Ex Nihilo.

A telescope is placed in the Ballroom at Culture Lab housed within a planetarium. This telescope is pointed towards unknown worlds. Through this telescope, it will be possible to view performance(s) happening at the Allenheads Contemporary Arts space in the Old School House.

The accompanying background-audio will be built upon the semi-generative audio based on sounds captured via VLF (Very Low Frequency) radio transmissions, allowing us to perceive that which we ordinarily couldn’t.

In conjunction with this audible electromagnetic background, there will be four improvised endurance length AV performances. Inside the dome, as the viewer rotates the telescope horizontally they will be presented with different viewpoints from the ACA performance and if the telescope is rotated vertically then visual effects will be applied to the view.

Outside the dome, there will be science-fiction-style special effects projected onto the big screen in culture lab and the impression of a planet projected onto the surface of the dome (AKA the inflatable planetarium).

// elevator pitch

A telescope within a planetarium pointed at the surface of an unknown exoplanet; its viewfinder a visual pathway to other worlds, places of strange sounds, myths… and the means of traversing into the unknown.

Come and join us in this exciting project where you will be able to witness both pre-recorded and live audiovisual performances streamed from Allenheads direct to Culture Lab, Newcastle.

Produced in collaboration with Allenheads Contemporary Arts as part of their Beyond project.


Pete Haughie // Ryan Boyle // Katie Oswell // Liam Slevin // Nicholas Cooke // Kiran Pearce // Ning An.

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Twice Proposed Reimaginings.

As stated in my last post, the concept I held in my initial performance proposal for the ACA project did not survive the crucible of group discourse, nor did anybody’s initial proposals for that matter. The group (Triskel) is comprised of Myself, Pete Haughie, Katie Oswell, Kiran Pearce, Liam Slevin, Ning An and Nicholas Cooke (who wasn’t able to make it).

After all, meeting as a group at ACA, we were always destined to spend the best part of 16 hours consuming our body weight in tea, whilst chomping through a smorgasbord of unrefined ideas.

However, after the agony of working our way through abandoned epiphany after abandoned epiphany, and after so much gruelling debate then drunken philosophy (not to mention the odd bad joke, thrown in for good measure) comes the clarity of a new morning. We reconvened after a short sleep.

Once all were feeling (a stones-throw from) bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, we started with a blank slate. We began to utter whispers of what we could offer to the project once more. We explored the proposed space, taking advantage of having access to the telescopes & the inflatable planetarium.

The guardians of ACA (Allen and Hellen) spoke through their own vision of the event, then we all collectively ironed out the details with yet more precision. Finally landing on a concept we were all pleased with which I’ll discuss in my next blog post.

The above video is comprised of photographs blended in processing taken whilst the group explored the space and equipment available at ACA. The accompanying sound was sampled as part of a Live Electronic Performance Module.

As always thanks for reading!

Kind regards,
Ryan C. P. Boyle.

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Scrapped Performance Proposal (For reference).

Bellow is an Initial performance proposal (Mostly scrapped) that was put to the collaborative group I’m currently co-developing an installation as part of the late shows and with Allenheads Contemporary Art’s or ACA as they’re otherwise known, as part of ACA’s “Beyond” Project.

Beyond performance proposal.

A Broken Translation, a series of alien landscapes/concept images in response to stimulus scraped from the internet on the subject of alien/terrestrial mythologies or interplanetary imaginings.

Taking the form of a sketch accompanied by sampled noise, acting as the backdrop for a spoken word performance which personifies the entity that is “The Broken Translator” an unhinged alien AI construct with the sole purpose of making contact with technologically advanced civilisations.

By utilizing television/radio broadcast signal analysis the AI construct alters its appearance and language based on assumed traits to better facilitate its role as an interplanetary ambassador but the AI often get’s things comedically or tragically wrong.

The AI functions through a deliberate cultural appropriation on a global scale through any information scraped from these broadcasts for the sake of interspecies communication, with a regular muddling of dialect.

The backdrop Images will portray a surreal sense of familiarity whilst seeming totally foreign to the observer, these images may include portrayals of deities or all-powerful beings of alien origin, sourced from the stimulus of the aforementioned alien and terrestrial mythologies.

