Tag Archives: catalysts

Edge hack day

A number of the current residents and catalysts got together with PhD students from QUT’s Urban Informatics group to work with the newly released Edge public power consumption data. The ideas was to find new and creative ways of visualising the energy consumption at the Edge.

We had some excellent activities which included hacking Edge-labelled LED power buttons, creating a clock-like Arduino-based usage display, OSC-based input simulations, a Quartz visualisation and a Flash-based display.

We are currently thinking about making this a regular event and opening it up to a wider audience.

More photos can be found here.

Don’t reach out, go out

People often talk about reaching out to the youth, usually about how difficult it is.

Changing people’s behaviour is always difficult, and the metaphor of ‘reaching out’ implies that you’re reaching out to lasso people and pull them where you want them to be.

If people really wanted to communicate with young people, I’d think they might consider going out to where young people hang out rather than trying to convince them to hang out elsewhere.

That might sound weird coming from someone who works at The Edge, a project based on building a super-cool space for young people to go to, and maybe it is.

But we’re also doing projects like the 2700 Second Challenge.

In late April and early May, a group of young people who hang out in the Brisbane CBD will spend 2700 seconds—or 45 minutes—working on a project of their choosing.

In 45 minutes, they will conceptualise, plan and complete their project against the backdrop of King George Square by themselves or in small groups.

Working with our first international Resident, mervin Jarman, they will be given project instructions, digital and physical resources, and examples of finished projects.

A tutor will be there the whole time to help with technical or other difficulties but mostly the projects will be self-directed, self-paced and participants will be encouraged to solve their own problems and assist each other.

mervin will be facilitating two of these workshops while he’s in Brisbane as an extension of Brisbane Youth Service’s and Visible Ink’s theatre-based Acting Out project.

By taking this project to where young people choose to be already, and building on the success of Acting Out and mervin’s internationally acclaimed projects, we’re hoping The Edge will pique the interest of workshop participants in the diversity of things they can do by combining technology with their natural creativity.

The idea is to expand people’s horizons, give them the confidence that they can complete a worthwhile project, foster new skills, and introduce them to cool people like mervin and Edge Catalysts.

We also hope that participants will walk away from the 2700 Second Challenge with a creative outcome that has cred with their friends and family, like wearable art, completed videos online, a music track they’ve written and performed.

About Acting Out

Over the last 12 months BYS and Vis Ink have partnered to deliver the very successful Acting Out project with at risk young people in King George Square.

Acting Out is a series of weekly safe, engaging drama activities in neutral public space. The secret to the success of Acting Out program has been the short, engaging, low-risk activities. They’re low-risk because participants are confident that they are not going to be embarrassed or pressured into doing something they don’t want to do.

Show Pony—The Very First

Saturday afternoon saw us Catalysts take over The Edge’s auditorium for some good old-fashioned self-indulgence. We set ourselves up smack bang in the middle of the room, whipped out some toys (quite literally in Sandra’s case), and got to work doing what we do best. It was The Edge’s very first Show Pony event and it was birthed to give everyone an idea of what we can do.

Our afternoon began with music from Andrew Curnock piped into the auditorium. Andrew is a sound artist and Catalyst who lends himself to digital media, spending his time designing game soundtracks and the like. He works under the moniker of Beat Therapy and we were treated to some of these creations while we warmed up to the event.

I, for the duration of the event, filled the position of Master of Ceremonies (or MC for those born later than the 1950s).  At The Edge I’m the journalism Catalyst but unfortunately journalism isn’t a particularly engaging performance art, so I ended up as MC.

Now before I get into the afternoon’s performances I feel obliged to describe the rather eclectic scene we created within the space. We had Jaymis, Catalyst and visualist extraordinaire, set up with laptop, a vast array of cables and interfaces, and several tiny cameras. He produced some pretty awe-inspiring projections throughout Show Pony using just these tiny cameras and an array of effects.

Show Pony Number 1 from The Edge on Vimeo.

Catalyst Sandra, a kinetic sculptor and artist, arrived with a box of clockwork toys and a map of the world to a crowd of bemused faces. She set up and explained how her background in physiotherapy fed her passion for kinetics (movement) and her creativity helped her explore some very original applications of wind-up toys (i.e. toy soldiers marching on a map of the world from the US to Asia to create a narrative play space). You can play with this idea at her upcoming workshops.

