Bournemouth University Workshop

2015-01-20 13.19.48Just spent two very enjoyable days running a Painting With Light video mapping workshop at Bournemouth University.

As with every workshop, new behaviours emerged such as three participants projecting on the same space (exciting and very confusing for all involved), there was a sound reactive installation combining Max/MSP and Painting With Light’s OSC control facility, and materials included balloons, foil, cling-film, kitchen roll, books, and masks.

The next one-day workshop is at Phoenix Brighton again.  Although it has been sold out for months, you can join the waiting list here.

Painting with Light: Video Sculptures: Open Call for Artists

For “Painting with Light: Video Sculptures” at Phoenix Brighton Alex May plans to create a new installation stemming from a participatory workshop with artists, from diverse backgrounds, including those who typically work with traditional art media such as painting and sculpture. The aim is to push the boundaries of this innovative medium and create new forms of expression.

We are pleased to announce an open call for artists who would like to learn how to work with “Painting with Light” developing the installation with Alex May over a three day workshop on 3rd, 4th and 5th December 2014. There will be an opening reception at 6:30pm on 5th December and the exhibition is open to the public 6th – 10th December 2014.

For further details and to access the application form, please follow this link:


Music Tech Fest 5th-7th September 2014

Music Tech Fest is a “festival of music ideas that brings together artists and performers, academics and thinkers, startups and labels, inventors and innovators.”

Alex May will be speaking at 16:30 on Saturday 6th September 2014 about Painting With Light his bespoke video mapping software for artists.

The event is being held at LSO St Luke’s – the home of the London Symphony Orchestra on Old Street, London.

Buy tickets for the Saturday here

2014 – A Year of Two Halves

"Shadows of Light" at The Lightbox

Anyone looking at this news page would surmise that little has been happening here in 2014, but this would be greatly deceiving as much preparation has been taking place behind the scenes.

Predominately I’ve been working on new software art tools that I will be using extensively for my practise over the coming years.  They will allow me to create much richer narrative installations by controlling multiple video playback (including video mapping) with synchronised audio, lighting, and other hardware.

I am also developing my own tools (rather than using other existing software) as part of my own “digital preservation” strategy to ensure artworks that I (or others) create now will be able to be shown in their correct form in the future.

My plan is to make these tools available at some point after I’ve road tested them myself, which leads me nicely onto:

New Projects and Funding

It is with great pleasure that I can announce that I have been awarded a grant from Arts Council England to create a series of new works, exhibitions, events, and workshops over the next 12 months using the video mapping software and techniques  I’ve been developing.  I will be posting up details soon of what’s going to be happening , and there will be an open-call for December, but it’s going to be a very exciting run up to the new year (and beyond).

I’m also very happy to announce that I’m working on two collaborative projects with acclaimed bio-artist Anna Dumitriu that have also just received funding:

One will be to co-create a new interactive video installation exploring the human micro-biome for the amazing Cinekid Festival in Amsterdam this October.

The other is doing the programming for a digital artwork called “Sequence” that will interrogate the algorithms, processes, and ethics behind whole genome sequencing, again funded by Arts Council England.

And finally, I’ve just installed my interactive digital artwork “Shadows of Light” in the main gallery of The Lightbox in Woking in preparation for their first ever digital art exhibition, which opens on July 15th.  The piece was originally made in 2009 and has most recently been exhibited in the Tate Modern and at ICT2013 in Vilnius.

Painting With Light in Caracas Venezuela

The British Council arranged for Alex May to run a two day Painting With Light workshop in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Caracas, Venezuela.
The British Council arranged for Alex May to run a two day Painting With Light workshop in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Caracas, Venezuela.

Caracas is a tropical and vibrant capital city overlooked by the imposing Ávila mountain to the north.  Cable cars and power lines thread across the roofs and up the steep mountainside from where the poorer barrios neighbourhoods nestle at the edges.  These makeshift dwellings are beautiful to look at from a distance, with brightly painted exteriors by day, and forming sprawling blankets of lights by night.

There is an infectious intensity to the city and its people.  Proud of its heroes and in political furore emerging from the mourning for its leader, there are shortages and protests, and regular reminders of guns, drugs, and crime, where petrol is cheaper than water, here in the third most dangerous city in the world.

Looking north west across Caracas to the Ávila mountain
Looking north west across Caracas to the Ávila mountain

This dark fact is unfortunate, but with the diligence and care of the British Council it was not in the least apparent during the visit.  It’s not the first time I’ve been somewhere for the purposes of art where care must be taken (I was in Cairo when the second revolution started) though here I was advised not to leave the hotel unless by arranged car.

I was first invited to give an introductory talk at the Museum of Contemporary Art to explain a little about my artistic practise and Painting With Light.  Afterwards I met some people who sadly hadn’t been able to get places in the workshop as it had been somewhat oversubscribed.

Painting With Light at Museum of Modern Art Caracas

I then met the participants and we spent the first day of the workshop getting to know each other a little and learning the various features of the software.  While the talk had simultaneous translation, the workshop required two diligent translators taking shifts, which slowed proceedings down though with patience all round we got through a long day.

For the second day of the workshop, I invited the participants to think about what aspect of Caracas was most aesthetically interesting to them.  Some chose the architecture, others the flow of people and the transportation routes, and others chose nature.  Groups were formed between people with common interests, and we then visited the gallery space inside the museum where we would be creating an video mapped installation for show to the public that night.

The packing crates had just returned from transporting an exhibition of Venezuelan art around the world, and now we would make them into art themselves!

Each group spent the afternoon organising and creating video content before we moved downstairs and set up the projectors.

As the groups began to map video onto the crates, they formed single installation: an impression of Caracas from different viewpoints by the participants, as people who live and work here.

I used a single video projector off to the side to fill in any areas where there were gaps between the groups projections.

We let the public in to see the finished installation and while I sidled off to the bar for a well deserved glass of wine, several of the participants kept working and adding to their projections.

It was a fantastic experience to be given the opportunity to visit Caracas and run a workshop there.  Everyone was very friendly and enthusiastic about the Painting With Light project, and it was very exciting to work together with the participants to create an installation together in such a wonderful venue.

I would like to say a few thank you’s to:

VJ and Video Artist Ionee Waterhouse for the initial invitation and liaising with the British Council

To the British Council for facilitating my visit, especially Andreina Gómez for organising and looking after everything while I was in Caracas.

To the Museum of Contemporary Art in Caracas, especially Auramarina Lazarde, for their time and facilities.

To the British Ambassador and Director of the British Council in Venezuela for their time and hospitality.

And to all the participants of the workshop who I hope enjoyed it and will go on to create more marvellous video mapping art.  I look forward to seeing what you all get up to!