out at the Edinburgh Fringe and had viewers cook sausage and beans by controlling a robot on their phones (a highlight being firing a hotdog from a cannon).

The pandemic has turned their stage shows into interactive online pieces, streamed live weekly on Twitch, including “Escape The North” which was featured as part of the Guardian’s coverage of comedy streaming.

Zoom Obscura Team
Zoom Obscura is led by researchers from the University of Edinburgh (Pip Thornton, Chris Elsden and Chris Speed), Durham University (Andrew Dwyer), and Kings College London (Mike Duggan), and is in collaboration with Edinburgh-based art & music collective Tinderbox Collective and curator Hannah Redler-Hawes.

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