These images will be representations of other worlds the A.I construct is simultaneously visiting/viewing. The images will represent the functioning of the signal analysis process, scouring the vastness of space for potential targets, whilst also reminding observers that there is so much unknown in the great beyond and deepening the sense of bi-locational communication.

The Broken Translator will hijack localised public screens to interact with a chosen ambassador for the species of any population (Via 2-way live streaming). Interplanetary facetime.

Throughout the performance “The Broken Translator” will attempt to maintain a conversation but will be erratically emotional and unstable in use of language through an inability to grasp the contradictory nature of human behaviour.

Image created by Ryan C. P. Boyle, using photo manipulation.

As always thanks for reading!

Kind regards,
Ryan C. P. Boyle.

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A contemplative poem on life for a unicellular life-form.


I can feel, but I am blind,
my sense of touch is all I know.
Do I think, or have a mind?
Within the dark, I am alone.

Every hair, upon my skin,
is standing up on end.
Whatever keeps me here within,
is not my friend.
Is it fear that keeps me alone?
Or is it DNA?
And when I feel your approach,
why do I back away?

In these shadows I am small,
I see you up on high.
How is that you grow so tall,
within my mind’s eye?
Where is the pride before this fall?
Or the sugar-coated lie?
Where is the tide that breaks the wall?
Or the friends that do and die?

I graze the walls from time to time,
they force me to let go.
I have no ears with which to hear,
In silence, I must grow.


Written by Ryan C. P. Boyle, 2018.

Food for thought when pondering the “beyond project”.

An attempt to inhabit the perspective of a unicellular life-form, that could potentially subsist on foreign exoplanets. In response to the prompt: Beyond.

“This video is linked for information purposes only, I claim no rights to the footage or audio.”

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How might media facades make us think differently about prototyping?

In this post, we will be reflecting on possible answers to the question: “How might media facades make us think differently about prototyping?”

Containing quotes and references to the bellow mentioned academic paper: “Media structures, prototypes and collective prosthesis. Digital facades as public infrastructures, Nerea Calvillo. Originally published in Urban Media Cultures. Ed: Avedition GmbH. Ludwigsburg. 2012”


Public screens and facades, when used as a medium for digital prototyping allow for the testing of unrefined artistic concepts through the usurpation of existing public space technologies. Thus giving the digital-artist access to platforms of a size and scope that may well otherwise be unobtainable for them, whether due to budget, lack of permissions or other constraints.

“Erkki Huthamo argues in Messages On The Wall (13) that the environment of digital facades hasn’t been understood yet as a new medium, for which it is needed to find new formats of content, management and financial production.” –
(Calvillo, 2012)

Therefore they can all be considered as objects or spaces for experimentation, where people engaged in the field of urban screens, institutions, citizens and funders can get together to test their capacity to build different publics, contents, public spheres, imaginaries and commons.

“To constitute digital facades as laboratories the possibility of experimenting in real time in the urban space is needed, which is to say, that non-finished projects may be seen in the streets. Then the idea of an urban project shifts from a finished material to a prototype that can be permanently reassembled and modified, and therefore intercepted and opened up.” –
(Calvillo, 2012)

Through the usurpation of public screens, a prototype no longer has to consist of a physical artefact in a workspace, It could be something as intangible as an image, video, computer program or even just a few lines of code. In conclusion artists interested in digital media, could see this avenue as a previously unforeseen opportunity to explore their creative practices in the public domain. So let’s get hacking folks!

As always thanks for reading!

Kind regards,
Ryan C. P. Boyle.

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{physiCoal-memory;} Artist Statement.

Over this academic year so far, I’ve been the subject of an overwhelming identity-shift in my artistic practice. Whereas before I was a musician and songwriter, I’m now concentrating on photography and the design of thought-provoking mediums in which I can present my photographs in public.

I now identify myself as an audio-visual installation artist, as opposed to solely a musician. I am exploring my current interests through interactive installations designed around the concept of how humans interact with objects. Involving trigger mechanism for audio-visual artworks hosted on concealed computers via electronics.

