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<Contents> ->





<Front End> Intro/ Central Station – Process Platform or Project? Community/ A global network of creative talent Portfolios/ 35,000 member works Member Fund/ Cold hard cash for risky projects. Collections/ A curated space -> <Back End> ->

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131 145

Intro/ What is Central Station? It’s difficult to describe Central Station in just a few words. In short it’s a creative social network; an expanding, interconnected community of people who share work, ideas and opportunities. Yet it’s much more than that too. It’s a space for inspiration, where people can browse new work by thousands of members from across the globe. It’s also a directory of events and opportunities from grassroots to international level and a place to read blogs and interviews with artists, designers, photographers and filmmakers from Central Station’s members and editorial team. Central Station was launched in September 2009, by the end of 2010 the site is used by over 120,000 people, features over 35,000 works and almost 2000 blogs. A project produced out of Glasgow with a remit to promote emerging UK talent has grown into a worldwide community with an audience across 180 countries and 4000 cities. The project at heart is a social platform but one that, critically, places people’s work in a creative context. Work isn’t cast adrift on one of the monster social networks or relegated to the back waters of a specialist blog or industry site. Members’ portfolios are supplemented with new commissions, opportunities, specially curated content and live events. This isn’t a space exclusively for artists or filmmakers either, Central Station attracts people who are interested in a range of cross-disciplinary activities and who are curious about new ways of thinking, interacting and engaging with the potential of online platforms.

The Central Station Book To document our first phase of existence we decided to create a book. You might ask why we would choose to celebrate an online initiative in such a traditional format. Throughout the development of Central Station one idea has remained: that the virtual world should support and enrich the real world, not compete with it. We’re proud that Central Station has results which are

clearly visible beyond the site, as seen in our projects, events and members’ collaborative work. As Ewan McIntosh says in his essay (on p157): “When it comes to the tangible and the experiential of the physical world, there is still a sense of scarcity, especially if the product is one of a creative or artisanal hand. [Central Station celebrates] the real world of art, film and making stuff [whilst] harnessing the best of the slightly transient, virtual world of ‘click here, type there’.” The Central Station Book is a way of celebrating the tangible elements of Central Station in a physical object. All the content you find here is live on the site, links are supplied if you want to explore directly. Reflecting the link between online and offline we’ve structured the book in two parts: the Front End and the Back End. The Front End is all about the outward facing aspects of the site and our community – we’ve showcased over 100 pieces of work from our members and profiled a handful of them to give you a taste of the range of creative people who make up our community. Collections is a snapshot of our curated space, which includes work by established artists like Gillian Wearing,Douglas Gordon and Lucy Skaer. Find out too about the weird and wonderful projects we’ve supported through our Member Fund, innovative ideas suggested by our members and supported by us. The Back End explores the theory and practice behind developing a project like Central Station. We’ve included a selection of essays that discuss digital networks and social media in a creative world. There are also profiles on our own projects and events, where we worked alongside Glasgow International Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, the comedian Phil Kay, visual artist Roderick Buchanan and art collective NVA, to name a few. And last but not least get a snapshot of the site through our eclectic selection of facts and figures. We’re a continually evolving project and you can join in at any moment; sign up then drop in, login, comment, upload or just browse and enjoy. We’ll see you there. Gail Tolley, Central Station Web Editor

Central Station – Process, Platform or Project?

Damien Smith - Central Station Executive Producer and founding partner of ISO – on bringing a new digital platform into the world

The first phase of Central Station has been quite a journey. From a relatively modest initial concept it has grown into a dynamic platform now shaped not just by the team who established it but by the thousands of members who have become a part of it. In the early days we encountered all sorts of scepticism: “What is with this online stuff?” “Social media, communities… all very buzzy but I don’t even use Facebook.” “All a bit too egotistical, way too much navel gazing.” “MySpace is dead and AOL has been burned by Bebo.” Today Central Station is a thriving site used by 120,000 users. It demonstrates that often users don’t know what they want until it’s right in front of them… and then they start to change it.This is how Central Station came to develop a platform embraced by artists, filmmakers and designers from across the globe.

Birth The day job at ISO had brought me into contact with the opportunities that digital platforms offered for distributing digital content and connecting people. We were working on projects such as the development of the BBC iPlayer and Channel 4’s first exploration of user-generated content, the citizen journalism site Alt News. We could see its potential and had started to incorporate services like Facebook and YouTube in our installation work, but true creative applications still seemed limited. It was a meeting with the Lighthouse, Scotland’s National Centre for Architecture and Design, that sowed the initial seeds of the project. They were looking for ideas for a multi-touch table, something that would catch the eyes of passersby and draw them in to explore an interactive map of contemporary architecture across the country.

Instead of making it a fixed, closed system dependent on Lighthouse content, we recommended that it be opened up. We wanted to encourage the public to help build the database, using their images, observations and memories to extend the experience. But why restrict this to architecture? When you work in a dynamic cultural hub like Glasgow, communities of artists, designers, filmmakers and musicians naturally bump up against one another. They might not always speak the same language, but they’re the people who shape the city at the grassroots level. Could the project explore social media as a location for these communities to gather? Could we start to map the creative clusters across the country? Who would help support it? Channel 4, the UK TV broadcaster, was embarking on an ambitious plan to launch their 4iP fund, a £50 million investment fund that looked for online innovation: projects that were defiantly not TV, were embedded in and helped to grow communities, explored digital tools and self-publishing and offered platforms for new or little heard voices. In short: public service with an attitude. They liked the sound of the Lighthouse project but pushed us to think bigger. How could we facilitate new work? What would this look like? Who were the users? Who were the audiences? Were they the same? What did they need that they couldn’t get from the plethora of existing digital services? We recognised a gap: new and emergent talent were looking to find their way in the world and needed a space where they could make connections, look for help, find opportunities, promote themselves and their work and find collaborators. Importantly this had to be in a space that felt contextually right. Instead of their work floating around in a sea of unconnected content on a photo or video sharing site, people wanted somewhere that took creative work seriously. There already existed many specialist blogs and networks but we felt many of these had become silos of ultra specialist material whilst others had an aimless ‘This is Cool’ mentality that didn’t offer depth of discussion or examine the process or issues behind a piece of work. We also understood there was an audience out there, hungry for new work, new ideas and to be introduced to people who they hadn’t had access to via traditional showcases or exhibitions. Central Station started to take shape. Channel 4 worked closely with us to develop the project. They committed to an initial investment presuming we could find match funding and a number of partners.

Scottish Screen was in the process of establishing their Digital Media IP Fund – looking to support digital projects in a similar way to how they supported feature films. They wanted to explore digital output and to look at how a new generation would use different methods for distribution of their work. They agreed to take a stake in the project. With partners like Glasgow School of Art and the British Council also offering their support, we pushed ahead and set up a ubiquitous Ning network. We called this ‘The Forum’ – a gathering of 100 or so friends and advisors who became a sounding board for project ideas and content.

Not everything survived the process. Early on we were looking at ways of developing fictional characters from within the community; a form of drama seeded in real world events. Our Forum and test groups hated it! ‘Why should we be dealing with fictional characters, when there’s enough drama in real life?’ It was an important lesson in listening to the users, ensuring the project was as authentic as possible and that it reflected the work and activity the site promoted. Months later an unexpected piece of broadsheet attention breathlessly announced us as ‘an online soap opera set in an art school” – we groaned. Alongside this, the legal issues we dealt with while developing terms and conditions, user agreements, contributor agreements, moderation and ways of protecting members’ work became a project and potential minefield in its own right. People are right to ask who owns their work when putting it into the digital realm – we made it clear: they did (unlike some networks out there with catch-all clauses buried away in the T&Cs). A submission to the Scottish Arts Council led to an Inspire Award – one of 10 grants given to ambitious, cross-disciplinary, experimental projects. They engaged with the idea of a platform for promoting Scottish talent and encouraging new collaborations across disciplines. After 18 months of concept development, applications, presentations, plans and interviews we finally started on the fun stuff.

People, parties and pop-ups: Time to start testing… For an early version of the site we handpicked fifty artists and designers and brought them together to spend the day running workshops. We showed them how to create profiles, upload work and start using the site. We filmed the day (you can watch it here: As one of the participants pointed out: “The idea of lovelessly adding friends on sites is slightly redundant now. So it’s all about a place where you can join the dots between real people who are actually doing real things.” This became a mantra for us in the early days; whatever we did always had to link back to tangible results, to new work or activity and where possible be situated in a physical as well as virtual space. Before we launched we hosted small events and parties and supported exhibition launches. Initially we did it as a means of marketing, but we soon realised this had to sit at the core of the project. We found a lot of the people who had connected online had never met. Once you get them in a room, suddenly it massively amplifies their conversations and opportunities. We experimented with ‘Pop Up’ weekends. A sort of ‘show and tell’: getting behind the scenes at artists’ studios, post-production facilities, designer-makers’ shops or the hallowed halls of games companies. You may know these things are happening up the road, but it can be tricky to gain access and to forge connections. They were a great success.

“We wanted to find a way of developing a conduit that allowed people to present themselves and their work, position their own ideas...”

