Where were you in 1997?

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A performer interviewing a member of the public in Safehouse

“It’s not ‘natural’ to speak well, eloquently, in an interesting, articulate way. People living in groups, families, communes say little – have few verbal means. Eloquence – thinking in words – is a byproduct of solitude, deracination, a heightened painful individuality. In groups, it’s more natural to sing, to dance, to pray: given, rather than… Read more »

Holding audiences to account

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A woman in the city at night is about to record a message on a headset

“Questions and answers depend on a game – a game that is at once pleasant and difficult – in which each of the two partners takes pains to use only the rights given him by the other and by the accepted form of dialogue. The polemicist, on the other hand, proceeds encased in privileges that… Read more »

A message from Ju

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I am turning my tanker around and I don’t know where I will be heading exactly or even what my tanker might look like.  It’s all very hard to fathom and I am sad and scared and excited and emboldened and of course so much more besides. I am expecting (when I least expect it)… Read more »

I could ask you anything

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Ju has been at the heart of Blast Theory since the very beginning, so with Ju’s move to creating work independently, it seemed like a good time to think about how Blast Theory ticks. And from my perspective, what will be the shape of the Ju-shaped-hole that she is about to leave behind? Since I’ve… Read more »

Cat Royale’s Audience Advisory Panel

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As a part of Cat Royale, we have engaged an Audience Advisory Panel who are coming along with us on this journey, as we try to work out and develop the complex nest of subjects that is the project. We have never done something exactly like this before, although we have employed many forms of… Read more »

The things that made us: Kidnap

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We kidnapped two people in 1998. Here is how and why. For about 15 years afterwards, the main way people found their way to our web page on the project was by googling “tips for putting people under surveillance”. So, yes, sometimes I have learned unexpected skills on Blast Theory projects. For two weeks Jamie… Read more »

Blast Theory at 30: How we started

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When you’re young you occasionally take unwise risks and we were no exception. Nick is the new kid in Blast Theory (he joined in 1994) and so wasn’t around when we decided to invite a member of the audience to shoot Ju Row Farr and Bruce Gilchrist with a paintball gun. In the style of… Read more »

December Artist in Residence: Maja Spasova

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So you’re here because you want to take part in my latest project HUNGER – thank you! The latest part of HUNGER is THE WORLD’s DINING TABLE. I’m am running an open call asking participants to contribute drawings and text to create descriptions/representations of their favourite dish, soup recipes, and personal experience of hunger. The… Read more »

Blast Theory turns 30

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Gunmen Kill Three

So, Blast Theory is 30 years old. Those freewheeling years of our twenties – all parties, waking up in unexpected places, fraught future plans – are over and it’s time to get serious. Those little shudders when I met people who weren’t born when we started has given way to ones when I’m working with… Read more »

Creative Fortnight: Week Two

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We looked at quite a lot last week – still focusing on Cat Royale but also, more generally, what we enjoy or not creatively, and the platforms and spaces we may want to work in in the future. We will try imagining Cat Royale in some of those places and spaces over the next few… Read more »

Creative Fortnight: Week One

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  The creative fortnight is something we three artists try to do at least every year. We clear the calendar of meetings and other projects getting into our heads and cut loose. We make ourselves unavailable so we can be totally available to each other. The idea is to reflect back and look forward, on… Read more »

BLOG: Pandemics and Public Health

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Pandemics and Public Health

Watch:  WHO expert Dr Mike Ryan is leading the fight against COVID-19   12th March 2020 In the current climate of fear and uncertainty around COVID-19 and the misinformation and fake news which can distort our understanding of the spread of the virus, we wanted to share our work on infectious disease, in the hope… Read more »

Blast Theory video

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Blast Theory Video | A Moment of Possibility

Blast Theory has a long history of making social and political work, drawing on popular culture, performance, technology and games. Our new video gives a taste of some of the projects and people over the years that have made Blast Theory what it is. We’ve made work in all kinds of virtual and physical spaces, from… Read more »

Don’t be afraid of the label

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Artist James Shreeve

Plastic Tiger Factory: James Shreeve   While 2019 felt like a tough year across the globe, one thing that filled us with pure joy was having James Shreeve intern with us for three months. An autistic artist who often works under pseudonyms connected to science fiction motifs and cats, James’s work unites his twin obsessions… Read more »

2051: What if Nature Had Rights?

