21/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 05:01

Hackers tackle domestic devices

Category: Technology

Published: 1st Oct 2010 11:16:55

A haunted typewriter and the live corruption of a classic video game are part of an art exhibition deconstructing everyday objects.

Called Unleashed Devices, it features work by artists and hackers who take mundane objects as their medium.

By hacking the objects, the artists give them new life or help them shed light on our relationship with gadgets.

Many of the artists use social media as a way to engage the audience and turn spectators into collaborators.

"Participation is really important because for many of the artists in this show, their installations become alive or start to exist only when the audience interacts with them," said Irini Papadimitriou, co-curator of the exhibition at Brentford's Waterman's Gallery.

One such installation that invites interaction is by Tine Bech called Catch Me Now. It couples a narrow spotlight with a movement sensor that directs the light to always move away from those it detects unless they leap into its centre.

Then the light becomes a broad spotlight and encourages a spectator to perform by playing music and putting on a light show.

Ms Papadimitriou stressed that the show was not about computer-based art but centred on actual objects that had been hacked or augmented by the artists, makers and enthusiastic amateurs taking part.

"There are people with different backgrounds," she said. "There are people who work as engineers and there are a lot of techies and people that did not start as artists but got that art background later."

Featured in the show is a work by Dave Griffiths that features the progressive destruction of a version of the classic video game Missile Command. The game is gradually changed into something unplayable and non-functional by its core code being re-written in real time.

Other installations include a work called Real Virtuality which sees its creator Peter Forde connected to a game controller via a Bluetooth headset. Press the movement buttons and he will walk in that direction.

Via the action buttons he can be made to bow, wave, give a high-five or a thumbs-up gesture.

In his experience, people stop just short of being cruel when they are controlling him - but he has been put into some awkward situations when made to walk up to policemen or people who are much larger than he is.

"I can generally tell, when I see their smiles, that they are enjoying controlling me," he said.

The Haunted Typewriter literally gives life to an 80-year-old typewriter by fitting it with an ultrasonic sensor and fitted with solenoids attached to 30 of its keys so it can tap out messages when people get close.

Anthony Goh, co-creator of the Haunted Typewriter with Neil Mendoza, said they had given it a personality that matched its age.

Messages it types includes "What are you seeking?", "Please leave me alone" and "Seriously, I'm not in the mood to talk right now".

"It's generally baffled or grumpy," said Mr Goh who was keen to identify himself as a hardware hacker rather than an artist.

"To call stuff art is to try and put a label on it," he said. "You can see a lot of the people here have just had a lot of fun just playing with devices, hacking, just seeing what they can do."

"Sometimes they do it for no real higher purpose but just for the joy of it," he said.

Unleashed Devices is on at the Waterman's Gallery until 22 October.

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2010. Hackers tackle domestic devices [Online] (Updated 1st Oct 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/95063/Hackers-tackle-domestic-devices [Accessed 21st Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Story of Joseph Heller's 'forgotten' Catch-22 script

    After Joseph Heller published his seminal war novel Catch-22 he adapted the book for the stage. He hoped it would go to Broadway - but more than 40 years on, his script has very rarely been performed. Now it is finally getting its UK premiere.
  • Story of Joseph Heller's 'forgotten' Catch-22 script

    After Joseph Heller published his seminal war novel Catch-22 he adapted the book for the stage. He hoped it would go to Broadway - but more than 40 years on, his script has very rarely been performed. Now it is finally getting its UK premiere.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Netflix, Amazon and Sky chase blockbuster TV exclusives

    An upstart rapidly rises from obscurity to become a household name by distributing a highly addictive product consumed by thousands.
  • David Cameron risks 'alienation', public figures claim

    David Cameron could cause "alienation" with his comments about Christianity in the UK, public figures have warned.
  • Easter Rising commemorations held in Northern Ireland

    A number of events have been held in Northern Ireland to commemorate the anniversary of the Easter Rising.