CCC (Computer Controlled Craft)

An installation that reinterprets a print from the V&A collection through the medium of code

Method was invited by the Victoria and Albert museum to take part in the Friday Late Shoreditch Take Over showcasing the installation “CCC” that was specifically created for the event.

From archive print, to code, to canvas, ‘CCC' reinterprets a print from the V&A collection through the medium of code, producing a series of abstracted and animated traces. The results of the process are then reinterpreted once again through hand drawing with a variety of materials. For this project, Method chose to use a print from William Morris, whose principles centered around his awareness of the "alienation of the machine operators, engaged in the mass production of goods which in past ages would have been unique, crafted by hand according to the skills and tastes of their individual makers."1 He is often credited as the father of the Arts and Crafts movement, and the project presents an opportunity to challenge the divide between hand-made and digital-made work.

Challenge

The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Located in West London, the museum was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

The Friday Late programme of the Victoria and Albert Museum began in 1999, establishing a much-copied format for the London cultural centres' evening events. The programme celebrates all aspects of contemporary visual culture and design in society, bringing audiences face-to-face with both leading and emerging artists and designers. By providing a platform through which to test ideas and challenge convention, Friday Late aims to inspire and provoke whilst encouraging audiences to interact with the Museum’s collections in new ways

The London neighborhood of Shoreditch has come to symbolise the new creative economy in the city. In recent years, it has become one of the world’s largest technology centers, generating big business and an entrepreneurial spirit. In the latest of its creative community takeovers, the V&A played host to emerging and established artists and designers based in this creative corner of East London.

Method’s interest and participation in the event centered on the juxtaposition of analogue/digital, hand-made/machine-made, and street art/high art. Method took the opportunity to question and investigate these counterpoints amongst companies and individuals like Google Campus startups, Mixcloud, Designwarm, and English businessman John Madejski.

Approach

By reimagining the Morris print in vector format and using the latest illustration and coding software, Method was able to re-interpret the print as a series of ambient light worms that followed the Morris pattern. This allowed the audience to interact with the piece and retrace the print by hand. The process aimed to flip the current Shoreditch status quo on its head, which emphasizes designers’ use of machines to control their creative output. The result sees the machine controlling the human in order to produce a unique, bespoke pattern that blurs the lines between William Morris’ theories on craft, Shoreditch and the V&A.

Method created an illustration of the pattern and developed a code enabling the team to load illustrator files into the browser and have its lines represent pathways for the ‘light snakes’ to follow. The feeling of movement was imperative, so the team created a physical control to fine-tune the number, spacing and size of the vertebrates. Visitors were then able to trace the ‘light snakes’ as they travelled the patterns within Morris’ print.

Outcome

For the first time in Friday Late history, the programme was hosted at two locations. On Friday the event remained at the V&A and on the Saturday everything was relocated to BL-NK space on East Road in Shoreditch, bringing with it exciting talks, workshops, installations and live DJs.

CCC was a successful experience for the audience, and an interactive playground celebrating craft and digital.

2014 Interactive Media Awards: Best In Class in the category "Museum"