Upcoming residency at Coventry Artspace

Next week I’ll be based at Coventry Artspace as the recipient of one of their 5 Artspace Research Commissions (ARC).

I’m HIJACK; tasked with making architectural interventions in the Artspace building, hijacking its usual purposes to create an unusual find for a public event.


My unusual finds will be in the form of small interactive interventions. Using a variety of sensors such as proximity, motion, heat and humidity sensors, mechanisms will move, shake, rattle, roll, reveal, hide, strike, ping, scrape, dangle and waft as people move into their awareness.

In the best of research traditions, we don’t know what will come out of this work, but we’re curious to find out.

My proposal is based around the Heritage Open Day weekend coming up on the 8th and 9th of September and the question “how does it flip our assumptions for Heritage Open Days if, rather than people going to look at the building, the building is looking at the people?”

Now I’ve had a chance to delve a little deeper, it might perhaps be more accurate to say the residency will aim to instigate conversations responding to the next wave of questions that arise after you ask the one above.

  • Should the devices be integral – of the existing structure – or superficial – new additions placed onto surfaces?
  • Does the building communicate with us?
  • If so, about what? In what sort of voice?
  • Can we affect the flows of people around the building?
  • Would we want to make people uncomfortable?
  • If so, how uncomfortable would we be comfortable making them?
  • What might the devices reveal about the building …or about the people?

The Artspace building has a rich history to draw from, but time is limited, so it’ll be interesting to find out which of its many stories bubble up to the surface in that time.

I’m also curious to find out what the research reveals of me and my practice.

Back in July I attended the Interactive Architecture day at MADE. I went into it thinking “yeah, spaces and sensors and that: this is totally what I do”, but soon found out I was really struggling with the shift from putting the tech on the people to putting the tech on the architecture.

Here’s where I start to question what I want from interactive architecture.

If you’d like to see how far I’ve managed to explore in a week, please do come along on either Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th September between 11am and 4pm to find out.

It’s free, there are other tours and stuff happening as well, and we’ve already decided we don’t want to make people too uncomfortable. Probably…

Coventry Artspace, 16 Lower Holyhead Road, Coventry, CV1 3AU [map]