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.

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

Print Futures: Austin, Texas

University of Texas at Austin

In January 2018 I have been invited to the University of Texas at Austin as part of a guest artist in printmaking residency. The proposed production of artwork will continue my investigations into post-digital narratives within graphic arts practice. The residency also includes lectures and tutorials with undergraduate and graduate UT students who are exploring digital processes in their studio practice. These discussions will contribute to a print exchange with UWE students and continue the Looking Through the Eyes of Machines as students exhibition project.

The residency co-insides with the annual Print Austin event where I will be contributing to a panel discussion on the future of printmaking – with an emphasis on the supplemental use of digital technologies. Presenters will include Professor Lari Gibbons (Associate Professor of Art, University of North Texas; Director of PRINT Press), Professor R. Eric McMaster (Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin; Manager, Digital Fabrication Lab), Evelyn Contreras (graduate student, University of Texas at Austin) and myself. The panel will be moderated by Professor Jason Urban (Senior Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin).
Each of the panel members will discuss their practice and thoughts on a post-digital landscape where digital technologies have become a familiar backdrop in a larger conversation. Questions such as how are artists (and institutions) adapting traditional analog-maker approaches within a technologically informed scene, and to what degree are new technologies being successfully utilized – or in what way does the technology fall short of expectations?

The University of Texas at Austin will also be hosting the Just Press Print exhibition that has been touring around Universities in the USA between 2016 – 2018. Institutions include, the School of Art Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State; University of Utah, Salt Lake City and University of Wisconsin Madison before finishing at University of Texas at Austin in 2018.

And finally, in November 2017 I was invited to be the first international juror for the 5th annual contemporary print exhibition hosted by Print Austin in Texas, USA – a very big honor. The international exhibition addresses the traditions and innovations within contemporary Printmaking and received over eight hundred and fifty submissions for the 2018 exhibition. After reviewing a high caliber of entries I was asked to select thirty artists for the final show. The prints will be exhibited at the O2 Gallery (at Flatbed Press Headquarters) in Austin, Texas between 20th January and 17th February 2018. I will be attending the exhibition on the 25th January and would like to extend my congratulations to the selected artists: Diana Behl, Myles Calvert, Lauren Cardenas, Jonas Criscoe, Dylan DeWitt, Justin Diggle, Orna Feinstein, Justyne Fischer, Juan Garcia, Logan Hill, Mark Hosford, Ross Hutchinson, James Janecek, Ann Marie Kennedy, Haley Lauw, Colin Lyons, Kate MacNeil, Nathan Meltz, Kristin Powers Nowlin, Sumi Perera, Alan Pocaro, Nicole Polonsky, Kasey Rameriz, Allison Rosh, Lilah Shepherd, Angela Sneider, Ryan Standfest, Eszter Sziksz, Anna Trojanowska, and Art Werger. Hopefully see you there.

Post-digital Today

Many thanks to The Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław, Poland for hosting an exceptional conference in December 2017. The team at the Wrocław School of Printmaking invited a range of speakers including artists, theoreticians, researchers and students to comment on the topic of Post-digital Printmaking. The event also included a number of exhibitions that demonstrated the breadth of ideas being explored in this emergent area of the graphic arts. I have recently had my conference presentation Looking Through the Eyes of Machines accepted for publication in the Summer 2018 edition Printmaking Today. The article is an overview of the presentation and provides some insights into an ongoing inquiry.

Post-digital printmaking. Redefinition of Print Conference in Poland

Postdigital Print Conference







In December I will be attending and speaking at the Post-digital printmaking. Redefinition of print Conference in Poland. The conference is hosted at the Faculty of Graphics and Media Art, The Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław. The conference is a continuation of the numerous events related to the post-digital aspects in printmaking organized by the Wrocław School of Printmaking. In 2015 I exhibited the Print is Dead series as part of the academies exhibition entitled Post-digital printmaking. Redefinition of the Concept of Matrix . This year I will be discussing the Looking Through the Eyes of Machines project, an inquiry that will begin mapping a Post-digital response to making within the Graphic Arts.

Eugeniusz Geppert Academy Conference Call:
Printmaking was always based on experiment. Sensitive to new trends, Printmakers have never been afraid to integrate innovation into their field. This attribute remains symptomatic also in post-digital era when Printmakers are still eager for new technologies. As a result, this discipline is still alive and vigorous. Though evolving into the unknown, leaving many question marks on its path, it can be seen that the digital revolution has not destroyed the printing tradition.

Submitted Abstract
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 graphic 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 a practice related project entitled ‘Looking Through the Eyes of Machines as Humans’.

The technologically informed scene for the project comments on the emergence of Post-digital making in the Graphic Arts and seeks to examine how technology has expanded conceptual and procedural possibilities for making prints. The exploration of both digitally mediated production methods and themes that are symptomatic of a digital age attempt to speculate upon or reveal forthcoming incarnations of a Post-digital mindset. For example, the continuous integration of digital technology into all aspects of our lives is having a profound impact on how we physically interact, communicate, make and respond to phenomena – tactile sensibilities that may recede or mutate as the digital native matures.

The initiation of the project has taken the form of 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 Post-digital response to making in the graphic arts. The exhibition presents a cohort of emergent practitioners from the disciplines of Fine Art Printmaking, Graphic Design and Illustration.






Madrid Symposium

The short video above offers an overview from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid who are working with the The Ankaria Foundation as part of a pioneering program to promote young graphic artists in Spain. I was invited by the two partners for a week long symposium in April 2017 as part of an international seminar that builds upon the Looking through the eyes of machines project – previously initiated as part of a student exchange exhibition between MICA and UWE in 2016.

Speaking through the eyes of machines

Looking through the eyes of machines exhibition image ‘To Be Is To Be Connected’ by Matilda Scott


Next week (25th -28th April 2017) I will be speaking at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid who are working with the The Ankaria Foundation as part of a pioneering program to promote young graphic artists in Spain. The week long invitation is part of an international seminar that builds upon the Looking through the eyes of machines project – previously initiated as part of a student exchange exhibition between MICA and UWE in 2016.

The continuation of the student project will include UCM Fine Arts students and others from various Spanish and international educational institutions. Fifteen students will participate in the project, whose graphic projects have previously been selected by a committee of experts, including the director of the Ankaria Foundation, Isabel Elorrieta, and the vice-dean of culture of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Margarita González. The aim of the symposium is to promote the creation and dissemination of creative and research work on contemporary graphic art and its relationship with technologies.