Pressing the button Launch was a surprisingly low-key event. No drum rolls, cutting of the ribbon or countdown to ignition. Our production team was in place; gathered from the worlds of television and film production, design and education. We weren’t quite sure what a Community Manager did or what a Social Strategy was, but knew we would find out. We knew we wanted to be relatively inconspicuous. We weren’t particularly interested in a top-down editorial structure. Instead we wanted to find a way of developing a conduit that allowed people to present themselves and their work, position their own ideas or arguments. We announced our first member projects. UZZZ was a crowdsourced self-portrait piece – created by and for the community. Over 100 brave souls sent in images from which we produced a short film which was screened at the Glasgow Film Theatre before every film for a month. A chance to see yourself on the big screen. Our next project, ArtRocDoc teamed up a crew of filmmakers, a photographer and an art director – all gathered from within our membership – with an indie band and a transit van. We sent them down to gatecrash Frieze Art Fair and to document their road trip. Some great early contributors, like artists Gillian Wearing and Toby Paterson, offered us work that had never been in the public domain before, which we featured in our curated space Collections. Film Four worked with us to collate footage from films made by high profile UK artists, while the British Council let us curate work from their prestigious art collection. The halfway mark saw a site re-design with new features launched, including the Bulletin page. The initial wave of members and the work they uploaded – over 10,000 pieces in the first few months – took us by surprise. Our view of ‘a democracy of content’ – with members of the community being elevated by numbers of likes, views or comments on their work – started to fallapart under the weight and volume of work. Fantastic new members were appearing for justa few hours before being replaced by new faces; blogs and discussions were burning brightly andthen getting lost.

We appointed an Editor to work with the Central Station team to select the best member work and to develop discussion points. We changed our homepage, clearly signposting four main areas of activity: Bulletin, the daily digest / Portfolios, talent to work with or commission / Opportunities, commissions and jobs / Community, the member area. We realised people still wanted the role of editor (or curator) to filter and interpret work.

Member Fund and the Creative Heads One of our most successful projects was also one of our simplest. The Member Fund was partially a reaction to the effort required to get Central Station funded. We were compiling inch-thick application forms and writing them was an art form in its own right. There had to be a quicker, simpler way of giving artists and makers what they needed. Our members were telling us their priority wasn’t studio space, marketing support or work experience. They were after money so they could make things. Quick, cold, hard cash. No strings attached. While we were creating large collaborative projects that people could engage with, we realised that many of our users already had their own projects underway but were stifled by a lack of finance to execute or complete them. Often all they needed was a modest sum of money. We allocated £10,000 to a fund. We didn’t set any arduous briefs, we simply committed to a monthly review of page-long submissions from our members. We wanted to hear about projects that wouldn’t be made otherwise. The response was amazing and the fund has led to the production of some of the most startling work we’ve produced in our first year. In addition to giving out cash, we could help by promoting the project and finding collaborators or crew which meant that the awardees could get on with what they did best: creating new, exciting and often challenging work.

us, as is Sydney but the UK is still home for most. We’ve found that many of our members are people fascinated with British creative life. Or we find our members have connections back to the UK, they’ve either studied or worked here and gone global and want to retain those links back home. Central Station is seen as an authentic, unmediated source for new work and talent. Yes, these projects are global in one sense, but what it’s really about is showing the best of local work to an audience that is, in itself, international. I don’t think you can disguise where a project is from. Its roots come through culturally in the way you do things. It’s in its very DNA. I’m increasingly coming to realise that this is what makes a project distinctive, as cultural identity becomes globally accessible, and it’s something we need to embrace. So we make absolutely no attempt to hide the fact that Central Station is produced out of Glasgow, Scotland, the UK, the World – in that order.

All that is solid melts into air Since Central Station was first conceived the 4iP fund was born and has recently closed; Scottish Screen and the Scottish Arts Council have been amalgamated into a new cultural super body called Creative Scotland and The Lighthouse has sadly closed, leaving us as a country with no official platform to promote the best of our architects or designers. The cultural landscape has changed irretrievably but we hope that Central Station can help contribute to whatever form it will become. Marshall Berman claimed that “All that is solid melts into air” (channelling Karl Marx) when describing the impact of Modernism. It’s a concept that I’ve been reminded of regularly when trying to develop a project whose scope and ambition is constantly changing, that uses technology that refuses to stand still and has users who act in unexpected ways. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. Damien Smith, Central Station Executive Producer and

The local global Central Station has very quickly spread itself across the world. In year one, we carried out no promotional activity outside the UK. And yet we gathered users from 5000+ cities in 150 countries worldwide. They gather in cultural hotspots – Berlin is very busy for

founding partner of ISO (

Community/ At the heart of Central Station is the community: a network of thousands of creative minds interacting with each other from all corners of the world. Community is where our members can meet like-minded people, find potential collaborators, tell people about their upcoming show, seek advice and offer feedback. Here they can document their process and invite people to comment on their work. They can start a group and bring people together or initiate debate on the message boards. Central Station offers the opportunity to discover artists who you wouldn’t have otherwise come across, offering the potential for collaboration or just inspiration. Central Station doesn’t pigeon hole creativity and as a result many of our members don’t fit into traditional artistic disciplines. They might be a writer exploring visual art, a designer who’s also interested in filmmaking or a photographer experimenting with digital media. Our members display a curiosity towards cross-discipline work and relish the breadth of content on the site, expressing an interest in music, performance and writing as well as art, design and film.

Central Station began its life in Glasgow and its roots are still visible. Whilst we exist as a global network we maintain a focus on the British creative scene and many of those checking in from far-flung locations have connections to the UK and are keen to keep abreast of developments in our cultural sphere. Take a look at a handful we’ve profiled here and find out how they make the site work for them.









/daniel warrentv


/Janie Nicoll /pussy domesticus


/sam spreckley


/Ryan Hays


/Dagmar Vyhnalkova


/Stephanie Spindler


/fort sunlight


/Alex Hetherington


/daniel padden


/Kirsty Hall


/brian sweeney


/Govanhill Baths ART


/The Gin Palace


/Johanna Basford


Portfolios/ For our community Portfolios is a clean online space to exhibit work with a bespoke URL that can be sent out to prospective clients. It’s a powerful and free self-promotion tool that enables individuals’ work to exist in a supported and contextualised environment. For those wanting to source talent it’s possible to search by location and discipline in an uncluttered, professional environment. It is also where Central Station’s editorial team sources the most outstanding work from the site to actively promote via Facebook and Twitter. For some of our members Central Station becomes their dominant online space, for others it’s a site that can compliment other platforms and networks. It’s also a supportive environment where many artists, designers and filmmakers who have previously steered clear of using online tools have felt confident enough to take their first steps into social media.

By the end of 2010 Central Station had more than 35,000 pieces of work uploaded to the site, a rich variety ranging across short film, animation, illustration, product design, craft, photography, fashion, painting and installation. In the pages that follow we’ve selected 100 images to give you a taste of the work our members are making. It’s a snapshot of the diverse range of disciplines that our members work in and the high standard of work that is being produced. They were selected from our archive of featured work (picked each day by the Central Station team), popular images on the site (as chosen by members) as well as from a callout seeking new work.

36 | Portfolios | | /daisyrichardson | Metamorphosis (Plastic) | /d.cookney | Sshhh 08 | /MichaelLacey | Idiots | /Ellie Royle | The Impossible View No.3 “staff quarters”

| Portfolios | 37

38 | Portfolios | | /siltandbone | white boulder 12/2009 001 | /Duncan MacDonald | Drums of Death | /DavidLupton | Abattoir Blues | /briandickson | Untitled A4 Series #7

| Portfolios | 39

40 | Portfolios | | /Bill Millett | Beyond the Fence | /TheLindstromEffect | light rotation d

| Portfolios | 41

42 | Portfolios | | /susieolczak | elongated images of light | /Florenceto | 05 | /lepeep | playtime

| Portfolios | 43

44 | Portfolios | | /Richard Taylor | ---LIGHTS-- | /olli hellmann | Untitled | /Parc-graphic | Icarus (4 of 4)

| Portfolios | 45

46 | Portfolios | | /g-man | Portrait_01 | /Emmamacleod | Toilet and Gun | /Fun Makes Good | Block chair (re-claimed and re-upholstered, embroidered)

| Portfolios | 47

48 | Portfolios | | /Genevieve | The Watch | /Louweasely | Map Circle | /Jenny_Hood | Consumption 2 | /KatieCooke | extract from History of an Imaginary City --> | /ida.arentoft | Untitled (Flying)

| Portfolios | 49

50 | Portfolios |

| Portfolios | 51

52 | Portfolios | | /chrisleslie | fighting eviction from dalmarnock | /grahamlister | Building Shell | /Greer Cummiskey Pester | tanglebittyblue

| Portfolios | 53

54 | Portfolios | | /jeannette.ginslov | Karohano | /Juliet Fellows-Smith | Three Men Moved by a Splendid Painting

| Portfolios | 55

56 | Portfolios | | /AlexHetherington | Untitled still, Triangle of Need | /armando | Untitled | /alexis dirks | Mountain Saddle

| Portfolios | 57

58 | Portfolios | | /rebecca.cusworth | Eva + Pox | /Ruth Parker | Art Deco Mirror