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Violeta Marchenkova trials a prototype mirrored helmet in the woods.

Early in 2019, artist and Blast Theory resident Marina Wainer ran a project with the students of the Product Design course at the University of Sussex. The project resulted in several group collages about the future of nature and short videos that expand on the content. The work contributed to the ‘future’ section of the… Read more »

Blog: How we created GIFT – making noise in museums

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Creating a virtual museum: digital gifting app Gift

Stepping into the main gallery at Brighton Museum is like entering an oasis of calm. Couples talk in low voices as they pull open drawers and peer into cabinets. Teenagers whisper to their classmates to ask what they’re supposed to do here. Grandparents distract children with centuries worth of artefacts from the museum’s peculiar assembly… Read more »

Digital gifting at the Munch Museum, Oslo

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Gift will be available to try at the Munch Museum until March 2020.   Our museum app Gift is now available to try at the Munch Museum in Oslo. Visitors to ‘Everything We Own – the Art of Edvard Munch and More’ will be able to select paintings and objects from the collection and send them… Read more »

Ask the Artists

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Japanese street view

We have been inviting you all to ask the artists and team here questions (absolutely anything!) relating to our practice, and have been sharing these in our monthly mailouts. Realising how hard it is to get our answers into a couple of sentences, we have decided to publish the full unadulterated versions here in our… Read more »

Guest blog by resident artist Marina Wainer

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Collage image courtesy of the artist.

I arrived at 20 Wellington Road with the intention of writing a new project. Entitled at the time (No)Man’s Land, the starting point was rather a question: what if natural elements had legal status? The terrace at 20 Wellington Road As the title was pretty confusing, at the time of applying for the residency, I… Read more »

Meet our new pvi and Australia Council resident

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PVI Cat Jones

We’re thrilled to welcome our new resident Cat Jones who joins us as part of the international residency program from pvi collective and in partnership with the Australia Council. Cat will be working on a new project Medicament for your Predicament, resulting from her Create NSW Fellowship examining medicine and feminist futures, as supported by Create NSW…. Read more »

A Serious Game

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Operation Black Antler by Blast Theory

Operation Black Antler is an immersive theatre piece in which the audience are tasked with infiltrating a protest group. In collaboration with Hydrocracker, we are bringing the work to the Southbank Centre in April. I want to explain why I believe this is an important time to tackle issues of undercover policing and why Operation… Read more »

Games Can Help Us Understand Power

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Kidnap 1998 by Blast Theory

– Matt Locke is Director of Storythings, Deputy Chair of British Science Association and also runs The Story.     A couple of years ago, I tried to rob a bank. I spent a dusky early evening walking around the city, following instructions over my phone. I met up with a stranger in a desolate parking lot and together… Read more »

Going undercover: what is Operation Black Antler?

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Operation Black Antler Safehouse

  With our collaborators Hydrocracker, we have just launched Operation Black Antler – an immersive theatre work in which members of the public are invited to go undercover at a protest meeting on the fringes of British society. Like many of the projects we’ve made, it is a risky work that puts the audience in… Read more »

20 years of Blast Theory and Mixed Reality Lab

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Promotional image for Desert Rain (1999). A white woman standing in a big parka coat. Behind them is a projector featuring a image of a desert. CGI numbers overlay the image.

