The Anti Design Festival aims to shake up notions of design

As details of the Anti Design Festival begin to emerge, curator Neville Brody has spoken about a collaborative 3D sound installation project between the BBC and artists Charlesworth, Lewandowski and Mann.

The ADF, which will coincide with the London Design Festival on 18-26 September, will look to agitate and question the ’linear’ processes of design projects, according to Brody. He calls ADF a ’reaction against success culture’ and says it will ’embrace the unfinished’.

Brody says, ’Too much work comes from the ad agency approach, where you decide on the sensation you want to create and then work out how to make it. Rather, you should start with the premise and not prescribe where it will end up.’

Brody references writer William Burroughs’ ’cut-up’ technique, a concept that has inspired the installation, which is now using the working title The Cut Up. The process involves cutting up a text and rearranging it to make a new one.

BBC Research and Development came together with art collective CL&M at a curatorial event for the ADF set up in April by Brody. He says, ’We brought in 25 people, who chose to be contributors, collaborators or curators, and found like-minded people naturally.’

The Cut Up project, which is still under development, will involve recording performance and audience interaction around a CL&M stage environment, re-ordering content and playing it back to visitors in a ’closed-loop system’.

Recording equipment and speakers designed by the BBC (pictured top right) will be embedded into furniture by the artists, who say a perfect 3D sound quality can be experienced by those who orient themselves at the centre of the space. ’Throughout the festival there’ll be photographic and audio recordings being fed back into the system,’ says CL&M’s Dave Charlesworth. He adds, ’You can take something linear and rejoin it. Information will be self-generating and perpetuating; the idea is culture updating and remixing itself.’

Several interactive points will be set up within the space (plan pictured top left) to react to people’s movement and sound, using this to control the output of the system. These points will also have local displays of generative graphics and cut-up video to encourage people to interact.
BBC Research and Development staff are donating their free time to the project and hope they can show the public the improvements in quality and efficiency of broadcast technology.

Chris Pike, trainee technologist at BBC Research and Development, says the 3D system will use ’ambisonic technology’, where sound is produced ’with height information as well as horizontal surround sound’. This is known as a ’sound-field representation’.

Ambisonics, Pike says, is a format the BBC is currently investigating, which will ’allow more creative possibilities, bring cost savings within the BBC and provide better audience experience’.

Visual computing software developed by the BBC will allow it to process images of ADF visitors to be fed back into the installation and also display information through graphics. This will be projected on to a screen behind the CL&M-designed stage.

Some of the technology is used in sports broadcasting. Pike says, ’We are working on a system that can produce 3D sports coverage from several standard 2D broadcast cameras’ – an automated production technique he expects will be used in the London 2012 Olympics.

Take it further

  • The Anti Design Festival will be held from 18-26 September on 28 Redchurch Street in the Londonewcastle project space, London E2
  • An excerpt from the ADF manifesto says, ’Generic culture hypnotises us all into generic patterns, where control is visibly invisible. Danger is replaced by fear. New means upgrade. Risk is obsolete’
  • Design Week will run an ADF supplement in the 16 September issue

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