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My computer generated prints deconstructing, appropriating and analyzing the colours of Franz Ackermann's paintings are taking a trip to Christie's Multiplied art fair 15-18th October.  Only two years ago did a friend and I attend the private view at the same fair and loved the editions there (as well as the diner style food and beer).  Last year, I made it down to Multiplied to see Sir Peter Blake and Alistair Souk in conversation.  Now I'm absolutely over the moon to be showing work there with Made in Arts London.


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Time’s Tattarrattat

Posted on: August 12th, 2015 by libby


Looking Up

For the last month or so I've been thinking about time.  Not in the sense that I've been running late for meetings (although this happens frequently), or that I've been having another existential crisis, but rather I've been thinking about the nature of time while wearing my artist-scientist hat.  I've been chatting with a friend and scientist John Goold, who is fascinated by a famous law from physics called the second law of thermodynamics.  Basically, the second law explains why when I drop a wine glass on the floor it never spontaneously reforms itself, even if I continuously shake up the pieces for the rest of my life they will never at any point fit back together.   The second law leads to the arrow of time.

Piece on ceiling

In recent weeks, I've made an interactive digital installation responding to this.  It is called Time's Tattarrattat and I will be presenting it later today at the Aboagora festival in Turku, Finland.  Tattarrattat is not only a brilliant sounding word, but it also happens to be the longest palindrome in the English language.  A palindrome is a reversible word - it reads the same both forwards and backwards.  Tattarrattat, which was coined by James Joyce in Ulysses means to 'knock on the door'.  So this project, in some sense, is about knocking on time's door.

So what is time?

There is still no consensus.  John explains that "it is very mysterious, I don't know what it is.  It's a very difficult question to answer.  Depending on the era you live in, it's a very different thing - and it could be both subjective or objective depending on who you talk to.  I would say now, it is seen as (to some people at least) an emergent phenomenon resulting from the underlying microscopic complex world... maybe...".

Later today, John is talking at length about these ideas and explaining the fascinating relationship between information and time: that if we could keep track of all the information about the movements and interactions of all the particles of our universe, we could in principle reverse time and instantly reform that broken wine glass.


While scientists and philosophers are still split about whether this is really the case, I took it as the initial inspiration for my projection, which takes the form of a digitized cloud, whose evolution is driven by the information in John's words.  It works by analyzing the words for their 'relative palindromicity'.  For instance, the word 'Dad' is reversible - it reads the same forward and backwards and the word 'tad' is pronounced in a similar way forwards and backwards, so it is close to reversible.  Whereas, on the other hand, 'time' reads 'emit' backwards so it is irreversible.  The irreversibility of most words in the speech randomizes the artwork, we can never predict which direction the triangles will move.  For however long John talks, like the wine glass dropping on the floor, the pieces of my cloud will never move back to their original positions, no matter how long the installation is run.   Like the clouds continuously changing their form in the sky, for each different text read into my piece a previously unrealised art work will be created.

Setting up



Capsule Installation - II

These days while reading about  art, I often see information describes as immaterial or ephemeral.  However, being a physicist by background, I always think of information as something physical and tangible - text in books made from paper and ink or digital information comprised of different voltages inside the mini integrated circuitry of our computers.  Incidentally, these electronic states are known as bits, 0 or 1's, and are the basic building block of modern computer science.  The physics of the system that holds the information guides the type of processing that can take place and unexpected things happen on the microscopic level where quantum physics dominates interactions.  The conventional notion of a bit is replaced by a quantum bit or qubit, which can be in both 0 and 1 states simultaneously.  This parallelism allows information to be processed much faster and in new ways compared to traditional computers.