From VR warfare installations, to interrogations at the Venice Biennale about political violence, our work with the University of Nottingham’s Mixed Reality Lab has produced 12 new works since the nineties. We’re celebrating the 20th anniversary by taking a look back at some of them.     Our development as a group of artists working with… Read more »

Blast Theory and Mixed Reality Lab in conversation

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Uncle Roy 2

    Our development as a group of artists working with technology has been made possible by, to our knowledge, the longest and deepest collaboration between an artists’ group and a university in the world. Working closely together, we have created 12 new artworks – from VR warfare installations, to interrogations at the Venice Biennale… Read more »

Teddy Freeman on interning with Blast Theory

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Like every charity we rely on volunteers. Countless people help us out for nothing. But this year we set out to offer paid internships too: to make sure that the opportunities we can offer also go to people who cannot afford to give their time for free. With the support of amazingly generous donors we… Read more »

126,000 tune in to watch Bloodyminded

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  On October 14th, Europe’s first ever interactive feature film Bloodyminded was broadcast live from an army base to cinemas and online. 126,000 people around the world have viewed the film online so far, and up to 1,000 people watched on the night in cinemas across Europe. The film broke new ground in artistic and technical ambition…. Read more »

Read the knockout reviews for Operation Black Antler in Manchester

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…like a shot of adrenaline straight to your moral compass. Circles and Stalls Operation Black Antler’s latest run in Manchester is receiving great reviews, with audiences and critics commenting on the show’s ability to make you question yourself and the role of surveillance in our society. Manchester Evening News commented “Difficult, disturbing, challenging – one… Read more »

Welcome to the World of Serious Games

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– A guest blog by Caleb Lewis It starts with a text message. You don’t recognise the number. But they seem to know you. It’s Luke, a guy you used to go to school with. You didn’t know him very well. In fact you’d forgotten all about him. But he remembers you. And he needs… Read more »

Through a wall

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– a guest blog by Alinah Azadeh For many years I have made work – installations, sculptures, performances –  which have been sparked by my own personal narratives  – as a bridge for the public to bring their own stories to the work, through objects or texts and latterly, by performing them with me. I… Read more »

Another person’s shoes

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– a guest blog by Sarah-Jayne Butler, cast member for Operation Black Antler  As an actor a huge draw to this project was the opportunity to work collaboratively, creating a piece of work that seeks to challenge and question our own perceptions and understanding rather than to offer answers. No script to hide behind, no… Read more »

Everybody Is Perfect

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Here’s a few images from my whirlwind introduction to Indonesia courtesy of the British Council. Alongside a group of seven from the UK, I travelled from the megacity of Jakarta to Yogyakarta to present some of Blast Theory’s projects and meet artists working with digital media, then to a short residency in the village of Jatiwangi and finally to Bandung… Read more »

Prematurely Stunned

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Tomorrow I am going for 10 days to the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent in the world, according to Wikipedia, I am going to Africa. I have never been there before and I am trying to work out in advance what it is that “Playable Cities” means to me, in relation to Lagos. It’s only… Read more »

Why we are making Operation Black Antler

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We have just launched our next project, Operation Black Antler – an immersive theatre work in which members of the public are invited to go undercover at a protest meeting. Like many of the projects we’ve made, it is a risky work that puts the audience in a situation they would not normally be in…. Read more »

Blast Theory 25 Years

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  Blast Theory will be exactly 25 on the 10th April this year.  Here are the minutes from the first ever meeting we had: Wednesday April 10th 1991 8-11pm 284 Caledonian Road Matt Adams,Helen Hitchin, Niki Jewitt, Michelle Williams, Ju Row Farr, Will Kittow, Robin Tomens, Lorraine Hall Matt and Ju gave brief description of… Read more »

How to make your own tools

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– a guest blog by Rachel Henson I like finding ways through an unfamiliar place. There’s a shift to a kind of all-around alertness which charges the location. It’s like a film I’m walking through, a visceral, and felt-in-the-body experience. I need tools that use this shift; that work with, rather than suspend, our heightened… Read more »

