The Commons, Bath Spa University

Now showing

Laura Denning

Submersive Testimony
21st to 30th May 2016

4k video, running time 5 minutes.
(audio on headphones)

That the world is confronted with an ‘environmental crisis’ is clear. However, different communities experience the same event in different ways, depending on their degree of marginalisation. The people most vulnerable to climate change are simultaneously those with the least agency over policy.

In Submersive Testimony a Western businessman – someone with a great deal of agency over policy – is caught in a tempest and gradually submerged, reversing the assumption that the effects of climate change happen far away, and to others, not ‘us’. The sonic component derives mostly from bioacoustic material – recordings directly from nature. Within the immersive symphonies of aquatic sounds, a parliament of rooks can be heard debating policy. Sounds from this intelligent and sociable species are not echoed in the visual narrative – the policy-makers are elsewhere, in a place of safety.


Coming up ...

Forest of Imagination: Portals



Larry Cuba

Two Space 2009 (MediaWall)
11th to 18th April 2016
22nd April to 1st May 2016

Two dimensional patterns, like the tile patterns of Islamic temples, are generated by performing a set of symmetry operations (translations, rotations, and reflections) upon a basic figure or tile.

Two Space consists of twelve such patterns produced using each of nine different animating figures (12 x 9 = 108 total). Rendered in stark black and white, the patterns produce optical illusions of figure-ground reversal and after images of colour.

Gamelan music from the classical tradition of Java adds to the mesmerising effect.

Two Space was originally produced in 1979 as a 16mm film, using a DEC PDP-10 mainframe computer and a vector graphics film plotter. In 2009, on its 30th anniversary, Two Space was digitised and its soundtrack upgraded to high fidelity stereo.

This unique edition for MediaWall extends and tiles the film across 30 HD screens as a single high resolution moving image.



Resounding Mulgrave

Robert Mackey, Tariq Emam, John Wedgwood-Clarke

for Seeing Sound 2016

Resounding Mulgrave explores the post-industrial landscape of Port Mulgrave, north of Scarborough, UK. It was one of three artistic interventions exploring and reinterpreting the Rotunda Museum, Scarborough (created by the father of modern Geology, William Smith). It was commissioned by Scarborough Museums Trust as part of the Dictionary Stone project curated by Lara Goodband, and supported by Arts Council, England. The work was a collaboration between poet John Wedgwood Clarke and sound artist Rob Mackay, with technical and artistic support from Tariq Emam (video/performance). ‘There’s a fossil shell by my foot the colour and texture of grey opaque glass, perfectly moulded, complete with a scallop’s bow and ridges. Right next to it, but 183 million years later, there’s a limpet. The gap in time between the two doesn’t seem to exist, but I know that it does.’ (John Wedgwood Clarke) This awareness of the silent, pre-human gap between our present and geological past motivated our exploration of the coast between Port Mulgrave and Staithes. We used words and sound, both found and structured, to play within this silence and make connections between the ‘pastoral’, the ‘sublime’, and the history that has flowed from the smelting of the ironstone for which this stretch of the North Yorkshire coast is geologically famous.

Click here for information about Seeing Sound.


Advanced Visitor Day project

4th April - 6th April 2016

A view of life at Bath Spa University by Katharine Reeve and Lee Scott.


Light Years: Coast

Anthony Head and Jeremy Gardiner
29th March to 4th April 2016

In support of the Landscaping Change conference, we are showing Light Years: Coast by Anthony Head and Jeremy Gardiner.

Light Years: Coast is an exploration of the southern England 'Jurassic Coast' of Dorset. It features paintings and digitally interpreted data in the form of a 3D landscape.


Click here for more information about Landscaping Change.



Advanced Visitor Day project

22nd March - 23rd March 2016

A view of life at Bath Spa University by Katharine Reeve and Lee Scott.


CHEAD Conference 2016

16-18th March 2016

For information and booking, click here:

Featuring return showings of Marvellous Marble Machine by Anthony Head and Gift for Eleonora.


A Gift for Eleonora

22nd February - 6th March 2016

‘A Gift for Eleonora’ was first performed in Florence at the Pazzi Chapel in May 2015. Eleonora De Toledo was a remarkable woman who married into the Medici dynasty, and was the first Duchess of Florence in Renaissance Italy.

