Book review – Digital Blur


Digital Blur – Creative Practice at the Boundaries of Architecture, Design and Art, edited by Paul Rodgers and Michael Smyth (available on amazon UK and USA.)

Publisher LIBRI says: This book brings together some of the world’s leading practitioners and thinkers from the fields of art, architecture and design who all share a common desire to exploit the latest computing technologies in their creative practice. The book reveals, for the first time, the working processes of these major practitioners’ work that breaks down traditional creative disciplinary boundaries. Digital Blur provides a rich picture, both visually and textually, of the following nine leaders in the field – Jason Bruges Studio, Greyworld, HeHe, Crispin Jones, the Owl Project, the Pooch, Bengt Sjolen, Troika, and Moritz Waldemeyer.

(…)The book provides a detailed insight into the techniques of these ten significant creative individuals and how they exploit the latest computing technologies in their work and the impact this will have for creative practice in the future.


Jason Bruges Studio, Panda Eyes, 2010

Two years ago, inter_multi_trans_actions, a symposium at the Napier University, brought together 10 talented and innovative artists, architects and designers who integrate computing technologies in their creative practice. Digital Blur presents the proceedings of this one day event. The book seeks to present how the work of the invited participants is ‘blurring’ the boundaries that used to divide disciplines such as art, engineering, fashion, hacking, design, architecture, etc.


Moritz Waldemeyer, OKGO Instruments for Fendi

Let not the word ‘proceedings’ scare you, none of the participants at the conference came up with a stiff and cold paper. They gave a very intimate and personal overview of their own practice: their background, first steps in this world of ‘digital blur’, the importance of working in network, the tricks to engage the audience, the quest for funding and commissions, etc. We follow speakers as they take us through the development of their own projects, including the delicate moments, glitches, errors they had to face and solve.


Adam-Somlai Fischer and Bengt Sjölén, Aleph

The tone of the book is very laid-back with humour, questions from the audience, discussions between the designers and cultural historian Lucy Bullivant and loads of images.


HeHe, Nuage Vert, Saint Ouen, Paris suburbs 2003, photo HeHe

The volume closes with three essays: Softspace: the emergence of interactive design installations by Lucy Bullivant, Undisciplinarity by John Marshall and Julian Bleecker and The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Interaction by Daniel West.

The cover of Digital Blur, designed by After the News, mirrors the innovative and techy content of the volume. Each of them has a slightly different generative pattern made using Processing.


Jason Bruges Studio, Surface Tension, 2010

If you’re a student in media art or interaction design or if you’re just curious about the story behind some of the most blogged-about installations and interaction designs of the past few years, i’d highly recommend you get your hands on this book.


HeHe, Tapis Volant

Owl Project, Sound Lathe Workshop. Footage from Sonic Arts Expo, Victoria baths, Manchester, 2006

Recommended books on the subject: Book Review – Digital by Design: Crafting Technology for Products and Environments, Book review: dsocial: Interactive Design Environments and Book review: Responsive Environments: Architecture, Art and Design.