| Portfolios | 59

60 | Portfolios | | /bobby niven | When black was white and white was black, I won | /Paul Kerlaff | Prototype Modular Screen

| Portfolios | 61

62 | Portfolios | | /hanna_tuulikki | The Sirens Wave | /Inflatablemonster | tellyfish | /lynne mackenzie | Some Still Dream 2 | /Nordpert | The Dangerous Nose

| Portfolios | 63

64 | Portfolios | | /Kylaa | Sonobe Table Lamp | /jamesmclardy | ‘Neo Pavilion - Yielded Parallel’, (Detail) 2009 | /Hamish Bigg Design + Photography | Ico Lamp

| Portfolios | 65

66 | Portfolios | | /Antoinette Parrau | Ceramic lamp | /joasia | None

| Portfolios | 67

68 | Portfolios |

<- | /ChristinaKernohan | Paisley | /distorted.time | the earthquake that frees prisoners

| Portfolios | 69

| Portfolios | | /CannibalDuck | Russian doll 70 | /Mhari McMullan | Embroidered and printed silk camisole

| Portfolios | 71

72 | Portfolios | | /Grant McPhee | Tim’s Nightmare Trailer | /iamrollo | Fashion Loop

| Portfolios | 73

74 | Portfolios | | /danielwarrentv | Marionettes | /CARLA J EASTON | Big Bad Wolf 2009

| Portfolios | 75

76 | Portfolios | | /LU Sisi | Digital Analogue | /Dave_Lee | Experimental Japan

| Portfolios | 77

78 | Portfolios | | /YvonneMullock | Rough Luxe Exhibition

| Portfolios | 79

80 | Portfolios | | /the_duchy | Aimee Campbell & Lila de Magalhaes, Can’t You See I’m Thinking?

| Portfolios | 81

82 | Portfolios | | /SimonReekie | Father Facescape | /Ryan Hays | Untitled Biological Landscape No.2

| Portfolios | 83

84 | Portfolios | | /lornam | Untitled

| Portfolios | 85

86 | Portfolios | | /Ross_McLean | moscow-car | /TobyP. | Built Colour Bricolage 2, 2009

| Portfolios | 87

88 | Portfolios | | /ryansmall | reflection | /amelia_bywater | Translation from Object to Image | /SLangfield | wrmn 0002 | /samspreckley | 8mm frame 2

| Portfolios | 89

90 | Portfolios | | /Lewis_den_Hertog | This series

--> | /Lemonart | Collective Destinations (33 – 40 of 80)

| Portfolios | 91

92 | Portfolios |

| Portfolios | 93

94 | Portfolios | | /Pennywrite | Home Sweet Home | /Ciara Phillips | wg poster Overleaf: | /Marko | Khush Amdeed

| Portfolios | 95

96 | Portfolios |

| Portfolios | 97

| Portfolios | | /LesleyBarnes | Queen of Hearts 98 | /RuthLaila | Earplug Earrings | /Pao-M | Aliens

| Portfolios | 99

100 | Portfolios | | /jbutler | Blakk | /jameshouston | MTV Virus

| Portfolios | 101

102 | Portfolios | | /Beto2009 | Sea Song Set | /Barry_Thomson | Poolshark | /MoonApe | Industry / Finance

| Portfolios | 103

104 | Portfolios | | /BethCharlett | Wax Nails | /angharad_mclaren | shibori pleats

| Portfolios | 105

106 | Portfolios | | /Ben FiST | MiLK WARS | /dan_corporation_pop | Sandbox_13

| Portfolios | 107

108 | Portfolios | | /FrancescaNobilucci | Methods of Killing (2009) | /judithwylie | Toby Paterson - Poised Array | /eggmachine | Cluc Cube | /erisch | Lampedusa (S-W) | /IslaySpalding | Biomorph Rings | /Fraser | Spillage Stool

| Portfolios | 109

110 | Portfolios |

<- | /RUTH PAXTON | PORNKIM | /Rachel Maclean | Mother and Child

| Portfolios | 111

112 | Portfolios | | /Dasha | untitled | /briansweeney | if you need to ask you shouldn’t be looking

| Portfolios | 113

114 | Portfolios | | /weedrunkglasgowman | Ammianus Marcellinus (380 AD) | /Ladyface | Never Mind What You Said | /Missbowtie | JIamin showreel 2010 | /martinkempstrousers | Jack & Jill, 2008

| Portfolios | 115

116 | Portfolios | | /adelinesuvdal | Rannoch Moor | /Adrian | Sunrise Brooklyn 2

| Portfolios | 117

118 | Portfolios | | /Leah Black | Leah Black | /Lee.Muir | Untitled | /Space In Between | Sandy Smith – ‘I Never Felt Closer To You Than This’ | /beki_melrose | Idolism

| Portfolios | 119

120 | Portfolios | | /Unnatural_History_Museum | Oryctolagus anas | /sebastien | Dog’s motion 01 | /StephenCappello | twit_tit | /JanieNicoll | Birds Love UTG

| Portfolios | 121

122 | Portfolios | | /Katy West | KWgreylight | /jonstanleyaustin | nurse | /Jonathan Hall | The End

| Portfolios | 123

Member Fund/ Central Station set up it’s own commissioning strand to grant monthly awards to innovative and risky projects proposed by our members. Research during the development of the site revealed that what artists, filmmakers and designers wanted most was not promotion, advice or access to facilities but cold hard cash. In response we launched the Member Fund, £10k that was used to award small sums of cash each month to projects that wouldn’t be supported via traditional routes. No laborious application process, we just asked for applicants to tell us what they wanted to do and how much they wanted. The Member Fund was judged by our panel of Creative Heads, independent practitioners that included designers, curators, filmmakers and artists. Take a look at some of the projects we supported here.

/Bobby Niven:

> A documentary capturing Turkey’s eerie Hair Museum.

We couldn’t resist supporting emerging artist Bobby Niven and his innovative proposal for a documentary that delved into the strange world of the eccentric Hair Museum in Turkey. Housed in an underground cellar, the Museum is covered floor to ceiling with hair samples left by women who have visited the attraction. Every 6 months the own-

Chez Galip


er, Galip Körükcü, invites 10 of the women to stay at his guesthouse and participate in his pottery workshops for free. Bobby’s film captured the strange museum, its owner and his workshops and the surrounding landscape of Cappadocia. He also made a series of ceramic and stone sculptures to accompany the film. The works were exhibited at Sierra Metro Gallery in Edinburgh.


/Recoat Gallery:

> A whirlwind tour across Europe with graffiti artists Inkie and Insa. Glasgow’s





Pigeon Promotions and Dr Sneaker, embarked on a fast-paced mini European tour with two exciting UK graffiti artists, Inkie and Insa, stopping off in London, Brussels and Berlin. At each location the artists created a piece of installation graffiti art, culminating in an exhibition and launch party in Warsaw.

Fool’s Gold


Co-sponsored by Casio and Nike the trip was documented through video, blogs and images and uploaded to Central Station en route. We loved how the project brought together street artists and fans from across Europe and led to spontaneous artworks in the cities it stopped off at.


/Poster Club:

> Poster projects made collaboratively by established artists. The Poster Club was initiated by visual artist Ciara Phillips. It was created with the aim





artists, including filmmakers, sculptors and painters, to work on fast turnaround poster



A new collaboration 132 | MEMBER FUND |

Encouraging and




ethos of the group reflected values close to Central Station’s heart: that people from all different backgrounds could come together to create something unexpected. The Member Fund assisted with start-up costs and led to the formation of a collaborative portfolio and an exhibition of printed posters.


> Magic Towards Your Face – a short film crewed through Central Station. Magic Towards Your Face is a short film about an exhibition, within an exhibition.

/Henry Coombes:

A fascinating and idiosyncratic reflection on


show Made



anxieties by


creation that



the an










and exhibited in a solo show in the same space. What was particularly unique about the were

project sourced

was from

that the



crew Station

community and were paid in Henry’s art.

Magic Towards Your Face 134 | MEMBER FUND |


> An exhibition and event exploring the concept of neomedievalism and its parallels with digital networks.

/The Confraternity of Neoflagellants:

Neil Mulholland and Norman Hogg’s project presented a curious concept that draws on medieval fraternities and their similarities to online social communities. It considers the idea of neomedievalism and its relevance to contemporary society. The Central Station Creative Heads were captivated by the project’s desire to place digital networks, like Central Station, in a broader intellectual and cultural context. The Member Fund contributed to Avalon, the Confraternity’s curatorial investigation into premodern futurity, exhibited at The Embassy






accompanied by ‘An Unco Site!’ – a zombie walk during Edinburgh Art Festival followed by a party, and a symposium ‘Investigating Premodern






speakers on the subject of neomedievalism.