The best way to contextualise my work within the field of audio-visual installations would be to discuss some of my recent works; one of which was titled “Grey Spaces in Stereo” and was conceived as an installation designed to be user intuitive.

In essence, there were 4 screens which stayed in a state of “Black-Screen” until commanded to do otherwise by audience interaction, You can see documentation of this work further back in this blog.

The reason I mention this project first and foremost; is because it has a direct connection to the work I exhibited at the mining institute {physiCoal-memory;} which forms part of a larger series I’ve been developing titled Sentient Trees. The first embodiment of this series was a self-titled looping sequence accompanied by audio, designed for use in an ambient display; Please refer to my earlier blog posts for reference.

Though all 3 of these works were built on a foundation of black and white images, specifically including trees; These projects differ in their own conceptual thought provocations.

Regarding “Grey Spaces in Stereo” the conceptual content was in reference to the fact that the division between “naturally-occurring” and “man-made” objects or landscapes have recently started to be considered a “grey area”; due to man’s enormous impact on the earth.

Whereas {physiCoal-memory;} was a response in reference to the past lives of objects repurposed by man, that were previously living entities. With a special focus on wood & coal due to site specificity (reference my exhibition proposal for further context).

As always, thanks for reading!

Kind regards,
Ryan C. P. Boyle.

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{physiCoal-memory;} Exhibition Clips.

Overall on the night the piece was reasonably well received & as I’d anticipated the glazed coal was very inviting and tactile. This encouraged people to explore the piece with their hands through natural curiosity; It was very enjoyable observing/documenting crowds of people discovering this playfulness for themselves (As shown in the above video). It’s important to note that the video captures the frequencies put out by the vibrating bass drone poorly, so that’s left to one’s imagination.

Design, photography and sound by Ryan C. P. Boyle.

Thanks to the many participants, and the Mining Institute.

As always, thanks for reading!

Kind regards,
Ryan C. P. Boyle.

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{physiCoal-memory;} Exhibition Poster.

Several important promotional jobs were divided up amongst the artists exhibiting. I was nominated to be responsible for the design of the poster, a job I was happy to take on. I also offered to do all the photo/video documentation on the night for the other artists.

Jenny McNamara was responsible for the printing, and the distribution was a team effort. Since the turnout on the night was quite impressive, the poster must have been well received; on top of this, there was a facebook page. Due to budget considerations, the posters were printed in the university as opposed to through a commercial outlet.

As always, thanks for reading!

Kind regards,
Ryan C. P. Boyle.

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{physiCoal-memory;} Creation Montage.

In the last post we discussed the concept behind {physiCoal-memory;} (feel free to jump back and take a look now if you’ve not seen it yet). In the spirit of continuity & after having exhibited the piece on February 21st, at the Mining Institute in Newcastle, we’ll be going through the design stages for the installation, as I’ve done with my posts regarding previous works.

Stage 1: Component parts acquisition.

As anyone who attended the exhibition may know, this piece was a site-specific response to the history of the building, as well as a reflection on the past lives of relevant objects, in this case, lumps of coal. It stood to reason that I would need to acquire some, which I did, along with an old mahogany unit that required some TLC, found on gumtree.

Further to this, I used a Genelec Subwoofer, a short throw projector, and concealable PC; at short notice, I made use of a Dell Alienware laptop. In hindsight, and if I had any kind of budget, I would make use of a Raspberry Pi 3. I state this because due to the cumbersome size of the Alienware laptop it had to be stood on its side within the unit putting pressure on the USB connector in the laptop port. (But I suppose you live and you learn.) Use a smaller computer is the lesson and more tape.

But I digress.

Stage 2: Component assembly.

To start with I needed to solder the electronic components for added stability as I was previously only using a breadboard and jumper cables, which is more of a temporary measure for testing & prototyping. The components used were an Arduino Uno (Elegoo) board, a Perf Board, an Ultrasonic Sensor, and some cables (Shown in the first 2 clips of the above video). Once assembled I booted up the processing sketch for a quick test.

Stage 3: Housing assembly.