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While these concepts can be tricky to intuitively understand as we never directly view the microscopic world or even the circuitry of our computer, the fact that information is physical has been known for hundreds of years and my workshop at the Affordable Art Fair is inspired by these ideas.  The Klikitat and Yakama people of the Columbia plateau used the knots of the "counting-the-days ball", or ititamat, to register significant life events and were created and kept by women.  "Simple knots recorded individual days, while meaningful occasions, such as marriages, births, or deaths were highlighted with special markers, including glass beads, shells, human hair, and cloth fragments. As a woman grew older, her time ball contained the history of her family and the extended community, including days of bounty, hardship, or even conflict. Maintaining her time ball was so essential to a woman’s identity that she was buried with it." More recently, there have been a bunch of interesting articles about the similarities of knitting and coding.

CLOUD closeup

My degree show piece CLOUD (above) consisted of a handcrafted mechanical screen made entirely from natural materials.  The octahedron pixels were suspended in the net made from linen, which is coded with a thousand of my thoughts from around January and February this year.  Essentially the net is made using a technique called macrame, which involves making knots on either side of a group of threads.  I decided to convert the famous dots and dashes of morse code to the knots used in macrame that would allow me to embed the net with personal information as the Klikitat and Yakama people had with their counting balls.  The mapping scheme between the dots and dashes and the knots are shown in the image below.

morse code as knots

The messages in CLOUD's net are (hopefully!) quite tricky to decode, but in my workshop on Saturday at the Affordable Art Fair I will be asking the participants to write messages about their thoughts towards information and quantum superposition using the macrame morse code above. - what would they do if they could be in two places at the same time? I've got a bunch of colourful yarns and I'm super looking forward to hearing a variety of ideas all coded into balls of string.

Tickets to the fair and more details about Made in Arts London are available from here.  Furthermore, while you're there, spend some time playing with and rebuilding my piece 'is there love in a telematic embrace?' (pictured at the top and written about previously in my blog).

quantum arts jam in finland

Posted on: June 9th, 2015 by libby


jam video

i'm very excited to be heading to aboagora festival this summer (Aug 10-13th) to take part in a quantum arts jam with my friend and crazy quantum physicist john goold.  the guys out there have set up a crowdfunding account and you can watch the video explaining the ideas behind the jam here.

i'll be making a responsive light installation responding to the themes of complexity and entropy.


Posted on: May 26th, 2015 by libby


MA AS flyer

Degree show 1 opens today and runs until Monday: the details are here.

I'll be showing my new interactive installation called CLOUD.  Hope to see you there!! x

CLOUD closeup


central st. martins art and science webpage now live

Posted on: May 12th, 2015 by libby


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Here's a little taster of what is to come at our degree show this year.  Check out my classmates' work and some of my own as well as other juicy bits from the course!



my magnets are going to the affordable art fair!

Posted on: April 28th, 2015 by libby


Exciting news folks: I'm going to be exhibiting my magnets at the Affordable Art Fair on Hampstead Heath in June : )

Capsule Installation - II


Earlier this month, I presented this newly commisisoned interactive installation at Made in Arts London's Capsule exhibition.  It is called Is there love in the telematic embrace? after an article of the same name about art in electronic media by Roy Ascott.  There Ascott notes the continuous flux of meaning in electronic systems of communication and compared them to quantum systems,

‘In the context of telematic systems and the issue of content and meaning, the parallel shift in art of the status of "observer" to that of "participator" is demonstrated clearly if in accounts of the quantum principle we substitute "data" for "quanta".’,

he continues with

‘How then, could there be a content—sets of meanings—contained within telematic art when every aspect of networking in dataspace is in a state of transformation and of becoming?’.


I love how already in the nineties, Ascott predicted the current information overload and the subsequent loss of meaning.
So this piece explores these ideas in a physical setting by making analogies to aspects of quantum physics and post-structuralism via a participatory installation which takes the form of a tangible, digitized painting or sculpture - a hands-on, 3D photoshop - where people can continuously build and compose new imagery, utiliizing an inherent multiplicity of colour to play with pattern making, by rearranging a multitude of magnetic platonic solids on reflective steel surfaces.  These magnetic blocks are half painted with colour schemes derived from 5 digitally deconstructed, appropriated jpegs of Franz Ackermann's hyperreal (dis)utopias, with other inspiration being drawn from Dan Perfect's chaotic, photoshop-stylized cartoon like paintings.  At the start of the exhibition I arranged the blocks in 5 individual piles relating to the corresponding background image giving a subtle illustration of the artist's intent. Then as the show progressed this imposed order and my intent was gradually lost and new structures created.