Avalon 136 | MEMBER FUND |


Collections/ Collections is a curated space within Central Station featuring work from established and respected artists. Here exclusive content and unseen archive material has been curated into inspiring online exhibitions providing an insight into the art, film and design worlds and its key players. Central Station’s first collection brought together previously unseen work by Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing. She granted Central Station exclusive access to her studio work from which we selected notes and photographs that gave a glimpse into the process behind her renowned series of self-portraits. This was followed with three bodies of work by anti-establishment artist Chad McCail.His detailed drawings, reminiscent of those found in British Ladybird children’s books, contain an underlying polemic that raise questions about accepted norms in society. This was the first time McCail’s work appeared online and he was particularly attracted to the potential of entering into dialogue with a new, online artistic community. We also showcased artists whose work isrising to greater renown: the beautiful, intricate prints of Jay Ryan, whose illustrations adorn posters for bands

including The Jesus Lizard, The Melvins and Tortoise, and the work of Dan McCarthy, widely respected as a poster artist by bands like Sonic Youth and The Shipping News. McCarthy was keen to have a collection on Central Station in order to broaden his exposure in the UK and to create an archive of his key work. In January 2010 we initiated discussions with Turner nominee Lucy Skaer, a member of art collective Henry VIII’s Wives along with Rachel Dagnall, Bob Grieve, Sirko Knupfer, Simon Polli and Per Sander. Skaer felt that the group’s work raised questions around collaboration that would be of particular relevance to Central Station members. Several collections also grew out of discussions with Central Station’s partner organisations. In conjunction with Film4 we brought together film clips by Steve McQueen, Sam Taylor-Wood and Douglas Gordon. Central Station also invited guests to curate a series of online exhibitions from the archives of the British Council featuring work by Hamish Fulton, Madame Yevonde and Mark Wallinger and Channel 4’s Big Art Project which displayed examples of public art by the likes of Jaume Plensa, Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor.









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New forms of Collectivity

“The liberating notion that it was possible to completely bypass traditional methods for exhibiting work, which required the say-so of a gallery or curator compelled me to launch my own website”

Artists are strange creatures. They are often found working alone, obsessed by their own projects and desperate to share them with the world. It is no wonder, then, that social networking has spread like wildfire through the creative community since its emergence only a few short years ago. Not only does it offer the antidote to the solitude of the lone worker, by enabling us to feel connected to others working in similarly solipsistic situations all over the world, but it also offers us a simple and effective way of making our activities public, of getting our ideas out there. It was this ability to directly connect to an audience, which first drew me to using the internet more than ten years ago. The liberating notion that it was possible to completely bypass traditional methods for exhibiting work, which required the say-so of a gallery or curator, compelled me to launch my own website, its first incarnation serving not only as an online archive of completed works but as a site for public web-based experiments. In 2001 I began the first of these, a project called Eat 22, for which I decided to photograph and record information about everything I ate for a year, uploading new content religiously every Sunday evening. Long before the birth of Twitter, I relished the idea of being ‘followed’: that people were tuning in for the next update in the saga of my day-to-day routine. This sort of reverse-voyeurism became an addiction and so ensured a number of large scale projects such as My Head’s Swimming, Swear Box 2005 and Tea Blog, where I actively chose to make personal information, ‘the data of everyday life’, public.

This period of change in my own work, inadvertently or not, coincided with the expansion of a new type of internet, known to many as Web 2.0. Whilst these new social networking tools have undoubtedly enabled many millions more to begin to appreciate the negative side effects of instantaneous egobroadcasting, they also offer all of us the opportunity to begin to counteract our increasing atomisation as individuals. In a world which, thanks to the neoliberal policy-makers of the last thirty years, has seen a demise in the traditional sense of ‘society’, these new social media tools offer us the potential for creating new forms of collectivity. They offer us unprecedented new opportunities for dialogue and exchange, allowing us to find and make connections with like-minded individuals all over the world. But these connections are only meaningful if they are genuinely reciprocal. As artists, strange creatures that we are, we must attempt to keep our egos in check: to give as much as we take, to listen as much as we speak, to learn as much as we teach. Only then can a real support network be born and can we truly find our power in numbers. As we enter this challenging new phase for the arts in the UK and worldwide, at the hand of those same policy-makers, we must learn to utilise our nascent creative social networks to establish solidarity and to continue to find new ways of working outside of the traditional institutions of art, which might not weather the storm. Ellie Harrison is an artist based in Glasgow. The first book about her work Confessions of a Recovering Data Collector was published in 2009. Her project Eat

Social media offers practitioners opportunities for new forms of collectivity, says artist /Ellie Harrison 148 | VOICES |


What the internet lacked in these early guises, however, was the capacity for reciprocation. The one-sidedness of my obsessive publishing did little to alleviate individualism or isolation, to contribute to a sense of solidarity or collectivity, in fact if anything, it exacerbated it. So, in 2006 I made the decision to quit this way of working, dominated by what I had come to term as my data collecting activity, in an attempt to develop a more outwardlooking practice, which focused on more important things happening in the wider world and which placed a greater emphasis on collaboration.

22 is on permanent display at the Wellcome Collection in London.

“Great cultural changes occurred in the West when it was possible to fix time as something that happens between two points” McLuhan, Understanding Media Once it’s typed...

1. Once it’s typed it’s published, J. Christopher Jones, Reprinted in Portable Document Format by Dexter Sinister, published


/Neil McGuire discusses creativity in a digitally connected world


by Lukas & Sternberg, 2009, and available online in PDF format from the Dexter Sinister Library: 2. See: Anton Vidokle, Produce, Distribute, Discuss, Repeat, published by Lukas & Sternberg, 2009, and e-flux: 3. Dispersion, Seth Price Reprinted in Portable Document Format by Dexter Sinister, published by Lukas & Sternberg, 2009, and available online in PDF format from the Dexter Sinister Library: 4. 5. Dark Fiber, Geert Lovink, MIT Press, 2002 6.

What follows is a project undertaken by the visionary designer J. Christopher Jones in the early 70s. Described as an experiment with new technologies of Xerox and microfiche, he wrote about it under the heading ‘Once it’s typed it’s published’1, and in doing so produced the most succinct and far-sighted premonition of the short circuiting of the production and distribution cycle that was to come. The project, in essence, involved him writing typescripts, and at any given point you could contact him and buy a book, compiled from a selection of his writings that you as reader would choose. He would then create a copy in whatever state it was in at that point, bind it, and send it to you. In a single step it cut out the lengthy and labourious elements of book production involved in finding a publisher, finding a printer, pre-financing its production and establishing a distribution network. Jones elaborates on the motivation and implications; “...eventually anyone may write what anyone may read, and the term ‘writer’ will come to mean, not that one has written a commercially published book, but that one can write at all, that one is literate, in touch.” The project, and more importantly the idea, preempted the publish-then-edit online cultures that would subsequently emerge, and while not fully social in its production, it embodied the idea that a ‘thing’ could have multiple iterations of itself, and directly ties to more recent endeavours with RSS feeds, processing and generative software as a means of deliberately ‘incomplete’ or evolving states of production. Sites

150 | VOICES |

With creation, publication and distribution no longer distinct, interesting opportunities arise for public creativity. With specific reference to networks like Central Station, it is equally possible to see potential in the (web)site as a place for creation, not just connection

and distribution, a continuation of some of the work of net-art pioneers and protagonists such as Anton Vidokle 2. The web can perhaps lay claim to being a primary location for ‘public art’ if we accept, as Seth Price suggests, that “collective experience is now based (as much) on simultaneous private experiences, distributed across the field of media culture” 3. In this sense, if a popular mp3 could be regarded as a more ‘successful’ incidence of ‘public art’ than a civic sculpture or intervention, the web opens up some contentious debates as a tool and a vehicle. What is also interesting is that as well as compressing creation and publication, it reduces the distance between production and criticism and/or reappropriation. The chance to critically engage with the medium is another latent layer of potential, engaging with some of the issues Geert Lovink and others embrace via research centres like the Institute for Network Cultures 4. Far from the sunny utopia envisaged by California’s first wave of cyber-hippies, the web has emerged full of conflicts and contradictions and it’s important to tackle these head-on. As Lovink notes, “at best the net will be a mirror of the societies, countries and cultures which use it — not the sweet and innocent, sleepy global village but a vibrant crawling and crashing bunch of complexities, as chaotic and unfinished as the world we live in” 5 RSS will feed itself

We need to then think about how effective the tools we have to hand are at realising these potentials. A common sensation associated with Web 2.0 is that of ‘information glut’ – a level of noise and static that at times almost overwhelms the signal. It would be possible to write this off as the natural flip-side of ‘free information’ but as this tide of information increases, so does our ability to sift it. The issue is mainly one of literacy, and several interesting projects have started to think critically about how we ‘create’ within this hyperlinked environment, not least Limited Language, a web/book project engaging with critical writing on design in a feedback culture.6

7. The Social Life of Information, John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid, Harvard Business School Press, 2000 8. Postproduction, Nicolas Bourriaud, published by Lukas & Sternberg, 2002 9. 10. The Future of Ideas, Lawrence Lessig, Vintage, 2002 11. http://www. watch?v=49rcVQ1vFAY 12. Digital Blur, Ed. Rogers and Smyth, Libri, 2010 13. 14. 15. Proud to be Flesh, Ed. Josephine Berry Slater and Pauline van Mourik Broekman, Mute Publishing, 2009

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The endism is nigh:


against newness

sample culture

Wired magazine’s latest breathless pronouncement is that the ‘web is dead’ (though as a caveat they claim that the internet will go from strength to strength, via ‘apps’, services etc.). It’s the oldest trick in the book, neatly dissected by John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid who view technology (and technologists) as being “obsessed” 7 with an unrelenting desire to see everything new as the death of what preceded it. In reality what emerges is a layered environment, subtly shifting practices, each layer augmenting what went before. In the same way that tweets, as an abbreviated form of messaging, have a robust and healthy lineage via text messaging through telegrams to the advent of the telegraph and beyond, so the activity in networked creative communities is not new, it is just provided with new platforms and technologies on which to operate. The interesting question is not whether the technologies, in and of themselves, are any good, but whether they bring anything new or useful to these preexisting communities. We then need to ask whether this, in a chicken-oregg sense, may in turn cultivate new activities and modes of production. Text-based messaging, between the telegram and SMS messaging, may not have advanced much in that they were built on a similar social model of oneto-one or one-to-few communication across distance, but Twitter creates a much bigger shift by planting the short message in the social realm for all to consume. So the networks that operate on Central Station and other platforms are made visible, and in the process more open to interactions, input and chance encounters.