The next performance will take place at The Roman Baths, on Thursday 3rd March. Media Wall is part of a work, which draws upon the life story of Eleonora de Toledo as realised in the performance, the design and structure of the costume and the architecture of the two venues. Taken from photographs of the first performance and the two venues, the work offers an interdisciplinary approach to ‘drawing’, ‘observing’ and ‘animating’ performance, together with ‘process’, ‘creation’ and ‘development’. Incorporating images of work by Sandra Porter, already influenced greatly by the art & architecture of Renaissance Italy, visual metaphors have been created for the physical and emotional in order to make the work for the wall.

A visualisation in response to ‘A Gift for Eleonora.’

Devised, written and performed by Alison Oddey
Designed, produced and performed by Chris White
With music composed and performed by Nick Sorensen
Costume Design by Tim Heywood
Photography by Chris White
Photography, drawing, printmaking and presentation by Sandra Porter


Forced Walks: Honouring Esther
Richard White/Lorna Brunstein
4th February to 9th Feburary

“We walk at a time and place of our choosing in solidarity with those who had no choice.”

A two day artist-led walk-in-witness, 4 and 5 February, from the site of the slave labour camp, Judenlager “Waldeslust” in Hambuhren, Ovelgönne to the Bergen Belsen Memorial Museum, the 71st anniversary of the death march.

Forced Walks: Honouring Esther is working with the testimony of the Yiddish actor, Bundist and anti-fascist activist, Esther Brunstein. In August 1944 Esther was transported from Auschwitz with a group of Polish Jewish women to the slave labour camp at Hambuhren, Ovelgönne. On the 4th February 1945, the camp was cleared, those who survived were forced to walk to Bergen-Belsen camp. She was liberated from Bergen-Belsen to Sweden later in 1945.

Inspired by Esther’s story and her spirit of resistance, artists Richard White and Lorna Brunstein, Esther’s daughter, weave testimony, poetry and reflection through a 2 day journey generating further historic and contemporary human rights resonances. The walk takes the format of a secular pilgrimage with a series of themed stopping points, ‘stations’. At each ‘station’ walkers will pause to listen, record their thoughts, bear witness and share with the world. The artists offer an open invitation to participate in the project on foot or online.

Thursday 4 Feb 2016: Walkers assemble at 10.00 at the site of the slave labour camp, Judenlager Waldeslust in Hambuhren, Ovelgönne.

5 ‘stations’ between Ovelgönne and Winsen an der Aller: Bearing Witness; Inheritance; Justice; Slavery; Resistance

Friday 5 Feb 2016: Walkers assemble at 09.00 in central Winsen where there is a memorial to the death march that passed through here in April 1945.

5 ‘stations’ between Winsen an der Aller and Belsen: Indifference; Exile; Belonging; Hope; Liberation

MediaWall will be showing a live map, updated during the walk on Thursday and Friday. Richard's location will be tracked and, using social media, will display text and images from the walk.


Fluid Data
Kelly Thompson
1st December to 23rd January 2015
18th January to 31st January 2016

Invisible digital systems surround us, at sea and on land, in the tools we depend on and like to use. Materialising the digital suggests a drawing attention to the power of multiple systems, and also to the potential of abuse, overload or failure of what we rely on. The imagery in Fluid Data layers found and manipulated data files, error messages, symbols and codes of digital tracking, maps of global undersea internet cables routes, graphs of climate data all connected through the subtle imagery of water. Periodically data is “missing” resulting in deliberately unwoven sections, conceptual visual glitches, or shifts in the control and order of the woven structure resulting in the unexpected.

Each side of the six jacquard fabric panels provides details and layers of translation, communication and readability. Woven on a digital jacquard loom (a precursor to computers) the weavings are digitised, with the pieces enlarged 10x for MediaWall, in a slide show that adds a further looping or flow of information. Pixels are both threads and digital moments, inviting a close and distant view of content.

Thompson’s artistic work draws from her experience of living and travelling widely, and often utilises mapping concepts, or visually represents open waters and the borders between land, sea or river, as markers of transitory moments of time, place, body and memory. Recent projects address everyday ephemeral traces, language, translation and the manipulation of data in punch card and digital jacquard

Created by Kelly Thompson as part of the ongoing project Material Codes:Ephemeral Traces, with research assistant Sophia Borowska. With funding from Le Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FRQSC), and thanks to Hexagram and Concordia University's Textile and Materiality Research Cluster.


