Looking back through the Eyes of Machines

Between the 11th and 15th of March 2019 I visited the Bellas Artes faculty at the Universidad Complutense De Madrid. The visit was part of an Erasmus Teaching Mobility Agreement funded by UWE Erasmus which enabled me to open an exhibition (Looking Through the Eyes of Machines) that I instigated with UCM in 2017. The main activities included talks with postgraduate students and a public lecture about the Exhibition and how this related to my research and teaching at UWE. The lecture also included discussion’s with UCM lecturing staff around teaching and learning that primarily focused on the impact of digital technology within established fields of Art and Design practices.

As previously discussed the premise of the lecture was to reflect on the ‘Looking Through the Eyes of Machines’ Exhibition and how I had developed the content toward international conference papers and journal publications. To shed further light on this evidence I gave examples of student work (produced for the exhibition from UCM and UWE) and discussed the activity in relation to a Post-digital narrative within the Graphic Arts. I also took the opportunity to demonstrate how I had developed the original technologically informed idea from my practice led research activity at the CFPR and the type of research enquiry that the centre undertakes. More over, the lecture described how research in art and design has a number of avenues that can feed into postgraduate study. To do this I discussed three Practice Led PhD projects from the CFPR and how craft based inquiries offer contributions to industry partners whilst facilitating broader maker based questions. To extend the CFPR’s procedural / technical methodologies I presented my own artwork (practice based research) to position the work within a contemporary printmaking perspective (often referred to as the ‘expanded field’) and how one’s relationship with progressive ideas informs my disciplinary interests and pedagogical position. The lecture was attended by UCM MA and PhD students alongside lecturing staff from both Art and Design departments.

Elena Blanch González (Dean of Bellas Arts UCM), Isabel Elorrieta (Director of the Ankaria Foundation), Paul Laidler (UWE) and Ricardo Martí Fluxá (President of the Ankaria Foundation)

The exhibition was opened in conjunction with Ankaria Foundation (part of a pioneering program to promote young graphic artists in Spain) and the Madrid based Print and Art Editions Magazine g&e. The two supporting companies are keen to extend the reach of the exhibition to a commercial gallery in the centre of Madrid. The continuation of the exhibition will also include work produced by UWE MA Printmaking, BA Illustration and BA Graphic Design students who have contributed work to the project.

Further possibilities for continuation of the project have been undertaken through the application for internal funding at UWE. This would include traveling back to UCM next year to develop the post-digital narrative in conjunction with a number of other International Universities that are associated with UCM. It is anticipated that this meeting will forge the development of a network bid.

After Clement Valla series

After Clement Valla, Relief Matrix and Inkjet Print, 2018

Finally started to make again! In January this year I was invited to be the guest artist in printmaking at the University of Texas at Austin. During this time I began working in the fabrication department with Professor Eric McMaster (Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin; Manager, Digital Fabrication Lab) to create a laser cut matrix. The laser cut tests are part of a body of work that aims to bring together ideas associated with ‘Remake’ and physical making approaches that align with Post-digital practices. The image above entitled After Clement Valla was constructed at UWE to begin visualising some of my ideas for the series.

Nothing ventured…

Image Frea Buckler

Partners in Print: Exhibitions & Editions

Over the past few months (perhaps a bit longer) I have been discussing the idea of a UWE graduate print editioning / studio practice with Spike Print Studio in Bristol. The two organisations already share existing links through scholarships and professional practice internships such as the Peter Reddick Bursary, the SPS/UWE Scholarship and SPS/UWE Member Technician award. The proposed print editioning venture intends to build upon these relationships by utilising the multifaceted nature of the print studio – as a bridge between professional and educational practices. More over, the intention of the exhibition is to begin highlighting the commonalities that exist through multi-participatory (SPS) and multi-disciplinary (UWE) studio practice. As previously mentioned the aim will be to forge a print editioning practice between SPS and UWE that will complement existing relationships and extend the scope for professional practices that are predicated in print. The exhibition will therefore highlight stories from alumni who have experience of both educational and professional studio practice – and present these as written and visual narratives within an exhibition context.