Capsule Installation - I


If you are interested to hear more about this and my other work, I caught up with MiAL in my studio a few weeks ago - you can watch the video here.


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New work in Capsule exhibition with Made in Arts London

Posted on: March 11th, 2015 by libby


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presented by Made in Arts London


Wednesday 8th April – Sunday 12th April

Embassy Tea Gallery, 195-205 Union Street, London, SE1 0LN


Private View: Wednesday 8th April, 6-9pm


Supporting artists & designers to achieve their creative futures.


Made in Arts London presents ‘Capsule’ an independent exhibition showcasing the ever developing journey of our emerging artists and designers. A curated collection of site specific creations, limited editions, fine art, design, video & performance pieces will be exhibited.


Made in Arts London is a not-for-profit enterprise which supports and promotes art and design from University of the Arts London students and recent graduates. We encourage our artists to continue developing their work whilst offering them the advice, support and opportunities necessary to sustain their creative practice.


‘Capsule’ is an exhibition celebrating the journey of our artists as they work towards their careers as creative practitioners, and the journey of Made in Arts London in supporting them to do so.

More information can be found on the website.
Performance Evening: Thursday 9th April, 6-8pm

Screening Morning: Saturday 11th April, 11-1pm

Talk - ‘The Importance of Supporting Emerging Artists’: Saturday 11th April, 3-5pm


For further information and to register your interest in any of the events above, or to RSVP to the Private View please email:

quantum physics articulated through art

Posted on: February 19th, 2015 by libby


The Cat is Alive

Space Program students from the RCA blur the edges of science and art in a project which started in Oxford University science labs and ends in The Crypt gallery with quantum interactions rendered in new physical, spatial, multisensory and experiential forms.

Exhibition 23-27 Feb 2015 • 12-7pm daily
Private View 24 Feb • 6-9pm
Crypt Gallery • Euston Road • NW1 2BA

viewing art online: the Mona Lisa experience

Posted on: January 25th, 2015 by libby


Mona Lisa Experience 1

We all know viewing art online is nothing like seeing it in the flesh.  Luckily living in London I have an almost limitless supply of exciting new shows and events to whet my appetite.  But for many people interested art outside the major cities, viewing works online is their first encounter with many pieces.  I know I've been shocked both pleasantly and unpleasantly when I've finally seen pieces in their skin - Jackson Pollock's drip paintings spring to mind.

What is this online experience of art like?  Often the pictures are of bad quality: colours are not faithfully represented and a sense of scale is practically non-existent.

Mona Lisa Experience 2

And there is a wider issue at hand.  In 2008, the art critic Robert Hughes made a TV show about the Mona Lisa curse: commercial artwork that is treated “as though it were a film star."  As the Mona Lisa was when it was taken to New York, "People came not to look at it, but to say that they’d seen it.”  The downside of this is ever increasing prices for on-trend art, effectively blocking out museums and other public galleries from investing in, and showing, these celebrated works.   This, therefore, cements the necessity for digital experiences of art even further.

Last week, I exhibited a new piece of work entitled 'The Mona Lisa Experience", which assesses the way we consume art online.  A large, projected image appears from the rear of a billowing plastic sheet.  Initially it is small number of browny, yellowy and greenish squares (or giant pixels!).  As the viewer approaches, the size of the pixels decreases and more enter the frame of the image.  Something starts to appear, but to complete the image, the observer must stand right in front the image.  The Mona Lisa reveals herself in all her supposed 'glory'......

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