It’s a slightly glib way of putting it, but author Matt Ridley suggests that we’re on the cusp of really seeing what happens when ‘ideas have sex’, because of the way ideas circulate online. We may also be able to put to bed the myth of the lone creative genius in the ivory tower. Historically, this myth seems to have some resilience. But whether via Bourriaud 8 and his ideas around post-production or Sara de Bondt 9 and her collaborative projects to unearth more nuanced (and realistic) versions of design history, there are interesting and taxing issues about ownership and ideas which online networks bring to the fore. In this sense the value of the network is increased as both a channel for production and distribution, but with the potential for parallel debate about the issues involved. But how open is this discussion? The lawyer and prolific writer Lawrence Lessig asks many critical questions about the future of ideas 10, our culture in ‘read-write’ terms, how our laws are badly out of step with behaviour online, and the potential benefits of a creative commons. To this end, we’re always teetering somewhere between open and closed networks, and an inbuilt conflict between the online masses and those who control the cables and connections. Open and closed

Talking in a TV interview in 1995, Neil Postman discussed what he saw as ‘cyberspace’s Faustian pact’ 11 – embodied in the many trade-offs we encounter online daily: between privacy and the desire to connect, the benefits of ‘collective intelligence’ and (some would perhaps rightly argue) a misplaced desire to be identified as sole originators of our own ideas. ‘Open networks’ are of course not always exactly that, but sometimes a semi-closed environment also has benefits. Writing on the discussion board of one particular semi-hidden archive, a member suggests, “There’s a utility to being closed. It makes things possible. In this age of connectedness, places where small groups can meet, both online and off, are to be prized.”

Digital and analogue

Technology is shot through with numerous false dichotomies, and digital vs. analogue and online vs. real world are two prime examples. To characterise online networks as digital would be to completely miss the point. More useful distinctions, if indeed they are needed at all, would be between networked and non-networked artefacts. Much of what is passed off as interaction design is actually, as Daniel West observes, ‘interpassive’ 12 – limited to a restrictive set of human/machine sensory interactions. As soon as interaction design connects to a web or network (of other people) it suddenly enters another dimension. In the same sense that a book is a linked object and therefore more interactive than, for example, a motion graphic sequence, people and ideas are the only thing that really matter. In the unlikely event that Wired magazine’s web-death predictions did transpire to be correct, the network will still exist and will always be able to find other platforms. Just as some of the more covert and clandestine archives and sharing networks that contribute to the web’s share culture simply change their URLs when they get shut down, there is always somewhere for the network to go. Undisciplined and other boundaries

One of the most exciting features of online creative networks is that they kick, more persistently and more effectively, at the false siloing of creative disciplines, formal and informal education and petty sector-specific cultural turf wars, than any top-down or heavy-handed attempts at inter-multi-trans-cross-disciplinarity. Just as at the grassroots level in studio complexes, artists rub shoulders with designers, craftsmen with writers, model makers with architects, the online platform is equally unprejudiced (or at least relaxed) about discipline and other distinctions such as educational background, geographical location, or professional or amateur status, which weigh so heavily on funding bodies and state educational institutions. This ties into a wider emerging ecosystem, embodied in projects such as the Parallel School 13 and Department

2114, where the benefits of self-directed and augmented collective educational experiences are realised. Network of networks: multiples and parallels

Therefore, an interesting future for Central Station could counter-intuitively be found in it supporting other networks, and thinking about whether it could devolve itself, de-brand itself, relocate itself. The future benefits of these platforms lie in their ability to ‘be nothing’, or at least morph and spawn in equal measures. The web is an environment of multiple realities and parallel worlds, where the same information can be accessed from numerous different angles and as parts of all sorts of different constellations. It is, fundamentally in its DNA, not either/ or but both/more/extra at the same time. There are pressing issues of ownership, in the same way that all internet endeavours are inseparable from problems of openness and organisation, but it is possible to argue that one of the best things a government could do would be to fund, with as few strings attached as possible, this kind of platform (or multiple platforms), taking a joyously open-minded approach to many of its members being from outwith its geographical borders, and seeing the richness that it brings. Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, writing in Mute magazine in 1995 with some degree of foresight, suggest “... hypermedia in Europe should be developed as a hybrid of state intervention, capitalist entrepreneurship and DIY culture… once people can distribute as well as receive hypermedia, a flourishing of community media, niche markets and special interest groups will emerge. However, for all this to happen the state must play an active part.” 15 In the spirit of connectivity, funding is connected to form, is connected to function.

The five-handed, thirteen-faceted Central Station clock, (whether deliberately or not), says something about McLuhan’s ideas on time and its measurement. While he was using the concept of a clock as an example, to suggest that society needed to find new analogies for its electronic networked existence, the two have ended up blending into one another, just as the physical network blends into, and is, the digital. Neil McGuire is founder of design agency After the News and tutor in Visual Communications at Glasgow School of Art. The fee from this article has been donated to Telecom Sans Frontiers, A hyperlinked version of this article can be found at: Hyper-Links/blog/2673080/126249.html

“Hello. I want you to pause your player when I count you down and recommence playing at your screen’s request. 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…” Sitting in my parents’ living room, I stretched over and pushed the mechanical switch that would pause the cassette tape. Click. Then came the visual countdown on the TV screen. When the numbers reached zero, as instructed, I depressed the pause button, and the Deus Ex Machina experience began.

Digital Stories ESSAYS

/Simon Meek discusses the potential of creative storytelling on new digital platforms 154 | VOICES |

In 1984, digital storytelling was delivered into the family home as an audio-visual experience on the ZX Spectrum. Jon Pertwee was our narrator and Ian Dury wrote the soundtrack (supplied on a stereo cassette tape that had to be manually synched to the gameplay, bringing new quality levels to the digital experience). Deus Ex Machina would start to haunt my thoughts. As a story experience, it set my mind alight - an eight-year-old boy weaving this cyber-punk nightmare into his own dreams. Delivered through a ZX Spectrum and an audio cassette, in a format that could be described as a game, but perhaps not in the sense we know it today. Twenty six years later, I’m still rating this as one of my best player experiences. And it is in this word ‘experience’ that I think lies the future of interactive content, where the experience can be delivered on any or all of the digital platforms present and future. In the past few years we’ve seen landmark titles in digital art appearing in a ‘game’ wrapper, and making small but significant blips on the mainstream horizon: Detuned, Linger in Shadows, The Path - three titles to inspire thought. What is so exciting about these titles is the attempt to use gaming platforms to deliver experiences that aren’t easily accepted as games. And it opens up a whole world of possibility if we can get audiences to start to see and appreciate our most powerful digital platforms (aka games consoles) as places to get new forms of content and entertainment. And the tide is shifting, as the console world opens up to a more ‘casual’ player-base and the major platforms

(in particular the Wii, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360) kit themselves out as multifunctional entertainment units that sit neatly beneath our HD TVs. Current market penetration: around 160 million next-gen consoles; 200 million handheld games units; and 1.4 billion PCs (less than 5% of this figure are Macs). And let’s not forget smartphone sales, which are pushing 280 million by the end of 2010. All of these platforms offer potential to the wider creative community – not just games developers. In 1993, Myst was released for the Macintosh computer, transporting its players into a seemingly deserted island in the middle of nowhere. It was quickly ported to Windows and has since appeared on nine other platforms, including iPhone. There are no enemies, no time limits and no apparent order of play: the game mechanic is simply ‘explore’. The title had been a surprise hit, and went on to become the bestselling PC game of all time - despite some people calling it no more than an interactive slide show – until The Sims exceeded its sales in 2002. I was lucky enough to have been exposed to the musical works of The Residents and Devo before they both released their ‘games’ in the early-mid 90s (I make no apologies for harking back to the CD-ROM era here, as this was a time of great experimentation in computer art, multimedia production and gaming). These music-theatre-gaming collaborations were sheer brilliance: titles filled with ideas and creative execution. Check out: Freak Show, Bad Day on the Midway, and Adventures of the Smart Patrol. Unfortunately you may never get to play them, as interactive digital content tends to be left behind as technology advances and turns a blind eye to backwards compatibility. And they aren’t, as yet, available to download digitally (at least by any legal means). (For anyone who is having a bit of a nostalgia trip at this point check out abandonia. com. It’s a repository of games titles that have fallen out of copyright.) Out of the CD-ROM titles mentioned, Freak Show is one example of digital storytelling I always have an urge to recount. The perspective is first person, and you start off by entering a circus tent. Inside the tent are a number of stages. On each stage there is a show:

Wanda the Worm Woman sticks in my head. She’s an obese dancer with rolls of fat and sucking worms. By all accounts, she is just an overfed human worm. There’s also Harry the Human Head, and The Residents themselves have a stage, where the band perform with giant eyeballs for heads. Then what? By wandering around, you come across a backstage sign and a door, but the circus master stops you from going through. Try again, and again. Eventually you get through. Backstage there are a number of caravans, each the home of a performer from the show. Enter these personal spaces, rummage through their possessions and discover their stories. Wanda was once a beauty queen, until she befell a tragic accident*. There was another peculiar PC title in the 1990s called The Dark Eye, which took the works of Edgar Allan Poe, set it in a 3D games environment with a bunch of masked performers. In this case, theatre, poetry and gaming all pulled together to make something pretty special.

thing is, the story wasn’t that good – though I’m told the next one will be better. Nevertheless, it proves again that the prospect of story and experience to audiences is a very powerful thing. I’ve been bleating on for a while now about how content producers should start replacing the word multi-platform with multi-industry, as it is in the spirit of collaboration between the various sectors that will lead to some truly amazing output. Digital platforms are a uniting force here, where the creative potential for what can be done is – dare I say it – almost unlimited. This is where the likes of Central Station come in. Cross-creative hubs, with cross platform agendas. Brilliant. And now that the mechanism is in place, we (or should that be I?) just need to shut up and get on with it. *This is purely how I remember the game. The reality may hold no relation to what I’ve written. Simon Meek is Head of Digital and Multiplatform

Of course, what I’ve just described could both be physical installations - powerful works of art. But that is exactly the point. Around the time I was playing Deus Ex Machina, I remember attending a role-playing theatre event organised by the now-defunct Newcastle arts collective Special Projects. It was a youth-orientated project, where they had transformed a warehouse into the Blackcross Hotel - a setting where a Lovecraftian story would unfold around us. It was like being in Freak Show, The Dark Eye or 7th Guest – but before technology would allow such things to exist. Now take a little time to imagine what could be done if the best of our experimental artists and filmmakers took interest in the potential of interactive formats on gaming platforms. In 2010, Sony Playstation took a gamble with Heavy Rain, a title they described as an interactive drama. They made a bet that there was an unseen audience of lapsed gamers out there who would buy a narrative-driven experience, if they were offered it up on a plate. It would seem they were right, as sales expectations of 200k were smashed, and over 2 million units were sold. The

Content at Tern TV.

“Content producers should start replacing the word multi-platform with multiindustry, as it is the spirit of collaboration between the various sectors that will lead to some truly amazing output.”

Star Alliance Art

When I started writing and publishing audio stories on my own blog I was convinced that it would be a great way to connect with people from far off lands from the comfort of my own proverbial sofa. Half a million airmiles later I realise I couldn’t have been more wrong. The growth in our online connections has in the past five years led to only one related phenomenon: in as much as we enjoy connecting virtually to people, art and artefacts, we want to connect as much with the analogue, physical elements we discover online. For me, the highlight of this analoguedigital play off in 2010 must be Johanna Basford’s Twitter art project, TwitterPicture. It’s captured our imaginations: send a tweet, the most transient of our digital photons, and a real living artist will transcribe those binaries into a new sort of artistic physical binary of the black and white linear for which she has become so well known. You can see what she’s up to – digitally – through the 24 hour welcome. 100 special customers pay top dollar to get hold of the limited edition – analogue – prints before sharing them in all their – digital – beauty on photosharing websites like Flickr.


The digital world is just a way for us to better connect with the tangible, argues /Ewan McIntosh

156 | VOICES |

“In as much as we enjoy connecting virtually to people, art and artefacts, we want to connect as much with the analogue, physical elements we discover online.”

Or maybe this tension between analogue and digital is best expressed through BakerTweet, designed by London-based Poke as a means of getting their local baker to broadcast when the croissants were fresh out the oven. A constructed, physical object with a mobile transmitter stashed inside, BakerTweet represents all that is artisanal and ambiently intimate in this digital age. As we watch less television and participate more in virtual networks of real acquaintances, friends and Friends (there is a notable difference), we gain, as journalist and sociologist Clay Shirky puts it, ‘cognitive surplus’. With limitless choice in the virtual world we have more mental bandwidth than we’ve had since before the birth of television, to do with what we please. That would include hanging on the every tweet of a baker’s oven, or assisting in the creation of a new artwork by an artist hundreds of miles away.

The digital world lets us find these physical products more easily and we can attempt to experience them through photograph, visualisation, video or audio. But when it comes to the physical, the tangible and the experiential of the physical world, there is still a sense of scarcity, especially if the product is one of a creative or artisanal hand. Central Station really is the meeting place of these two worlds. Behind almost every pixel is that scarcity of the physical piece. Behind every piece the even more scarce creator and maker. This community has managed to weave these two worlds together, and has managed to do so while both celebrating the real world of art, film and making stuff, and harnessing the best of the slightly transient, virtual world of click here, type there. We can all be in each other’s pockets digitally if we want, but, frankly, when the bread comes out the oven or the artwork receives its final stroke of the pen, we want to feel, meet, eat or see the physical, real, tangible product of their craft. As an artist, that’s incredibly reassuring. As a bystander, it’s exciting to know that the digital world will only help me get closer to the things I didn’t already know I wanted to experience first hand. Ewan McIntosh is one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services, particularly in education. He is also the founder of, the creative industries platform for the north of the UK.

/Aldo Palumbo /Andy Connor /angharad_mclaren /ashley /BenWerd /emlyn

/DuncanMacDonald /Gregor Johnstone /jameshouston /Paul Kerlaff /Roderick Buchanan

Digital Revolution


New technologies, new networks and new opportunities. Our rapidly evolving, digitally connected world offers artists, filmmakers and designers ways of making work and reaching audiences that a few years ago existed only in dreams.


Our membership includes a diverse mix of established practitioners and emerging talent. Because of this the site has become an invaluable space for people to seek advice, share their experiences and debate industry issues.

/art24seven /briansweeney /The Carrotworkers Collective /differentlight /DuncanMacDonald /Gregor Johnstone /Howarth /Jean McEwan

/Jessla /JohannaBasford /KirstyHall /louise_cochrane_design /royshearer /Retchy /yhighf

Work Work Work


From funding cuts to the closure of local arts institutions, Central Station has been a platform for a variety of angry and impassioned debates. Speak out and rally for your cause.

Protest! /alburt /emlyn /fortsunlight /gailtolley /Genesis /JohannaBasford /Neil McGuire /pennywrite /pulledup /Sabre /StephanieSpindler /Windcalmer


The Turner Prize winning artist talks about his latest commission, and how music influences his work

“Sometimes you have something to say and sometimes not.Sometimes it seems that there are too many conflicts to want to explain things” Image: Richard Wright’s Stairwell Project at the Dean Gallery, Edinburgh

Richard Wright

Richard Wright came to popular prominence last year when he won the Turner Prize for his large gold-leafed fresco, painted directly onto one of the interior walls of the Tate which was praised by the judges for its ‘profound originality and beauty’. In recent years Wright’s work has focussed on the repetition of small details, hand-painted directly onto the walls of the spaces he is exhibiting in. The works, made in situ, are influenced and inspired by the space itself. They were described by one critic as ‘invisible art’ due to their hidden positions, for example on the ceiling or, in the case of one work in 2006 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, a high set window which he detailed with ripples of gold leaf. Importantly his works are destroyed when the exhibition finishes, usually with a lick of white paint in preparation for the show that follows; something which imbues the work with a sense of impermanence. Alongside the abandonment of the canvas these two factors work to challenge and diminish the gap between spectator and artwork. For Edinburgh Art Festival 2010 Wright was commissioned to create a piece in the west stairwell of the Dean Gallery. Central Station caught up with the artist, after his In Conversation event to talk about the project, his close connection to music and his enduring attraction to Glasgow. You have said that one of the highlights of winning the Turner prize was the response and connection you had with the audience. It must be nice to chat to the public about your work in situations like this? Yes, I mean, sometimes you have something to say and sometimes not. Sometimes it seems that there are too many conflicts to want to explain things, other times it comes easier. But of course it’s an opportunity for the work to be seen from a different point of view. Ordinarily people come and they only see the work, so for them to also see the human side of it... but hopefully I will also get something from them. The stairwell project in particular is interesting because it is a permanent piece and won’t immediately be removed when the exhibition ends.