A little bit about workshops

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We run workshops and smaller projects quite a lot and I think they sometimes go unnoticed amongst Blast Theory’s bigger projects. So it’s really great to be running Apps for Art and Artists here in our studio in March – specially created, on our own terms, building out from our processes and projects such as… Read more »

The First Team meeting in Brazil

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Last night I met the team, a wonderful group of people on this independent Mesa, who have signed up to go on a journey into the unknown with Blast Theory with me at the helm. Everyone has a great wealth of experience and knowledge in many areas from advertising, to research, photography to journalism, semiotics… Read more »

Guest blog from resident artist Katie-Dale Everett

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Behind the scenes photo from the Digital Tattoo shoot, image courtesy of the artist. Image by RULER

It has been proposed that our digital information will last longer than we will ourselves in the flesh. The average person spends 2 hours and 25 minutes per day using social networks, 80% of people use their mobiles to update their online identity on Twitter whilst on the move and 70 million photos are sent… Read more »

A Room of One’s Own..

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A model of an elephant on a window sill

It’s all about processes for me this month – I’ve just finished a months unexpected studio residency here at Blast Theory. I generally work in video, with an initial background in photography and an increasing focus on installation. I’m interested in text and the role of language and different forms of story telling and histories… Read more »

Cables, connectivity and Toronto.

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Cast and crew of My One Demand

My One Demand may be our most ambitious project to date – I feel like I’ve said this before, but this is certainly pushing all of our boats way out. Work with the cast is well underway, we are sorting out the live link to the cinema, the codes for playing online, how to move… Read more »

Matt Adams on psychological profiling in Karen

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Artist Nick and Researcher Dr Kelly Page

Our latest work Karen is an app that uses psychological profiling techniques to adapt the story to you. We worked extensively with researchers including Geraldine Nichols, Professor Nina Reynolds and Dr Kelly Page to understand the origin and development of psychological profiling and to uncover the subjectivity and distortion that exists in personality profiling. In this short… Read more »

Matt Adams explains how Karen uses interactivity

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Our latest work Karen is a mixture of game play and storytelling. In creating the app, we wanted to deliver a rich plot and complex emotion whilst still allowing players some control over how the story would unfold. In this short vlog, Blast Theory artist Matt Adams gives an insight into how the app allows… Read more »

Crowdfunding – A Guide by Blast Theory

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In October 2014 we ran a crowdfunding campaign to fund the minimum amount of development time needed to deliver our new artistic app Karen. Thanks to our incredible audiences, old and new, we successfully hit our target and then some. We are now deep in development, with the artists only coming up for air to… Read more »

Operation Black Antler: collaborative project in development

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Blast Theory and Hydrocracker planning in a top secret location

  In 2012 we began collaborating with fellow Brighton based company Hydrocracker. Led by Jem Wall and Richard Hahlo, Hydrocracker have produced a number of compelling site specific theatre pieces. New World Order was a fantastic production in Brighton Town Hall and Shoreditch Town Hall that mixed several Harold Pinter plays; the audience began above… Read more »

Playing Dead

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Film still from Auditorium. Image courtesy of the artist.

One of the romances of writing is in the simplicity of tools required. As long as you are equipped with a writing device containing some kind of ink or carbon and a surface to depress it on – you can write – and carried with you, this action of writing can be undertaken almost anywhere…. Read more »

Krautrock R&D

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Last week we spent five days doing research and development on a new project. I worked with John Hunter, with Ju, Sarah and Liat from Blast Theory to explore the possibility of a new documentary work about the intersection between the Krautrock school of German music and the radical left wing opposition in West Germany from the… Read more »

The Gift by Marcel Mauss

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I am reading The Gift (Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Society) by Marcel Mauss at the moment, ongoing research for a yet undefined project and just wanted to share a quote from the introduction section. It is written by E.E. Evans-Pritchard. “But he not only wrote about the social solidarity and collective sentiments. … Read more »

We Whisper In Your Ear A Great Secret. 100th Anniversary of BLAST.

