TEXT: TECHNOLOGY, DISABILITY & ART – INCLUSIVITY IN INNOVATION

Funded by Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts, ‘Text’ is coming to an end. Each of section here explains each groundbreaking step. ‘Text’s first phase started out with ‘playing’ on a multi touch surface kit and culminated in playing a part in York’s internationally celebrated ‘Illuminating York’ festival. New Visuality are grateful for the funds supplied by Grants for the Arts as well as the collaborative expertise provided by a dizzying array of shareholders.

STAGE I

New Visuality won in a pitch held at a Digital Innovation Fund GeniUS event the most cutting edge kit in its field: Ideum’s Platform46. In collaboration with University of York’s ‘Digital Creativity Hub’ and Interactive Media Department we set about building an algorithm based programme that allowed via magnetic words the learner to concoct their own slogans and tweets. Each message was unleashed as a visual hot air balloon, creating a ‘confetti moment’, where the learner saw their own message join the increasingly complicated twittersphere surrounding York at that time. Many tweeters loved the recent UNESCO designation of York as a City of Media Arts, many tweeters were baffled, and many trolls hated the whole thing on principle. New Visuality can’t help but think were it not for the forward thinking souls who brought to York the benefits of ‘City of Media Arts’, this first stage of having fun with Platform 46 and its many innovative gifts would not have happened.

 

STAGE II

Shipley’s ‘The Print Project’ came as part and parcel of Text from the moment the application to Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts was submitted. ACE only fund excellence in the arts, and The Print Project are the Rolls Royce of LetterPress printing. It was an exciting morning at York’s Blueberry Academy when The Print Project first arrived and set up. Letterpress printing is aesthetically glorious, and is a great leveller – anyone can have a go.

STAGE III

The Print Project guided learners from York’s Blueberry Academy through the process of choosing, organising, and pressing their posters. Building of slogans, tweets, and hashtags created in the summer’s sessions with Platform46 and University of York interns, the letterpress posters ended up as quite stunning examples of quirky, experimental art. Slogans include: ‘BeYourBestSelf ’, ‘Still Going Strong’, ‘My Ability is Stronger Than My Disability’, ‘Walk the Line’, ‘When a Dream is No Longer a Dream’, ‘I’ll Never Shut Up’. ‘Text’ was at this point ticking all the boxes. Innovation and traditional printing press techniques? That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

STAGE IV

Creating art is one thing: curating it in a contrmporary art gallery is another. Working in consultation with our gallery According to McGee, the learners curated a series of their posters to complement the beautiful Giclée posters designed by Choir of Vision, culled from tweets from members of the public on York’s UNESCO status as #CityofMediaArts. Some love it, some hate it: either way, the posters were in gallant company with these letterpress posters. When it came for the job of imbuing all tweets and slogans with a Jedi-esque digital power, we worked with light installation artist Nick Walters. According to McGee became for three weeks week a refulgent, futuristic spaceship, all the while building its glorious swagger on slogans written by York’s most vulnerable citizens. Reader, a good time was had by all.

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