Does that distinguish it from your other works for you? Yes, I think that the fact that I knew the work may have a longer duration did affect the way that I thought about it. I was aware that I actually might have to look at it again, for a start, and that I actually might have to look at it again in a few years time. So my thinking about it was more prolonged, in the sense that I wanted the work to reflect a longer duration of thought than something I would just do and disappear. More than a month’s passed since I made the work, ordinarily it would be painted out now, and had it been that situation I may have done a different work. In the talk you mentioned that for a piece you made for the Manifesta 2 show in Luxembourg, you took something from the space (in that case it was the runs in the concrete) that acted as a ‘way in’ for the piece. Did you find something similar for the stairwell project? Yes, there was the symmetry of the architecture, the solidity of the architecture [and] elements which are in the rose of the ceiling, what appear to be honeysuckle leaves. And although I didn’t want to copy that, it was one way into the work. Also, the work of course is so made in the space, that the space makes the work. Whilst I may have started off with certain intentions, inevitably those intentions are deflected by the act of making it. So as you proceed along the wall, working in one way, you hit the obstacle of a piece of cornicing, or a corner, or change in direction of the physical surface which always speaks to the work, it changes the work. The work very much comes out of that process. One thing I find fascinating is this connection to music and rhythm you can see in your paintings. Do you see this influence in all your work? I think so, but I think that’s probably a question which is difficult for me to answer. As I said at one point earlier on, you think you’re doing something different and it turns out that it’s actually like something else that you’ve done [before]. And I think in terms of looking at things, art has been something I’ve been interested in since I was very young indeed, but music has had an enormous emotional impact on me. Music drives me in some ways and so the two things are very close together for me.

Quite often some works will refer very directly to music or they might directly refer to what I call a poetic content of music. So that’s there. I think it’s connected to the body as well – this act of making music and listening to music. When you look at things there’s this possibility to see them as being separate from you and when you listen to them they’re in you. That’s to do with the body, that’s to do with a more total experience and I think it is that experience I’m looking for with painting. It’s not that I want [the paintings] to overwhelm but I want them to become part of you or me in the way music does. And the sense of space is so intrinsic to that… Yes, definitely. But it is this perceived space, the work happens not there [on the wall], not here [where the spectator is], but somewhere in between. You’ve stayed in Glasgow when many other artists have moved away. You were here during the nineties, a very exciting time for visual art and you’ve witnessed that scene change since. Do you still feel it’s a city that can offer you what you need from a city? I still live there! Yes, I love Glasgow. Of course one’s drawn away, many times to different places but I always seem to come back. It used to be, back a long time ago, a city you moved away from if you wanted to be an artist. I see even now, and though the energy may have changed, it’s still a city that a lot of people want to move to, to become an artist. I am always surprised to discover that there’s something else going on there that I didn’t know about. I keep meeting young artists who are doing things and I think it’s great – it’s a good city. I was just in London for a week and I think I could never live or work there. There’s too much anxiety and I don’t mean that in terms of the pressure of getting on the tube – all that stuff is difficult and expensive. In particular in the cultural or art area, everyone’s so desperate, everyone wants to succeed, I guess because they need to, because of the pressure. I don’t have that same feeling, I think people are much more concentrated on the work that they’re doing in a place like Glasgow. Interview: Gail Tolley

Martin Creed Q&As

166 | VOICES |

The artist speaks about directing a ballet and why his latest work could be compared to a very nice toilet

“In a sense I think that I make my work because I want to be loved, so I want people to like my work because that makes me feel good.” Image: Martin Creed, Down Over Up (installation view) The Fruitmarket Gallery, 2010. Courtesy the artist. Copyright the artist and The Fruitmarket Gallery

It’s difficult to know what to make of Martin Creed. The artist, most famous for winning the Turner Prize in 2001 for Work No.227: The lights going on and off, alternates between dead pan humour and deep sincerity (with one often impossible to distinguish from the other). And his work is much the same; it is at once playful yet also challenges everyday perceptions. Take for example Work No. 850, where Creed set up runners to sprint, every 30 seconds, through the Tate. The artist said that the regularity of the running was something that might offer comfort to the spectator, yet at the same time the piece represents an almost violent disruption to the formality of the gallery space, not to mention a display of cheeky, childlike audacity. This mixture of fun and intrigue has made Creed a popular artist among audiences and critics alike and his latest exhibition at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh will no doubt be a popular destination this Festival season. Creed is also working on a commission as part of the refurbishment of the Scotsman steps – a public stairwell in Edinburgh which connects the Old Town and the New Town, due to be unveiled in the new year. If that isn’t enough, Creed is also bringing his ballet (Work No.1020), first performed at Sadler’s Wells last year, to the Traverse Theatre between 8-15 August and is speaking at Edinburgh International Book Festival on 16 August about the release of two new books on his work. I spoke to Creed last week, in between rehearsals for his performance at the Traverse, about the events he’s involved in this summer in Edinburgh, his latest commission to transform the Scotsman steps and why we might soon be seeing the Martin Creed opera show. You’re in the middle of rehearsals for the ballet at the moment, is that right? Last night was the first preview performance, which was effectively a dress rehearsal really because we’ve only had three days of rehearsals, so we’re kind of rehearsing while we do it! Do you see the ballet as an extension of your piece with the runners through the Tate? There are similar ideas for example the presence and movement of the body... Aye, that’s where it came from. You can think of the running as a really simple

dance in which you’re just trying to move your body as fast as it can (because the runners at the Tate were running as fast as they could). It was that that got me into so called ‘dance’, in the sense of movements that are choreographed. The ballet has five ballet dancers but it also has five band members who are playing the music for the dancers. One of the ideas for me is that when you’ve got five ballet dancers there on stage [and] five regular people next to them the people with the unchoreographed movements can look funny and diverting. You’ve said before that it’s important for you to work across many different mediums (and the ballet being one example of that). Are there any others you’d like to explore? Online? Opera? Yeah, I’d like to do an opera! The ballet is kind of… although it’s called ballet it contains singing, for me that’s a chance to do lots of bits and pieces. But that is on my list of one of the things I’d like to do is work with singers, trained singers. At the moment I’ve been working with me singing and other band members. What sort of conversations did you have with Fiona Bradley at the Fruitmarket in preparation for the current exhibition there? She put out a list of works and I kind of said yes and added some that I thought might be good and maybe took one away and she took one away and added something and that’s how it went. She put together the main list, because the Scotsman steps [commission] kind of came from the Fruitmarket as well so I think that’s how the steps thing started because we were working on this steps commission and she was saying ‘Oh there’s all these steps in your work’ so why not make the show, so that’s how it started and I think it’s true, there are lots of steps and increments. Are you interested in how audiences interpret and interact with your work? Yeah definitely, in the sense that I want people to like or love my work, me and my work. In a sense I think that I make my work because I want to be loved, so I want people to like my work because that makes me feel good. But I don’t understand how it does all work… I don’t know exactly what it is that I want from people. I know that

other people are really important. I don’t think I can find out about my work until I put it into the public. Tell me about the Scotsman Steps project… They’re renovating it and they wanted an artist to do something. I proposed to actually do the steps rather than doing something on the walls and to do them in marble so that each step is made from a different type of marble. I hope it will be like a beautiful array of all the possible different colours and textures of marble that you can get. I did make a piece with tiles of marbles, so in a way that was an earlier version which led to this. When you get into colours of marble there are some really good pink and blue and green marbles but a lot of them are beige. So you could have a staircase of loads of different types of marble but actually they could all be brown, beige and white and I want it to really be a full contrast of different colours although within the limitations of marble, because marble is made from the ground, so it’s no surprise that it’s brown! And are you interested in the contrast between its current state (very run down and mainly used as a toilet!) and that very precious material that you’ll be using? It is such a toilet and there’s piss all over the place but I thought the best thing to do would be to try and make it really beautiful. Also marble is pissproof, you know? You can hose it down or whatever. I think the fact that it’s mainly used as a toilet is because those people don’t have anywhere to live and it is a covered staircase. So it would be nice if those people could have somewhere to live. I don’t think they should be moved out, they should be given somewhere so they don’t have to sleep there or shit there. Or to look at it another way, if that staircase is a toilet, when I go to the toilet I like a nice toilet and marble is also traditional toilet material. So those guys should just have a really nice toilet, you know?

Interview: Gail Tolley

4 Art Schools / 11 Graduate Artists / 1 Filmmaker / Plus a Huge Warehouse Party / Central Station commissioned director Johnny Barrington to shoot a film that would form both a response to and a record of the SWG3 show Now I Know My ABCs, an exhibition of work by the year’s most exciting Fine Art graduates from Edinburgh College of Art, Glasgow School of Art, Gray’s School of Art and the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. The film raised questions on what can be learned of art and explored how artists often struggle to discuss their work. Central Station also hosted the opening party for the exhibition which featured DJs from music label and art collective LuckyMe, an opportunity for us to begin to spread the word to Glasgow’s creative community. about our imminent arrival.

Tags: Documentary Art School Exhibition SWG3 Warehouse Party LuckyMe Now I Know My ABC’s 21 July 2009 Event Type Exhibition & Party Location Glasgow

Now I Know My ABC’s

Event Listings +44 141 Gallery – Now I Know My ABC’s curated by Simon Gowing Artists featured: Angus Cameron, Carrie Skinner, Chris Mackie, Emma McIntyre, Jamie Fitzpatrick, Travis Souza, Max Swinton, Rachel Maclean, Ralph MacKenzie, Richard Bracken, Ross Christie SWG3 Pre-Launch Afterparty featuring: LuckyMe Collective .