Social Reading Experiment
Publishing and English Literature students
8th January to 15th January 2016

Final Year Publishing and English Literature students from the module Literature in the Digital Age take over MediaWall for their Social Reading Experiment. Students have adapted three of their set texts on Twitter: Robin Sloan's Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore; Margaret Atwood's Maddaddam; and John Buchan's The 39 Steps. Using a range of techniques, students are encouraging participation from staff and students of the university and from outside. You can join in using the following hashtags, and follow these on Twitter to see responses. All tweets will be displayed on MediaWall throughout the week.

Tweets your thoughts on the texts to

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: #bsumrp
Maddaddam: #bsumaddaddam
The 39 Steps: #bsu39steps

Merilyn Fairskye
24th October to 21st November 2015

Merilyn Fairskye engages you through her photographic and video practice which explores notions of time, identity and place. Responding to sites of historical significance, including Chernobyl, Sellafield and The Polygon, Kazakhstan, her work appears both monumental and transient; she gives us pause for reflection on the contemporary challenges faced amid technological advances and globalisation.

Surrounded by secrecy, located in remote environments or hidden away behind signs restricting entry, nuclear sites are vulnerable to fragile security systems, weather, conflicting protocols, political priorities, mismanagement and corruption, and sometimes just simple mistakes. They reflect the flawed optimism of an earlier age and the limitations of the fallible entities that manage them today.

Radiant was shot on location at Sellafield, nuclear fuel reprocessing and decomissioning site near Seascale, Cumbria, UK; The Polygon, decommissioned Soviet nuclear test site, Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan; Ranger Uranium Mine, Kakadu National Park, NT, Australia, and Dungeness Nuclear Power Station B, Kent, UK.

Lines of Desire: Bringing art and geography together to explore and map Newton Park
Richard Long Masterclass Project
19th to 23rd October 2015

This is a collaborative and interdisciplinary project that aims to explore ways of seeing, interpreting and mapping the Newton Park campus. It is grounded in the work of land artists and psycho-geographers that endeavours to find new ways of engaging with and understanding place.

During a one week intensive experience from 19th to 23rd October 2015, a selected group of BSU Art and Geography students will collaborate to co-create a piece, informed by the approach of Richard Long and other land artists, that embodies aspects of the learned and intuited layers of meaning of the campus in which they are situated.

Using geolocation data combined with social media, MediaWall will display a live mapping of the activities around the campus during the week to form a focal point for student led discussions about the nature of the landscape and our relationship to it.


MIX Digital Conference MediaWall Commission:
General Intellect
James Coupe
2nd to 31st July 2015

In a society where machines have largely replaced human workers, there are few skills or forms of knowledge that remain exclusively human.

Marx anticipated this situation when he coined the term “general intellect” to describe the collective, social intelligence that arises from abstract human knowledge. In a data-driven society, our individuated responses to particular lived situations and contexts have in themselves become a form of capital. With the rise of social media, the conflict between human knowledge and algorithmic knowledge has been drawn into sharp relief. Every time we post our thoughts, ideas, preferences, and comments online, we contribute to a mechanized version of Marx’s general intellect.

General Intellect is a multi-channel video installation that generates narratives from video files produced by an online micro-labour force, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (mTurk) service. Described as “an on-demand, scalable, human workforce to complete jobs that humans can do better than computers,” mTurk allows companies, or “requesters”, to post “Human Intelligence Tasks” (HITs), assignments that typically involve image analysis, online research, and writing. The majority of tasks take around one minute to complete and pay five-to-ten cents. Ultimately, HITs are used to train computers to respond and behave more like humans.

The production of General Intellect involved commissioning mTurk workers to record videos of themselves for 1 minute of every hour between 9am and 5pm, for which they were compensated $3. Workers created captions for the videos and provided detailed metadata about themselves. The resulting videos are portraits of an extraordinary range of people, living conditions, and daily routines, featuring solitary individuals, their families, and their domestic environments. The worker population includes stay-at-home mothers, retirees, the un- and self-employed, the disabled and reclusive, and people performing HITs during their regular day jobs. They are a diverse workforce, with representatives from around the globe. Some workers approach the brief by creating confessional video diaries, others never reveal themselves on screen. Often, they rehearse the genre conventions of social media updates and YouTube videos, by performing, oversharing, and using the assignment as a platform for social networking and for documenting their everyday lives.