Catalyst Sandra, a kinetic sculptor and artist, arrived with a box of clockwork toys and a map of the world to a crowd of bemused faces. She set up and explained how her background in physiotherapy fed her passion for kinetics (movement) and her creativity helped her explore some very original applications of wind-up toys (i.e. Toy soldiers marching on a map of the world from the US to Asia to create a narrative play space). You can play with this idea at her upcoming workshops.

Time for the performances.  Writer, academic, musician and Catalyst, Ian Rogers, kicked us off with some drone metal. Ian’s special blend of noise and rhythm is created using Abelton Live software and some clever patching. If you’re intrigued by this poor explanation of Ian’s practice come along to one of his workshops at The Edge; he’ll show you exactly how it’s done.

Andrew Gibbs was up next. A Catalyst and an audio-visual performance artist, his music usually resides in the glitch, break-beat style but we had him performing an ambient set. While it was his first ambient gig you would have never known, as he pulled it off with the poise and grace of a seasoned ambient professional. He even whipped out some impressive visuals to match.

The evening wrapped up with two-piece local act, Card House, dishing out an energetic display of electric indie pop. Even mid-set technical difficulties couldn’t dull their energy and they brought the evening to a fitting (and lively) conclusion.

And that’s that. The first-ever Show Pony wrapped up and the crowd dissolved away. Don’t worry, this wasn’t a one-off. These events are happening every Saturday in The Edge Auditorium and we’ll have performances from all kinds of Edge partners.  Check out the calendar for more info.

Seven semi-random thoughts by Ian Rogers

Seven semi-random thoughts on working at The Edge:

#1 My girlfriend never ever tires of suggesting we employ an Aerosmith covers band for the The Edge foyer. This covers band, according to her, will perform a mantra-like set  made up entirely of Aerosmith’s 1993 comeback hit ‘Livin’ On The Edge‘ . Accordingly, my day-a-week Catalyst position at the facility is referred to as such  ‘Are you livin’ on the edge tomorrow or is it Thursday, I forget?’

#2 The facility is gleaming. Everything is polished, buffed, painted, fresh and new. The floors squeek, the place even smells kind of good. Except our offices in the basement which look exactly like where I imagines roadies live when they’re not at work. It’s a place where you can park your motorbike IN the office. I like it.

#3 The Edge launch last firday night was a surprise hit. Up until the day of the event, we were a secret facility like ASIO (sans firearms) or the Branch Davidians (sans firearms). But people came in droves, listened to the speeches and watched the bands. DZ were a highlight as were the Nunukul Yuggera dancers who opened the event. The potential embodied by the space was what was really on display; it’s not difficult to imagine regular events like the launch happening and I think they’d work. Brisbane needs a space that can reach out to broader public (as SLQ can) but is pushing a more innovative, inclusive and experimental agenda (like we are).

#4 I’ve been thinking a lot about doom metal lately, I recommend it. It’s not better than playing it, just different. Over the opening weekend, I conducted a workshop on using software application Ableton Live to make drone/doom metal . It makes sense to me. Of all of heavy metal’s vast sub-genres, doom and drone strike me as the most democratic and accessible to the lay person. For example, Slayer sound great but can you teach a stranger to play it? No you can’t. But doom! Doom is for everyone.


(Ableton Live interface image courtesy of apple shift 3)

#5 The above workshop centred around a recent project I’ve been working on: the wiring together of a multi-sample patch of my No Anchor rig in Ableton Live. The thing is still coming together but the test model is sounding suitable good/horrible (horrible in a good way). I have plans to release it on the unsuspecting world soon, so check back shortly.

#6 Conversation following my workshop:

Attendee: ‘You sound like you want to build an doom metal army. Are you building an army?’

Me: ‘Yes.’

Attendee: ‘What would you position be in this army? Colonel?’

Me: ‘Wizard King.’

#7 We have a show coming up. It’s called Show Pony and will be held in our main auditorium on Saturday March 13th at 4pm. I’ll be playing some metal (on a computer and maybe dressed as wizard, maybe – I’m considering it) and my fellow Catalysts will be performing/showcasing as well. It’s completely free.