The exhibition will take place at UWE’s Bower Ashton Studios in the F-Block Gallery from Tuesday 16th to Friday 19th October 2018 (gallery opening times 10am – 5pm). Private View Thursday 18th at 5.00pm

Participating artists will include:
Nick Greenglass and John Lynch (Peter Reddick Bursary)
Andrew Wilson (SPS/UWE Scholarship)
Jemma Gunning, Lisa Davies and Prerna Chandiramani (SPS/UWE Member Technician)
Carolyn Bunt, Sarah Duncan, Frea Buckler and Gilly Thompson. (UWE/SPS Alumni)

Impact 10

The Impact 10 Printmaking Conference maybe over but Print certainly isn’t dead. Many thanks to the organisers and all the contributors for sharing. I was happy to have presented a number of prints from the Looking through the eyes of machines exhibition at the CC Juan Carlos Calderón gallery alongside exhibitions from recent UWE postgraduate (PhD/MA Print) students Angie Butler, Catherine Cartwright & Leonie Bradley.

The conference was also a great opportunity to meet up with a number international print colleagues  (some already acquainted and some new) to exchange ideas with and discuss possible future opportunities / projects. For example, I was humbled to be invited back to the University of Madrid by Dr Margarita González (Assistant Professor & Vice Dean of Culture) to give a lecture and develop the exhibition that I presented at the Impact 10 Conference. I was able to meet up with Fiona Quill program leader of the BA(Hons) Contemporary Printmaking program (and her team) at Limerick School of Art and Design – where I will be the new external examiner from Oct 2018. I was also able to see a presentation from Altea Grau Vidal  PhD student at University Arts London who I will be examining in Easter next year. Similarly, I had the chance to attend a number of talks that I will be using to develop teaching content and future journal articles. I also had the opportunity to meet with three International artists / academics (Eszter Sziksz, Justin Diggle and Sumi Perera) who I had selected to exhibit at the 5th Contemporary Print Austin exhibition in Jan 2018.

Thank you for funding the trip UWE (smiley face).

Festival of Ideas Competition

UWE Student & Alumni Competition
Bristol Festival of Economics Competition 2018

Competition Deadline: 24th Oct 2018
Cash Prizes: First £200,
 Second & third £75
Duration of Brief: 3-4 weeks
UWE Link Tutor: Paul.Laidler@uwe.ac.uk

The Festival of Economics takes place annually in Bristol in November. It is now in its seventh year. The festival brings together economists and other experts from around the world to debate with each other – and their audiences – some of the key economic questions of our time.
The festival organisers are now seeking image entries from UWE artists and designers for the forthcoming event. The team are keen to see images that reflect the festivals content (see PDF brochure for event descriptions below) and the overall ethos of the Bristol Festival of Economics as ‘experts for the everyday, human centric and no jargon’.


Artwork & Format: In order to avoid using potentially boring headshots to promote topics or panels the festival would prefer to use themed Illustrations (see festival theme link below). Therefore, a single image should be composed in sections or panels which lend themselves to be cropped into the square format and used for the event image online. If you look at the linked page below, you can see how the full panel image (at the top) is broken into individual sections (scroll down) that relate to specific topics: http://www.ideasfestival.co.uk/themes/festival-economics/

Image / format information: 1:2 aspect ratio, minimum 800 x 418 pixels (max file size 3MB), Format: JPEG or PNG

The full image will need to include the following text information and logo’s:

Title: Economics Festival November 2018
Dates: 7th-10th November 2018
Twitter: @FestivalofIdeas 
Text:’ The festival is presented in association with’ Triodos (includes Triodos logo). This text needs suitable and prominent placement in the title of the festival.
Other Logos: UWE/ University of Bristol/ Arts Council England/ Festival of Ideas/ BusinessWest (Logos supplied as a block)

Logo’s & extended competition information can be downloaded here:
Triodos Logo
Festival of Ideas Logo
UWE/ University of Bristol/ Arts Council England/ Festival of Ideas/ BusinessWest (Logos supplied as a block)

Extended Competition Information

Submissions should be emailed to the UWE Link Tutor Paul.Laidler@uwe.ac.uk with your full name, course and social media links.