The work is comprised of thirty LCD monitors arranged in a 3 x 10 rectangular formation, a “Media Wall” of eight-hour work days. An algorithm organizes the workers’ videos based on numerous demographic parameters – age, gender, race, location, common keywords/activities, semantic relationships, time of day, etc. The captions from each video are displayed as subtitles. General Intellect asks about the value of digital labour, the shifting conditions of exploitation, and the new forms of social alienation that we face today, alone and together.


Marvellous Marble Machine
Anthony Head
18th-26th June 2015

As part of the Schools without Walls event and the 5x5x5=Creativity conference Anthony Head will be working with Year 4 children from St Andrew's School, Bath, to create a marble machine that features the images and designs of the school children. It covers subject areas including art, design, engineering, physics.

This Marvellous Marble Machine is an infinitely running gravity based machine, powered by 16 balls that are always running down it. It is divided in five themed zones (devised by the school children).


Wuthering Quotes
Rosie Maynard
6-14th June 2015

The work uses visual quotes/images from the text of Wuthering Heights. The project plays on how we enjoy adaptations - recalling a text and filling in the gaps.

Rosie Maynard
Year 3, BA (Hons) Publishing with English Literature
Bath Spa University


CMT Behaviour Ensemble,
13th May 2015, 1-3pm

A gallery style sound piece by the Creative Music Technology Behaviour Ensemble led by Andy Keep. The work is a low level/ambient sound piece that blends into the ambient sound of the Atrium, accompanied by live visuals responding to the performance.


Christopher Bingham,
27th - 29th April 2015

playTogether is a project centred around music, participation and above all enjoyment. This piece is an opportunity to play in a group of people with the goal of producing music by jumping on pressure pads. The bottom section of the screen serves as an indication system telling participants when to jump on their pad for the best result, and the remainder of the display hosts visual representations of the instruments currently in action.

Christopher Bingham
Year 2, BA (Hons) Media Communication
Bath Spa University

The Derwent Project: “Lake King William: Every Day of November 2014”,
David Stephenson and Martin Walch
9th March to 10th April 2015

The Derwent Project is a collaboration between David Stephenson and Martin Walch; it explores new ways to visualise complex environments, using Tasmania’s Derwent River watershed as a study site. The Derwent is a technologically altered ecosystem that encompasses a remarkable range of environments; arising within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, passing through ten hydroelectric developments before meeting the sea below the port city of Hobart.

The Derwent Time-lapse Array investigates the location through of 12 camera stations dispersed across the Derwent in representative environments ranging from wilderness headwaters to urban estuary. Still photographs are recorded at each camera station every five minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“Lake King William: Every Day of November 2014” displays photographs taken at the highest impoundment of the Derwent hydroelectric scheme. Each one of the 30 screens represent one day in November, displaying photographs taken every five minutes and cycling through a 24 hour day in 24 minutes. At any moment the screens display the same time during each day of November, in which the level of Lake King William recedes with the approach of the Australian summer, a function of seasonal and cyclical variations in inputs (precipitation over the catchment) and outputs (evaporation and releases of water for power generation).

Between Worlds
Bruce Munro
20th November 2014 to 6th February 2015
10th November-14th November 2014

Welcome Wall
Anthony Head and Neil Glen
19th September - 10th October 2014
Julian Opie
11 August to 14th September 2014

Anthony Head, Neil Glen, Tim Vyner, Kate Pullinger, Neil Bartlett
7th July-10th August 2014

Julian Opie
6 June to 22nd June 2014



Live Web View - Auto-Updated every minute.
MediaWall is viewable: 7am to 7pm daily (for staff and students) and 10am - 7pm for the public. Large groups or parties cannot be accommodated during this period as there are examinations being held in the building.









If you are interesting in discussing opportunities for creating work for the MediaWall then please contact Anthony Head or Neil Glen.

Showing creative work on the MediaWall is free for Bath Spa University staff members, but funded external artists or commercial organisations are welcome to discuss leasing options or academic research collaborations.

Bath Spa University, Bath School of Art and Design