72 Hours / 4 Art-Rockers / 4 Central Station members / 3 Sleepless Nights/ 1 Knackered Old Transit Van/ Too many parties to mention...

“...Things got crazy... The event was packed, incredible exhibits abounded with work from the likes of Tracy Emin and Damien Hirst on show as well as performance artists in-situ, a fashion show, burlesque and the bands.”

Art/ Roc/ Doc

These were the ingredients for Art/Roc/Doc, a fly on the wall documentary that followed Glasgow band Isosceles on an adrenaline-fuelled road trip to uncover the London art scene during Frieze Art Fair 2009. Along the way Isosceles headlined PLUS, 72 hours of non-stop artists, exhibits and music, featuring Douglas Gordon, Matt Collishaw, Sarah Lucas, Gavin Turk and Sam Hasler.

Members Tom Duncan and Dasha jumped on board to film and photograph the event, designer Ruth Parker was set with the task of creating a cardboard caravan and together they created a whirlwind short film which premiered at The Glasgow Film Festival 2010.

“We had a plethora of interviewees and after our diligent producers snagged big-name artist Gavin Turk we were more than satisfied with the content...” /Tom Duncan “The film managed to capture not only the beautiful journey between Glasgow and London, but between visual art, music and film. Art/roC/dOc is testament to the potential of the creative sectors working together.” Patricia Fleming (curator, Volume/PLUS)

Tags: Frieze Art Fair London Volume Plus Isosceles Documentary Road-trip

-> Watch Art/Roc/Doc:

/65 Art Exhibitions /12 Twitter Led Video Dispatches /6 Days /1 Artist-Comedian-Musician And A Dog Named Sparky

@CenSta would #GIPhil like to meet at Kelvingrove to check out Shrigley this avo?

Phil Kay does GI

Irreverent dispatches from the frontline as comedian Phil Kay lands on Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2010.

Central Station captured the Scottish comedian as he discovered exhibitions, performances, happenings, clubs, gigs and random encounters and ‘did GI’. His antics were caught on camera and made into a series of comedic shorts, released daily throughout the festival and seeded through the comedy networks like Chortle, The Humor Blog and rereleased on Central Station, Facebook and YouTube. We asked our members to get involved via Twitter, telling us the most exciting exhibitions and events that Phil should check out and giving them the chance to meet the man himself.

“Leave me a comment or tweet us an invite @CenSta and tag #GI Phil. That’s me - for this weekend I’m an artistic soldier. Sir yes sir.” /philk

“Today we’re going in search of a white bike, looking at collages, making some flickbooks and probably playing my guitar. Rumour has it, we’re also going to be followed by a BBC reporter. Stalker.” /philk “We’re going to someone’s flat....a lady called Janie Nicoll. She invited us by tweeting at us. I hope she has tea. You’d think she would, since she’s invited 15 artists into her living room, plus all the GI visitors too. Might put a wash on while I’m there.” /philk

“Exhibitions, performances, happenings, clubs, gigs and random encounters, Phil’s going to be doing the lot with Central Station.” /CenSta

-> Watch Phil’s antics here:

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200 Cyclists / 50 White Bikes / A 45 Year Old Manifesto / 32 Cameras / 1 Traffic Stopping Ride Out

An online campaign and Twitter network tracked the project during the three weeks of action, enabled shared sightings of available White Bikes and named and shamed those who dared to keep them under lock and key.

Politically-driven art collective NVA collaborated with Central Station to re-enact the anarchic Amsterdam White Bike Plan – a radical scheme aimed at providing a city with a free and green transport system. 50 white bikes, free to use, were released into the city so that Glasgow International Festival-goers could travel freely between venues and events.

“An informal network of bike spies has sprung up on Twitter, using the hashtag code #whitebikes to keep tabs on where the white bikes are for other users, as well as photographing and shaming those spoilsports who’ve attached their own padlocks to the bikes” The Herald

White Bikes The initiative was launched with a 200 strong White Bike Ride Out. Central Station mobilised an army of cyclng enthusiasts and experimental filmmakers to be part of a crowd-sourced film. Armed with headcams, phones, and homemade contraptions to fix cameras to their bikes, footage was uploaded within hours ready for Central Station’s final edit.

Tags: Glasgow International NVA Cycling Scotland Crowd-Sourced Film Head-Cam Ride Out Twitter

-> Watch the crowd-sourced White Bikes film at:

50 Budding Composers / 6 Shortlisted Members / 2 Short Films / 1 Acclaimed Artist / An Award-Winning Sound Studio / An International Film Festival

“We got a bunch of creative people together, and created something that we all like. ‘This is making me happy’ as Roddy would say. I think I can speak for the entire Wasabi collective when I say it’s been a tremendous experience for all of us, both as a sort of learning-curve, a creative challenge, and in terms of just being great fun.” phipsim

Sound: Image: Art Award-winning sound studios Savalas, experimental film artist Roderick Buchanan and Central Station offered one composer the chance to create the soundtrack for two short films to premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2010. From over 50 entries 6 were shortlisted. The final winner was Andy Sim and his band Fear Wasabi who also won £500 and a publishing deal with The Sonic Design Agency.

This unique experiment and collaboration was documented through blogs and images on Central Station and culminated in a sellout premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2010.

“I’m getting a real flavour of submissions. I’m flattered to hear people’s creative response to our invitation. As the files come in I’m starting to hear there’s a recognised language out there that I’ve not been exposed to. I’m in my studio, running my practice and all of a sudden a window opens up onto another creative landscape.” Roderick Buchanan

-> Watch Tattoo & Lament at:

Tags: Roderick Buchanan Savalas Studios Edinburgh International Film Festival Composer Wanted Fear Wasabi

The Central Station launch: bringing the online community into the real world. A weekend jam-packed with talks, screenings and socialising. A Big Red Bus took everyone on a tour of Glasgow’s known, and less well known, creative sights, and local filmmakers, artists and designers got up and introduced their creative projects.

Pop-Up Launch 14 & 15 November 2009 Event Type Launch Location Glasgow Event Listings Colin Gray Artists Talk Dummy Jim Album Launch They Live Artists Talk Fun Makes Good Design Talk Made In the Shade Shop Tour Mary Mary Gallery ExhibitionTour Sorcha Dallas ExhibitionTour Savalas Sound Design Studio Tour Che Camille Studio Tour Ciara Phillips Artists Talk +44 141 Gallery Tour Brazen Studio Tour GSA Caseroom Tour Dan Williams Artists Talk The Modern Institute Luke Fowler Films Scottish Digital Shorts Preview Screening This Is... 10 Members’ Talks Sunday School Social

Central Station takes a trip to Dundee.

A Pop-Up Event at the prestigious Edinburgh International Film Festival.


Existing members had the chance to meet the team (and each other), new members signed up and the whole community got an insight into the city’s vibrant arts scene. Internationally acclaimed artist Martin Boyce, fresh from exhibiting at the Venice Biennale, discussed his exhibition No Reflections. Underground music and film festival organisers Arika talked about their ground-breaking event Kill Your Timid Notion. Janey Muir shared her experiences of being involved in the artist-led space Generator Projects and alternative art distribution conduit Yuck ‘n Yum discussed exhibiting art outside of galleries.

Pop-Up Tour 6 February 2010 Event Type Pop-Up Location Dundee Event Listings Cooper Gallery Curator Talk and Exhibition Talk DJCAD Masters Graduates Talks Dalziel + Scullion Studio Tour Generator Projects Gallery Tour and Talk WASPS Gallery Tour and Talk Martin Boyce Film Screening with Live Soundtrack Realtime Worlds Studio Tour and Talk McManus Galleries Gallery Tour and Talk The Visual Research Centre Studio Tour DCA Print Studio Tour Martin Boyce Artists Talk SuperFly Pop-up Exhibition Yann Sezec Exhibition Talk Handmade Heaven Exhibition and Sale This Is... 10 Members’ Talks

Central Station set up a hub for a day where visiting filmmakers could find out about the site, sign up and blog their festival antics.

We hosted an innovative event at Inspace: an exhibition of members’ work and a journey through our collaborative project Sound:Image:Art with awardwinning sound studios Savalas, visual artist Roderick Buchanan and composer Andy Sim and his band Fear Wasabi. The event finished with an unveiling of the final work. The day ended in style with a heaving party at Henry’s Cellar Bar with the folk from short film production company Digicult. Throughout the festival we also had two members reporting from the frontline with all the latest news, reviews and behind-the-scenes gossip. They live-blogged during our Sound:Image:Art event, relaying to the wider community the atmosphere and discussions taking place and adding an additional layer of interactivity to the proceedings.

Edinburgh International Film Festival Pop-Up 20 June 2010 Event Type Workshops, Talks, Screening & Exhibition Location Edinburgh Event Listings DigiCult RED or DEAD? Short Filmmaking Workshop Savalas, Roddy Buchanan & Fear Wasabi Film Screening and Artists Talk InSpace Members’ Work Exhibition .

-> Get a taste for our Pop-Up Events here:

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Thank you There have been many, many people who have made a contribution to Central Station.

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