Christian Kerrigan - Digital Design Resident
It’s been an interesting six months, I came here with lots of ideas of how the residency would go - the studio, the windows, the public interaction, all kind of fed into the six months and has really been a huge development for me in terms of how I make my work as a digital artist. The most unique part of this residency is the public interaction and it was something which I’d never had before. It was quite daunting to have that, but I was quite open to have that for my work. All these opportunities create change and it was different perspectives, and that happens on a public level. People can come in and look in through these windows and see what is happening. They may not understand or they may not know what is going on but it informs an inquisitiveness about creativity and people might leave inspired in a way that a gallery with finished objects may not offer
My final exhibition is titled ‘Living’ and it is interpreting technology in nature as this living organism. For that exhibition I experimented with algenate which is this algae which has been processed. I was interested in the chemistry of algae when you insert it into a high pH environment it forms a skin in order to protect itself, so I created these small encased skins using small bits of moss and made these water-based sculptures. They are quite symbolic of the way that the environment is controlling natural violence or manipulating natural violence, and the way in which technology can modify the natural world to create these almost fictional ecologies.
The aquarium was two pieces. One was the projection, the other one was the machine and this is a projection that looked artificial because of the digital light and the way that it seemed slow moving. This projection for me was trying to mix together the fact that it was actually made of natural materials so that everything in the machine: the water, the light, the algae, was all choreographed together to make this landscape and the juxtaposition between being able to see the water and sense it, and the digital image of it looking artificial formed an interestin relationship between the two. The fact that the digital content is made of natural elements.
I have had different workshops working with younger kids, nine year olds to fifteen year olds, and also eighteen to twenty-five year olds. Those workshops were using digital techniques that I’ve developed and I’ve applied that to archives and the collection for the students to engage with the V&A through a view that I have of it.
It’s helpful for me aswell because they engage in a process which I do quite intimately in here. To take it outside to a public setting I see it in a different way, and they get to create work possibly that they didn’t think they could make. The 3D stuff was generated by one specific photograph from the collection, so they used it as a starting point for their virtual pieces. These virtual sculptures were then inhabiting a virtual photograph, a 360 degree photograph in a space in the V&A which is not accessible to the public. So the computer software was allowed to inhabit spaces which were out of limits to physical presence, and the children were able to inhabit that world.
The innovative Museum Residency Programme at the V&A gives designers, writers, makers, musicians and artists of all kinds the opportunity to have a studio in the museum for six months.