Lancaster University

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BigDog Interactive Give High-Tech Gadgets The Vintage Look

07/14/2010 15:35:34

Retfaux: The iPhonograph, Ticker and Top Hat
Retfaux: The iPhonograph, Ticker and Top Hat

Lancaster University spin out digital art company BigDog Interactive (BDI) - based in Lancaster University’s Centre of Excellence for ICT, InfoLab21 - has exhibited selection of high tech objects that look Victorian at the first UK Vintage Computer Festival .

The installation consisted of three artefacts, the iPhonograph, a news ‘ticker’ and a top hat time piece. The iPhonograph is a hand cranked MP3 player embedded in brass and wood. The Ticker is a digital news ticker which uses clockwork, light and optics to present a scrolling ticker-tape of the latest news, hot off the wire. The top hat is a high-tech chronograph (or timepiece) for the discerning Victorian gentleman.

The exhibition was held at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley ParkJune 19th & 20th.

The festival brought together an exhibition of private collections, guest lectures and presentations and machine demonstrations to celebrate the history of computing and may feature in a television documentary about the event later in the year.

The BDI installation, entitled 'Retfaux' a term used to describe hi-technology devices that have a retro aesthetic , is now on tour around the country. The instillation was developed using a combination of leading-edge technologies with recycled materials or discarded technology. This development results in artefacts which achieve "modern" functionality using materials and technologies from a past era.

Retfaux is a derivative of Cyberpunk – a term first used by Bruce Bethke in his short story of the same name first published in 1983, which described a new generation of punk teenagers inspired by the Information Age.

The instillation was created by BDI’s creative computer programmers who develop interactive installations, live performances and workshops for the creative industries. Their team of programmers has 40+ years combined experience in software engineering, user interface design, computer networking and hardware development. BDI has a strong track record of working with artists, educators and industry from all backgrounds and abilities.

Retfaux received a very enthusiastic response from visitors and consequently the National Computing Museum have invited the company down for a VIP tour and to talk about potential projects using some of their collection, which includes the famous wartime code breaking Collosus machine.

BDI is an industrial partner on the £5M Media Arts and Technology Training Centre at Queen Mary University of London as well as a preferred supplier for national galleries such as the Science Museum London.

BDI’s research and development work is contributing to and has been funded by the EPSRC, Arts Council of England, HEFCE and national initiatives such as Horizons, part of the Research Councils UK £40 million investment in the Digital Economy Programme as well as the UK Technology Strategy Board’s £1 billion investment in technology innovation.

Their portfolio includeslarge-screen interactive projections, iPhone apps, text messaging applications for mobile phones and devices, emotional avatars and virtual characters, physical, tangible and wearable computing and wireless and wired networking.

Associated Links

· View the Ticker

· View the iPhonograph

· View all Retfaux exhibits

· Vintage Computer Festival

· Tony Sale, director and trustee of The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park with BigDog Interactive's Jennifer Sheridan