F-Block Eyes

In the first academic semester of 2018/19 I will be exhibiting the international student print exhibition ‘Looking through the eyes of machines‘ in UWE’s F-Block Gallery. The work will be on show for two weeks between the 17th and 28th September 2018. The exhibition will present artworks from UWE’s BA Illustration, BA Graphic Design and MA Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking programs alongside the BFA Printmaking course at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, USA). The third and latest addition to the show includes the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. UCM were included in the exchange show as part of a graphic arts symposium that I attended in 2017.

UCM students approached the technologically themed brief in a variety of different ways. The multitude of approaches maybe best interpreted as either creative responses to a question, or extensions of existing ideas that resonated with the brief. Interestingly the UCM student’s explored similar perspectives to the previous student participants, namely dystopian undercurrents and possibilities toward the humanisation of digital technology.
For example, artist Edward Jobst Andrews Gerda responded to the entanglement of loss and memory in a moment where digital technology (and especially social networking) has enacted the possibility of outliving our physical bodies.
Artist Tania Tsong de O’Pazo practice explores the relationship between material and sentimental space emphasizing the need for contemplation in an age of immediacy and mass production.
Laura Valor’s print combines intuitive methods with automated systems, bridging communicative strategies toward a fusion of human and binary languages.
Estela Barceló Molina series Prememoria offers insights into the humanisation of digital technologies. Here manual labour aligns with a critical making movement where time is uncompressed and ‘imperfection’ offers possibility.
Julia Garcia Gilarranz project attempts to bridge the mapping of space through body movement. The work explores sensor technology and the interactive potential of digital tools to record external information and represent physical phenomenon – as ghost images. The complete set of images from the UCM students can be seen below and a PDF description of each project can be viewed here.

Edward Jobst Andrews Gerda

Tania Tsong de O’Pazo

Laura Valor

Estela Barceló Molina

Julia Garcia Gilarranz

Elián Stolarsky

Raquel Hernández Izquierdo

Javier Gorostiza

Jesus Crespo

Paula Valdeón Lemus

Cristina de Propios Martínez

Alejandro Jaqs

Inés Juan Yuste

Roberto Freire

Sara González

Printed Conversations

g&e Print and Art Edition Magazine, 2018

Laidler, P. (2018) Printed Conversations & Collaborative Undertakings, g&e Print and Art Edition Magazine (www.grabadoyedicion.com), ISSUE 60, pp 30-43 ISSN 1886-2306

Recently wrote some words for the Madrid based Print and Art Editions Magazine g&e. The article reflects on conversations that I have had with a number of artists about the impact of digital technology on physical practice(s) in the graphic arts. All conversations were developed as part of collaborative studio production at the CFPR. The work enabled the artists and myself to produce a series of digitally mediated print editions that revealed the inner workings of realising ideas in print. The studio work and conversations also formed the curatorial premise behind the Just Press Print exhibition that traveled around the USA between 2016-18.

g&e Print and Art Edition Magazine


Article Intro:
Traditionally when a print studio approaches an artist about producing a print edition, the studio director or master printer would often show the artist a process, material or tool that they may not have encountered before. This technically-led approach can sometimes offer a different, new or novel option for the artist, and is often considered to be the main collaborative contribution of the print editioning studio. The collaborative print studio model has been adopted at The Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), part of the University of the West of England, as a method to explore processes and methodologies associated with creative and applied practices in print. As a researcher, printer and publisher at the CFPR the print studio (as research space) is an ideal setting to initiate practice related dialogues that are predicated in print. This approach has been central to my research inquiries and subsequent curatorial considerations when unearthing insights that are unique to the act of making. More specifically, the introduction of digital technologies within this environment helped forge a curatorial premise and selection of artists for the exhibition Just Press Print.

