Archive Interfaces

Algorithmic cultures call for new forms of aesthetic and computational literacy, artists invent newforms of making-visible in the digital society. The exhibition Type Motion: Type as Image in Motion draws on a century of artistic experiments meshing image and writing / code, we hope that it provides a horizon from within which to engage with these questions.


FACT is very interested in exploring new forms of engagement, so over the course of our collaboration with their team members we came up with an exhibition design that is as much about a wide range of user experiences as new social interfaces like the Development Lab that is also part of the exhibition. The immersive experience in Gallery 01 plays with mirror-based infinity effects; quite often, media interfaces with our perception and aesthetic experience in less direct ways, so we wanted to draw attention to these affective registers both of the works shown and our aesthetic experience. Who knows, maybe the sudden discovery of such mirror effects serves as a reminder of the need to keep aesthetic experience open to the accidental encounter, rather than enclose everything in the walled gardens of commercial media. Gallery 02 takes visitors from being mere spectators in the cinema to co-curator of playlists on a giant multitouch interface for projection, with a play-based fly-through of an archive imagined as an infinite open world.


The idea of a dynamic archive is in fact the overall curatorial concept. We live in times where archives have grown so hungry that they threaten to eat the present - we just don’t have time to watch it all. So given the large number of works on display, it was clear that we would have to come up with archive interfaces that structure these types of user experience. The interface designed and coded for the giant multitouch table offers such an interface, allowing users to browse hundreds of films across genres, and then compare and contrast them on two large screens, allowing users to effectively become part of a research process. Using a large interface (with ten independent touchpoints) means that it leaves room for various forms of collaborative exploration. Aesthetic experience is often considered a highly singular event, but given the disappearance of the cinema as collective experience of reference for visual media, we wanted to remind visitors of how much fun it is to explore these works together, sharing responses rather than watch them on individual mobile devices.


The idea of the dynamic archive has always implied an idea of cultural translation - even if globalcommerce depends on the standardization of goods and logistical infrastructures, museums should definitely not play by these rules. So we wanted to come up with exhibition designs that reflect the architectural qualities of each space. At FACT, the emphasis was on creating multiple openings and paths of entry, including the social interface of the Development Lab and a workshop series (SZ).

School of Things @ FACT: Making Concepts


Facilitated by artists, coders, and researchers, workshop participants will explore the brave new world of smart objects. Practice-based, all activities take place in and around FACT's new Development Lab and revolve around the making of our own concepts: sensors, makers, networks, futures. Activities include citywalks to map the technologies embedded in FACT's urban neighbourhood; experiments with open hardware kits that make the vision of a smart city tangible; digital fabrication tools that allow us to turn our ideas into tangible objects almost in real time; and vision quests that will take us into our own imaginations of life in a world of informatized, networked objects.

A cooperation of FACT and xm:lab with DoES Liverpool.

Facilitators: Adrian McEwen, Larisa Blazic, Hannes Kaefer, Henrik Elburn, Nils Pollom, Soenke Zehle.

Participants: Childwall Academy, The Studio.

School of Things: Practices & Perspectives


17:00 - 22:00

To discuss the educational implications of these new brave worlds of smart objects, we invite artists, educators, researchers to share ideas to be collected in a publication call issued from within FACT's Development Lab. We feel strongly about the need to engage and explore the renaissance of making in relation to broader economic, political, and technological developments, and think that making raises questions that directly involve the way we transform current forms of learning and teaching. This includes the future of free hard- and software platforms and philosophies,  but also the role of arts and culture institutions in a world in which education is increasingly distributed across life and labor.

A cooperation of FACT and xm:lab with DoES Liverpool, FLOSS Manuals UK, and LJMU.

School of Things: Prototyping Media Architectures

Installation / Workshop

Thu 22.01. / Fr 23.01.2015

18:00 - 22:00

FACT / Gallery 01

As the exhibition Type Motion draws to a close, we extend the experiment with type in motion to the infrastructures that make these experimental works visible.   Prototyping a custom network of media players with custom software, the Type Motion multi-screen installation (Gallery 01) will be turned into an experimental studio.

Drawing on the philosophy of xm:lab's School of Things, the workshop builds on the workshop series in FACT's Development Lab to bring hands-on arts-and-technology research into the gallery space. Local artists and visual designers are invited to bring work and play with its distribution aross the multi-screen architecture.  

Works shown include a video installation based on images by the Belgian artist and graphic novel pioneer Frans Masereel.  

If you are an artist, designer, or diy enthusiast, and want to experiment with this diy media architecture, bring your work. We use a Raspberry Pi-network to distribute content across the seven-screen setup; display is coordinated via a custom software. For video files, please use .mov / h264.  

Concept & Facilitation

Henrik Elburn, Hannes Kaefer, Jan Tretschok, Soenke Zehle


Christopher Kaiser  

A cooperation of FACT and xm:lab with LJMU and the Frans Masereel Foundation