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Blast Theory are currently here at Cambridge Junction as we open Rider Spoke tonight, as part of the city’s Velo Festival, celebrating the Tour de France coming to Cambridge on Monday. Liat was writing her questions for the Long Live the Vortex! blog and had a PDF of BLAST open on her laptop… All these memories came flooding back of writing my… Read more »

Long Live the Vortex! 100th Anniversary of BLAST

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Selected quotes from BLAST Publication.

On July 2nd 1914 BLAST, Wyndham Lewis’s Vorticist’s literary magazine, was first published. Blast Theory’s name comes from the manifesto found in the magazine, where the Vorticists name a long list of things that should be ‘Blasted’ and things that should be ‘Blessed’. Being the publication’s 100th year anniversary I took the chance to read… Read more »

From the bunker. .(hello hello)

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Still from a film by Becky Edmunds

Sometimes it’s good to go to a place where there are few distractions. A place without windows – where you can’t see the world outside and the only option is to sit there, with yourself and the walls. “Hello walls (hello hello) how things go for you today?” Blast Theory had such a space that… Read more »

Assuming you’re not delusional. . .

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One of our source's of inspiration.

We’ve just had Nina Reynolds and Kelly Page here for two days. Nina is a Professor of Marketing at the University of Southampton and Kelly is an Assistant Professor in Arts Entertainment and Media Management at Columbia College Chicago. We’re collaborating together on a commission for the National Theatre of Wales. We’ve been working on… Read more »

Cash money

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This is an open letter in response to blogs by Bryony Kimmings and Andy Field about money. Dear Andy (who I know) and Bryony (who I don’t), Thanks a lot for your posts. It’s great to talk more about money. Most artists shy away from it and it doesn’t do us any good at all…. Read more »

Trip to Buffalo

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Participants at workshop at University at Buffalo in September 2013

So we’ve been in Buffalo at University at Buffalo for about a week working with a fantastic and smart group of people in media studies, visual studies and theatre studies courtesy of the lovely Mark Shepard and Sarah Bay-Cheng. We also did a lecture and studio visits and broke down Ulrike And Eamon Compliant into… Read more »

Fixing Point at Brighton Festival

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A metal fixing point

Fixing Point is sold out at this years’ Brighton Festival already, which is amazing, and so I wanted to let you know a few things about the work before I go into lock down mode. I feel especially excited about our collaboration with Chris Clark the electronic musician on Fixing Point. He is a fantastic… Read more »

Reality film

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Film still form Alan Clarke's film Elephant

Today I’ve been watching some of Alan Clarke’s amazing films about Northern Ireland. Elephant (1989) is a classic. So much so, that Gus Van Sant lifted the title and some aspects of the cinematography for his 2003 film about a high school massacre. Alan Clarke’s original is a very different, more challenging film. I can’t think of… Read more »

Disaster utopia

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Daisuke Oono

The next day I did an interview with Daisuke Oono, a journalist with NHK who is from the Sendai area. He was on the scene immediately after the tsunami struck. He spoke honestly and movingly about the tension between being a journalist and a human being in that situation. Most strikingly, he described the immediate… Read more »

Trip to Sendai

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A freighter pushed inland by the tsunami

Some days make me realise all over again what a privilege it is to be an artist. I’ve spent the day being shown around the tsunami impact zone just outside Sendai. We are researching a new project for the Aichi Triennale in 2013 and I’ve come to the area to learn more about the wider… Read more »

Thinking about behavioural profiling

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Today, I’m working on a new project for National Theatre Wales. It doesn’t even have a stable title yet but we’re looking at questionnaires and personality profiling. As so often is the way I found my way back to Adam Curtis. Marx may have provided the best analysis for economic and political realities in the… Read more »