VR eye for the print guy

3D Printed Drawings made in Virtual Reality, UWE Bristol

After recently attending a workshop entitled Volume to Voxel (put together by the UWE fabrications team) I have been able to begin considering the mediated relationships between drawing, modeling, scanning and printing – using virtual reality software. Although initial thoughts are still processing the possibility to experience a space that enables one to create (and manipulate) images as virtual forms is somewhat ‘physically’ liberating – yet  visually perplexing.
The images below are a continuation of an idea started during a residency at the University of Texas at Austin in January 2018.  The work builds upon the idea of the remake (associated with printmaking as a reproductive medium) and the possibility to enact a physical / material characteristic associated with digital images and environments.



Image preparation for Laser Engraving, UT Austin

Laser Engraved image into MDF, UT Austin

Clay relief form engraving used for scan and import into VR, UWE Bristol

VR View of 3D scanned form enlarged

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Beneficial Shock, The Sex Issue, 2018

Laidler, P. (2018) Satisfaction Guaranteed, Beneficial Shock, Issue 3, pp 78-83 ISSN 2399-5173

I was recently invited to write and illustrate an article for the Unconventional Cinematic Adventures Magazine Beneficial Shock. Each issue sets a themed topic for writers, illustrators and designers to research and respond to – in an unconventional nature. The first two publications presented the themes of food and the mind, the third issue posits sex as the theatrical field of inquiry! Needless to say I pitched a technological angle that referenced SciFi – keeping in mind that all good Science Fiction entertains possible futures!

The fully illustrated article (and many others) on the theme of cinematic sex can be found on the Beneficial Shock website but for now here is a preview of the beginning pages and opening paragraph.

Benefical Shock, Layout design by Gabriel Solomons

The Pleasure Bot, the Gynoid, the Electric-Gigolo, or my personal favorite the Romeo Droid are just some of Science Fiction’s contributions to the development of the android as sex worker. Notably (and as any Sci-fi aficionado would remind us) such technological foresight is often a precursor to our own – not too distant future. It will therefore come as no surprise that the development of artificial intelligence and virtual reality are considered to be the missing link within the sex industry and the manufacture of technologically-enhanced products and experiences. Similarly, many esteemed futurologists are predicting that by 2050 (not 2049) artificial intelligence will have become so integrated within society that it will be commonplace for humans to have sex with robots… Now scrub that image out of your head and let’s remind ourselves that all technology (if we listen to Charlie Brooker) should come with a warning sign. Sexnology (that’s Sex + Technology) is probably pretty high up there on the cautionary list, but whether we like it or not people ‘The robots are coming’ – no pun intended!


Mapping Post-digital Practice

Printmaking Today Journal

Laidler, P. (2018) Mapping Post-digital Practice in the Graphic Arts, Printmaking Today, Vol 27 No 2 Summer, p.15 ISSN 0960 9253

Article Intro
It has been suggested by a range of established commentators that digital technology may have potentially created a ‘mental change’ within the creative process of making images and objects. Although this statement is somewhat broad and our ability to understand change often requires a certain amount of time to have passed (before the significance of an event may be better understood) the compulsion to begin considering these ruminations has been central to my own practice and the subsequent initiation of the ‘Looking Through the Eyes of Machines as Students’ exhibition. The project is an international print exchange between Graphic Arts programmes at UWE (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK); MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, USA) and UCM (Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid). The curatorial premise for the exhibition is a practice based inquiry that aims to begin mapping a Postdigital response to making in the graphic arts. The exhibition presents a cohort of emergent student and graduate practitioners from the disciplines of Fine Art Printmaking, Graphic Design and Illustration and will be exhibited at the Impact 10 Printmaking Conference in September 2018. Full version of article available at Cello Press