Though not shown in the video above (in an effort to keep it short) the unit needed considerable adjustment for the purposes of this piece, (I more or less re-built the thing.) I had to replace the base, the back and reinforce the upstand, as well as install casters and cut holes in both the top (for the sensor) and the back (for the projector). I then made a simple shelf that held the components in place to trigger the piece. (Shown in the 4th clip of the video). (Followed up by a test shown in clip 5).

Stage 4: Building the volcano of coal!.

This was by far the most time-consuming, dirty and arduous stage of the entire build. The video shows a partial clip of the process run at 8 times the speed, to have included the whole assembly would have made the video very long indeed. I essentially started with some plastic piping and some tape used to create a removable shaft that I could assemble the pile around. Done so as to maintain a shaft or void in the centre to accommodate the requirements of the ultrasonic sensor.

I then, piece by piece built the structure with a hot glue gun providing a cement between the lumps of coal. Which worked reasonably well, though the excessive amounts of glue did cause some overspill. It’s important to note that I had to wash and dry every piece of coal due to vast quantities of coal dust, I was beyond filthy and I had no desires for the audience/participants to be put off by this, especially since the piece was dependant on playful interactivity (Shown in clip 6).

The last thing to do was to gloss the back of the unit and to paint the coal, I did this using black exterior gloss paint, because of its robust qualities and glossy finish, as I wanted the coal to be reminiscent of an imitation coal fire in my grandparents house as a young child; I remembered how I used to love to play with the artificial coal pieces much to the dismay of my grandparents, and I felt this would inspire a tactile urge in others as it did so in me.

There was some re-engineering needed after attaching the coal pile, I realised the particular ultrasonic sensor I’d chosen had a very widespread beam (This triggered the piece constantly). I’d not encountered this problem in the past, so it was somewhat of an oversight; the obstacle was overcome with some re-soldering and by raising the Ultrasonic Sensor halfway up the interior shaft. Then all that was left to do was test the piece, shown in the last clip of the video (Clip 7).

The above video is a creation montage demonstrating the design and assembly of {physiCoal-memory;} an interactive audio-visual art piece by Ryan C. P. Boyle.

Backing music:
(Chocolate Inspiration by Ryan C. P. Boyle 2017).

As always, thanks for reading!

Kind regards,
Ryan C. P. Boyle.


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{physiCoal-memory;} Exhibition Proposal.

The idea of physical memory is the core subject matter of this conceptual piece, utilizing my photography archive of trees, I’ve written a processing sketch to randomly generate images from an array, as well as to play a simple bass-drone sound file.

Once triggered by an ultrasonic sensor connected to a computer via Arduino, a small concealed projector (built into the back of a podium-cabinet of my own making) will flash black & white images of dead & dormant trees onto a blank wall behind the piece (this may require a white canvas).

There will be a small pile of coal (fixed/glued) with a hole in the centre, on top of the podium-cabinet. In order to engage the piece, the audience member/participant will need to make physical contact with the coal pile, by placing their hands on top of or over the coal pile. In essence, the point is to give the effect that once contact is made with the coal pile, the audience member will experience the physical memory of the object.

Done so in the form of randomly generated images, and the low vibration of the bass drone (This shouldn’t need to be stated, but coal is the remains of fossilised trees & plant life). Thus giving the impression of some kind of psychic memory transfer to the participant from the object, which in this case is the coal pile.

This has been demonstrated in fictional novels and films, so it could be said that this is a concept which lay-people are already subliminally aware of. (EG: in Lord of the Rings The Return of the King, a character called Pippin grabs a crystal ball type object known as the Palantir, and has visions of a white tree flashing in his mind).

Furthermore, this piece does not necessarily have to be triggered to be an interesting artefact, a stray pile of coal sat on a strangely decorated cabinet is still an object of fascination. I wish to retain the element of surprise as much as possible, so I don’t wish to make the way in which to trigger the object too obvious.

The idea is that the participant’s curiosity regarding the central hole in the coal-pile, might make the piece fairly intuitive, but still intriguingly subtle. I will be building a very long extension lead into the podium-cabinet so as to only require access to 1 power socket, for practicality in the exhibition environment.

As always, thanks for reading!

Kind regards,
Ryan C. P. Boyle.

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